Day 56: chicken patty

Today’s menu: chicken patty, whole wheat buns, beans, banana, milk

I really want to like the chicken patty (for one it’s not beef). It’s just I can’t get over how it’s possible that it is cheaper to put chicken parts through the grinder, add a bunch of fillers, and then bread it. Why can’t the chicken be roasted? It’s easy to prepare and contains few ingredients. Plus it would actually look like it came from a chicken. The beans were eh and the banana was yummy.


Some of the readers wondered how I could eat the cheese sandwich while being lactose-intolerant. Well, cheese is low in lactose (especially hard cheeses) as is yogurt and butter. Although processed cheese is higher in lactose, if I am able to eat processed cheese with other foods, I’m usually ok. But I still can’t drink straight milk, eat ice cream, or drink a milkshake.

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29 thoughts on “Day 56: chicken patty

  1. I don't get all the waste of packing. Why can't they put the patty on the bun and what is with all the plastic wrap?

  2. I'm still amazed that all of your school's lunches are pre-packaged types of meals. They almost remind me of t.v. dinners.
    Even though our meals in our school system are not the most nutritious, they are still cooked and made "from scratch" for the most part. We occassionally have some pre-packaged items (such as mini cheeseburgers).
    I think what you are doing is wonderful! I hope you can help make a difference in our school cafeterias.

  3. Of course, I would not be surprised if most of the kids would prefer processed chicken to real pieces.

  4. This is something that is so far away from the way my children grew up! And yet,I'm not sure they didn't eat some of this trash. How did we get so far away from whole food?

  5. So many of us have stopped heating our foods in plastics. And… here we are. Cultivating the next generation to cook their food in plastic.

    Nice banana and bun. Never was a fan of baked beans, though I love beans in general. Chix patty = bleh.

  6. I still can't believe how carb heavy the lunches are – bun, beans, breaded chicken… It seems ridiculous to me that they count beans and potatoes as vegetables.

  7. The styrofoam/plastic packaging combos are really putting me off. It looks so sterilized and less food-like. I mean, I prefer whole foods and real food, but I can handle a McChicken sandwich every now and again, but this… just doesn't seem like food.

  8. Of course it's cheaper because they can use the entire chicken…ALL parts. Grind it up and add fillers that are cheaper than having all chicken. Even then…do you really think that if they offered "real" chicken that they wouldn't offer the worst chicken on the market feed with corn and hormones. They are looking for the cheapest possible way to feed children. It's disturbing and sad.

  9. Hello Mrs. Q! We just want to tell you how impressed we are that you are doing this, its so cool that you care so much about kids! So we applaud you and we intend to tell EVERYONE we know all about The Mrs. Q! Thanks!

  10. The answer to the question of why it's cheaper to grind, fill & bread chicken rather than simply roasting it, is simple: the 'meat' is mechanically extracted gunk to which soy and other cheap stuff are added. It simply doesn't bear much resemblance to chicken breast as most people know it.

  11. It's cheaper because they are using what we would usually use to put into the pot to make stock or toss. It's the leftovers after they take all the good and profitable pieces.Instead the processors profit from it by feeding it to kids.

  12. The irony is that they finally put in something "green" today. Unfortunately, it was the banana so it was not meant to be green.

    I used to work for a food service management company. Often real meat (i.e. chicken) was cheaper than nuggets & the like, but the cost difference was in the reduced labor & food spoilage costs. So while a drumstick may be cheaper, they are buying the trashy nuggets because they can have fewer employees cooking them. It's a shame!

  13. You know. You make me want to become a lunch lady. But, I don't like to cook/bake. So, it's best that I don't. But, I will keep trying to do well by my children. It's an uphill fight, and I HAVE to make their lunches because of the schools they go to. Not because of the schools and their snacks, but because of me and my own bad choices.

  14. Why not do a salad instead of beans? Add some natural color to these monochrome lunches. Or add lettuce and tomato to the chicken sandwich. Something….

  15. Did you see Jamie grind up a chicken carcass in a blender, add fillers, shape it into patties, bread it, and fry it in front of the kids, and all of them wanted to eat it anyhow? That's what I think of when I see your "chicken" patty. Sorry.

  16. I'm LOVING your blog, Mrs. Q. Trying to do some grassroots marketing on your behalf via Facebook.

    Anyway, I can almost guarantee you that the reason the chicken is processed is to "stretch" it. One chicken breast, once it's been through the processing process (for lack of a better way to say) probably stretches to 3 or even 4 patties. Big time money saved.

    But of course I am SO with you that it wold be loads better if the kids could be given real, whole chicken portions instead of this garbage.

    My sister introduced her son to meats with chicken nuggets – a horrible standard. The meat is so finely minced that kids who start out on it never learn to develop a taste for the firmness of real meat.

    I won't even get into the saltiness/fattiness side of the argument …

    On the flip side, I always hated processed chicken patties and nuggets as a kid – hated the mushiness and the salt overload. Is this because my mom gave me real chicken legs, cuts of beef and pork loin the majority of the time??

    Thanks for all you do, Mrs. Q. Keep up the good work!

  17. If they feed the chicken breasts to schoolchildren, then what will they do with the "mechanically separated chicken" or "chicken by-product meal"?

    Apparently school meal chicken is just one step above cat food chicken.

    And honestly, after the pet food recall of a couple of years ago, I kind of worry about feeding my cat this crap.

  18. It is quite disturbing to think of children brought up eating chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and other such processed meats and then not developing the taste for the texture of real meat (as noted by SZA). I hadn't really thought of that before. In my son's case it is opposite. He only ever has real chicken, roasted or stir-fried or made into a curry, real beef cut into pieces and stewed, real fish baked, not even breaded, and so on. So one day when I let him have a hotdog at some summer outing, he wouldn't eat the "meat", he just ate the bun with ketchup. He must have found the texture too weird. One day I decided to make hotdogs at home, just for fun, with some nice sausages and whole wheat rolls and a salad, and he just wanted to eat the bread and raw brocolli. He also used to remove the pepperoni from his pizza and just eat it with the veggie toppings. Now he will eat pepperoni, and breakfast sausages on the rare occasions that we have them.

  19. Have you tried the Lactaid pills? I don't need them for small amounts of cheese or yogurt, but I take one for ice cream, and two for milk and it works great! Just don't go for the chew-ables- they're so disgusting that it'll put you off the dairy.

    Like everyone else said, it's because it's the chicken that's left over after all the good parts are gone, and then they use filler. Even the "all white meat" patties aren't that great, but you can see a price difference because they're limiting what parts of the chicken they can use.

    Amanda- perhaps if those parts of the chicken become useless to everyone else, the soup companies could get them on the cheap and make higher quality broth!

    Now that would make a nourishing meal- home made chicken noodle soup. They'd never do it though, it's too labor intensive.

  20. i also think that that's a waste of packaging! alos, making those single-served portion sized containers. couldn't they just get 1 bag-then bake those?

  21. Perhaps another reason the processed stuff is cheaper (in addition to the fact that it's cheap leftover parts) is because the processing is done in bulk, in factories and assembly lines, with minimum wage earners, not higher paid school district staff with benefits. Economies of scale. And the processed stuff can be stored for longer than fresh chicken.

  22. Hey! It's another monochromatic meal: brown, brown, brown, and some yellow. Thumbs up on the whole wheat rather than white bun, though.

  23. I saw Jamie Oliver make the processed chicken patty for those kids and I just knew they would still eat it. It wasn't nearly gross enough to turn them off. They need to go to take a field trip to a commercial chicken farm and then to the slaughterhouse and then to the nugget factory.

  24. Anytime someone tells me they can't eat cheese because of lactose intolerance I tell them they are likely allergic to casein, the milk protein, since cheese contains almost 0 lactose – so little lactose in fact that many cheese manufacturers are allowed to say "contains 0 grams lactose" on the lable. I'm looking at a bar of Cabot cheese right now that says that.

    Lactose is a milk sugar, and if you look on the back of containers of OTHER dairy products you can see a clear count of 'sugars' or 'milk sugars' which tips someone lactose intolerant off that they probably can't eat the product.

    I know so much about it because I'm lactose intolerant too…just as you said, it's milk, yogurt, ice cream that gets me.

    But bring on the cheese and butter! 🙂 NO lactose!

  25. I have a close friend who is lactose intolerant, but in order to not miss out on yummy snacks (like milkshakes), her doctor gave her a pill to take with the lactose to counter its negative effects. Just a heads up about something to look into.

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