Day 72: pasta

Today’s menu: pasta with meat sauce, breadstick, orange, broccoli, milk

Doesn’t this meal just make you happy? Or is it just me? I like the pasta and then a real veggie and fruit!?

Is someone reading this blog and then planning these meals? If so, thank you. And “Hi.” This feels a little awkward.


Someone asked me if my favorite lunches (pasta, tex-mex, chili) are the kids’ favorite lunches. No. Most kids like pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets. They toss the veggies. And some kids toss everything. So I believe that “catering” to kids’ supposed “favorites” is a huge mistake. They don’t know what is good for them and really they don’t know what they like since they have had less years of experience eating than us.

For example, me and tomatoes. I hated tomatoes my entire life. Then when I turned 25 I realized that if I didn’t eat tomatoes on a sandwich at lunch that then I missed out on eating a veggie at lunch. So I forced myself to eat tomatoes and now officially I eat tomatoes. Sometimes I like them (I’ve always loved pasta sauce, ketchup, salsa), but eating them alone is still a challenge for me. What I’m trying to say is that no one should remove “tomatoes” from a menu just to cater to that old me. I wonder if someone had explained the health benefits of tomatoes to me earlier that I would have been more inclined to eat them when I was younger.

It’s best for us to offer healthy food and instruct kids on what they should eat and how it should be prepared. A few readers suggest that parents should be doing that at home. I agree. But what about parents who have no idea how to cook with fresh food? You know, there are parents who think that it is cheaper to go to Mc*Donald’s and spend $10-15 for dinner versus going to the grocery store and spending $50-$75 on food that could last them for days. Let’s face it, most Americans don’t know how to shop or how to cook. Home economics has been sliced out of education and that precious instruction is not happening at home (at least not in many households). Where are people going to learn about food and how to cook if not in school at a young age?


Thanks for your cute comments on Mr. Q’s viewpoint. He had fun answering the questions and said they really made him think. He is a pretty terrific guy and I’m grateful every single day that I took that art class in college where we met. Since we are both not artists, I think it was fate 🙂

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36 thoughts on “Day 72: pasta

  1. I am 100% in agreement with you about the tomatoes! I have had a lifelong love-hate complex — I love tomato sauce and ketchup, but I also disliked them "in the raw" with a sandwich, etc. But I definitely do eat them, and I acknowledge that they're good for me.

    I also agree that students should, by and large, not be the ones who set the menu for any meal. As you said, they will default to whatever they want if given the choice — but if the chicken nuggets and pizza aren't there every single day, then they'll learn to make better choices.

  2. I've been following your blog and Twitter now for about a week, Mrs. Q, and I admire your persistence in eating, showing, and, most importantly, talking about the food. I last ate school lunch 10 years ago, and I'm really surprised by how much it's changed even in that amount of time. Since reading some of the bibles on the problems of modern eating, and then noticing the interest in school lunches via Jamie Oliver (who I still think is a bit of a twat, *sigh*) I've been really shocked every time I see pictures of school lunches. But then again, even 15 years ago we had the "a la carte" line with french fries and packaged chips and ice cream.

    I think you raise a good point with home economics being cut. Though my parents were very adamant that I learn how to cook, I know a lot of my fellow students learned how to cook for the first time in 8th grade home ec class. Sometimes I wish all high schools had mandatory home ec, mandatory sex ed, mandatory basic finance (how to balance a checkbook, how credit works, etc.), mandatory recess, and at least 45 minutes for lunch…but then, how much time would be left for school?

  3. Tomatoes are Fruits, not vegetables. Kinda cringed hearing that from a teacher.

  4. A lot of stems in that broccoli. Most of the good-for-you stuff is in the leafy part. Or at least that was what I always was told when I was growing up.

  5. Re: tomatoes as fruits

    The classification of veggies and fruits is not a scientific one. See:

    I *know* that tomatoes are technically a "fruit," but I refer to them as a veggie. Call me a traditionalist. The classification system is pretty arbitrary considering that mushrooms are a "veggie," but really aren't they a fungus?

  6. Even when I was 10-11 I forced myself to try foods that I despised. Not just for health reasons but I honestly felt like there was something wrong with me that I couldn't eat certain foods.

    I remember my mom bringing home roast beef lunch meat to make sandwiches during the summer. 1.5 lbs roast beef for the family, .25 lb turkey for me… I felt like such an outcast because I HATED roast beef. My family never made me feel bad, but I couldn't understand why I didn't like it.

    Every couple of months I would taste the roast beef that my family raved about… hated it. I would try again… hated it. I just keep doing that refusing to believe that I couldn't find one redeeming quality to it. Eventually by the time I was 20 or so, I had found that quality and was able to eat it. Now I love it; french dips, sandwiches, subs, its great. I refused to let my tastes as a kid rule out an entire section of the food world. I guess most people aren't like that, but I love food to much to miss out on anything.

    I really despise fake "picky" eaters. A picky eater, to me, is someone who won't eat any dijon mustard unless it is Grey Poupon. What many people refer to as "picky" eaters are simply lazy eaters. Those are people who claim they hate seafood, but still eat stinky tinny canned tuna. They claim to hate onions but lap up every dish that contains them. They insist that they hate all vegetables when you know darn well that's rubbish when they eat vegetable soup, veggies on pizza, broccoli casserole. Its ludicrous.

    It is this kind of behavior that makes American's think it is ok to not eat a well balanced diet. They say they dislike (or that kids will dislike) the flavor and texture of whole categories of food (seafood, vegetables) as an excuse to not eat healthier. If you say you hate the flavor of lettuce and the texture of fish makes you gag, then you have an excuse to eat burgers and chicken fingers till the day you die!

    Now I'm all worked up! Must calm down, haha. Anyway, thats my rant for what its worth. Kids like healthy foods but they also like unhealthy foods. As adults we make the choice to eat healthy or not. Kids, like every aspect of their lives, need instruction and guidance.

  7. I have been following your blog for about a month now and I think that you are bringing awareness to a really important issue. My son (9) saw me reading it the other night and pulled out his lunch menu to see how it compared. He was incredibly interested and apparently told his lunch lady about it the next day. She told him she’d check it out and I was so pleased.
    I am a firm believer that some things are an acquired taste and that some tastes you never acquire. That said, I'm always amazed at how many parents (including most of my friends) cater to their children's tastes versus their health. I'm not perfect, but my children willingly eat more veggies than most kids (or adults). We have 3 rules regarding food in our household. You will try everything. You will not make bad faces and/or gagging sounds, and you will not spit it out. If the kids don't like it, I will happily make a PB and J and slice an apple. If we're in someone else's home or in public, same rules apply, except that I'll grab some fast food on the way home. We don't eat out very often, so they get really excited if they don’t like what they’re served at a friend’s home. If I know that we're going someplace where the kids won't like it, they eat an early dinner before we leave. They still have to be polite and try what they're served, but they don’t starve.
    I've found that because of these rules, there's less arguing at the dinner table as well. I don't have to coerce the kids into eating what I've served. They know what happens if they make faces, gag or complain, so they don't bother. We talk about school, plans for the week, what we should plant in our garden. They sometimes ask about my day at work, and being a single mom, it always makes me smile when they ask about MY day for a change.
    Most importantly, they eat good stuff. My 4 year old loves spinach salad and not just with ranch dressing. My 9 year old son's favorite meal is asparagus, mushrooms, olives and shrimp, tossed with pasta and a little butter, lemon and parm. They also like avocado, brussel sprouts, okra, zucchini, and sweet potatoes, just to name a few. They also both like some ethnic foods such as curry, tofu and sushi rolls. Neither one likes bell peppers or beets.
    I also think that it's important to get your kids into the kitchen. I have allowed my little one to use plastic knives to cut produce since she was 2 and my 9 year old makes a great breakfast pizza. They help me plan our weekly menu, shop for ingredients, put groceries away and prep as well. I think that allowing them to be involved gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes them more inclined to eat what we've made.

  8. I have been following your blog for some time – I love what you're doing. I think that what you and others are doing is bringing a lot of attention to this very important topic.

    My husband and I are sans kids but plan to have them in the future, and like most people without kids we think we know everything. I know that I don't….but I still find myself thinking "well if that was MY kid…" It is so important to me that our kids will eat healthy and I tell my husband all the time "there is no pop in this house now, there will be no pop in this house once they get here" and I really hope that that, and many of my other 'rules' that I've come up with for my nonexistent children stick when they finally do come around.

    Thank you for all you do (educating both the children in your school, and us!)

  9. I call tomatoes vegetables. Most people do. And I think most rational people aren't out there judging people who refer to tomatoes as vegetables.

    Mrs. Q I've noticed your lunches having more fruits and veggies and I've also wondered if someone is reading your blog and trying to make lunch look good!

  10. Have you ever eaten a freshly-grown tomato? I hate grocery story tomatoes, but I LOVE a fresh sliced tomato sandwich, only from a tomato I grew myself! They taste completely different!

  11. I agree on the fact that some people think it's cheaper to eat out all the time then to cook. Recently on my blog I put up a page of basic pantry essentials. The whole list cost a little over $50 if you buy store brand items and that's just buying it at the supermarket. Think of the saving you'd get if you bought your oats and herbs and spices at a store specializing in dry goods or getting most at Aldi.
    After reading your blog and watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution I feel fortunate that my school taught us how to cook, plan meals, and make a grocery lists.

  12. -I am a vegetarian, and the only things I would eat on that tray are the breadstick, the milk, and the orange (and only if i could manage to peel it). I am afraid of that processed broccoli.

    -Tomatoes, especially homegrown ones, are absolutely amazing. You should grow tomatoes this summer; they will be better than a store bought tomato that was picked green and colored red with chemicals!!! Please grow some; it is SO much fun!

    -To the picky-eater commenter: Not all picky eaters are "lazy". I am a picky eater for multiple reasons: 1) I am a vegetarian, so that means no meat, poultry, or fish/seafood. 2) I have a very sensitive stomach, so many foods (that I DO retry once in awhile) give me incredible stomachaches. It is in my best choices to be a selective eater.

  13. Too funny! I thought I didn't like tomatoes for a long time, along with peas and several other "vegetables". As I started eating more and cooking for myself I realized I just don't like mushy overcooked veggies, when I cook them so they're still a bit crisp I'm good to go. (no offense to my mom's cooking)

    I haven't developed a taste for avocado yet though. I try guacamole and avocado at every party because everyone else seems to love it, but alas still don't like it. Perhaps it goes back to my mushy vegetable aversion.

    But at least I'm still trying new foods like my mom taught me to 🙂

  14. When I was in high school in the 80's, my parents rarely gave me money to buy lunch – just a dollar. "Lunch" was usually a soft pretzel, chocolate milk, and frozen chocolate eclair. Then when I got home, I ate a normal, healthy lunch, which cost less than buying at school. One time I came home & ate an entire roast, thinly sliced with Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Guess I was hungry that day! I probably ate too much junk, but I was extremely thin and ate pretty well otherwise.

  15. I'm your tomato bud, too! As I child, I declared, "I'll like tomatoes when I'm ten." (Because it seemed soooo far in the future; and no, I didn't start eating them 'til about a decade later.)

    I cannot get over the well-accepted fact that a huge portion of Americans don't know how to cook. Think about it: adults can't feed themselves. The most basic of human needs. It's not like we're talking about stalking, killing and butchering, just finishing foods that are already harvested.

    That's something I find truly frightening about our society today.

  16. It's a huge myth that kids will eat only certain kinds of foods, yet schools (and restaurants, and too many dinner tables) feature nothing but so-called "kid foods" like hot dogs and chicken nuggets. But the only reason kids eat those things (and have a hard time giving them up when a school offers something else, a la Jamie Oliver) is because that's what adults have been feeding them and expecting them to eat.

    It's also a huge disservice to children to call them "picky eaters," when in actuality that is a crutch term used by adults.

    I recently blogged about this, and it generated quite a discussion:

    In fact, my blog, Spoonfed, is all about raising food-literate kids (tagline: Raising kids to think about the food they eat). And that includes giving them credit and realizing that they'll eat (and enjoy) real food if given the chance.

    Thanks, Mrs. Q, for shedding some light on this aspect of school food, too.

  17. I've always loved tomatoes and Jessica is right, grown from your garden (or patio pot for us city folk) are exquisite! As for the meal, this is one of the few that look like a fairly enjoyable one as far as frozen dinners are concerned.

    The whole Veggie/Fruit discussion could go until you're blue in the face, as it has with my wife and I struggling to ensure our 18-month-old has a varied healthy diet. Honestly most Americans pat themselves on the back because the eat a wide array of vegetables which are limited to corn, beans and potatoes. Cringe on that anonymous!

  18. That broccoli is a little sad looking, like they zapped all the green out of it. Of course they probably also zapped the flavor and nutrients out of it, which is probably why kids learn to hate it.

  19. I'm surprised that the orange isn't shrink-wrapped as well. Glad you liked it!

    PS Don't tell Mr. Q, but he came across much smarter than I imagined him. 😉

  20. I would just like to raise that point that I never, never had a home ec class at school in my life! And I cook ALL THE TIME! Almost exclusively! Sure, my mom cooked at home. Cooked quite a bit – less now that she is working full time. However, she was kind of a lone wolf cook (now that I'm older, she welcomes my help 🙂 ) And I cook things now from all types of cuisine she would never dream of cooking and I was never exposed to in my youth.

    What I'm trying to say is, I didn't learn how to cook at school and I kind of only learned that cooking happens at home. Through a combination of economic pressures, availability of alternative choices, and wanting to be healthy – I've really blossomed as a cook (one that now my mom respects and likes to share recipes with!).

    This kind of learned helplessness needs to stop! Most people live extraordinarily long lives – plenty of time to take initiative and learn new things. Combine that with the (almost over)availability of information, and you have a perfect storm of highly capable people. We need to teach people how to process information and not be afraid to use it – if you teach that right, people can take it from there.

    The point is – you can always say "I wish they had taught X in school instead of focusing so much on Y". To be honest – my primary through secondary education was a complete waste. The information I received didn't prepare me for college at all. It was the teachers who encouraged me to learn how to think, organize issues, and tackle problems that helped me the most. Now I'm finishing my PhD!

  21. Here is my 2 cents. There is also a differnece between poeple that can't cook and those that WON'T cook. i think most fall in the latter. i have a sister-in-law that doesn't cook, it is a big joke in her family. I think the joke is on her husband who works all day and then has to come home and make or buy supper, note she is a stay at home mom. You don't have to be a graduate of CIA to open a jar of Ragu and cook pasta.I had a nephew who growing up just ate chicken nuggets, well guess what if there were none in the freezer i am sure he would have ate something else when he was hungry. Or how about the families that prepare 2-3 different meals because of one or the other kids WON'T eat it. This generation of parents just seem to find it easier to cater and give in to kids than to take the time and effort to give them a better meal because they can't listen to a little complaining.
    OK one more rant, i live in an area where the holiday meals are very ethnic, example Christmas Eve is a non-meat meal with cabbage or mushroom soup and fish and peirogies etc. i know many families that will go out before the meal and buy fast food pizza and fast food fish because "my kids won't hate that food". Where would you see our grandparents doing that!! Guess what none of us likes everything being served but we never would have expected to get fast food for a holiday meal and nobody starved or died from the food tha twas so painstakingly often labor intensively preapred! I find this very sad in that many of these children will grow up and appreciate the meaning and tradition behind the foods that are prepared for these meals.
    OK my rant is over, whew. Keep up the good work Mrs. Q

  22. Wow, this meal is impressively well-balanced! Maybe someone is reading — I hope so.

    Way to make a difference, Mrs. Q!

  23. My heart sunk a little when I read "The kids toss the veggies." This just doesn't have to be! Creating a little interest and fun around vegetables goes such a long way in getting kids to try them. I watch it happen everyday, I swear! ( They need to be empowered, not forced. That just leads to waste.

    Its ironic that will all the cooking shows on TV, people dont know how to cook! I recognize that the school curriculum is packed but life skills are so important and relevant to everyone. They deserve a place in the school day.

  24. "They don't know what is good for them and really they don't know what they like since they have had less years of experience eating than us."

    I have an issue with this part that you said. I guess I can somewhat agree with the first part. Many younger people really just don't understand nutrition, but that doesn't mean they don't know what is good for them. When I was in middle school, I knew about the food table. I knew that fruits and veggies were healthy and that preparing food certain ways was better than others. I simply just didn't -care-. I think that's a real issue. They get taught about nutrition and being healthy, but it's not stressed how important it is.

    Now, the second part I completely disagree with. Just because you're older than the students at your school doesn't mean somehow make what you like better than what they like. Just because you've gotten the chance to try more foods doesn't mean that they don't know what they like. If you'd like to say they haven't been exposed to as much as you have and there is a lot more food out there that they will like, that's one thing. But to act like you're so much better than they are and say they don't know what they like, I think that's a little egotistical. I mean, it's not like once you hit a certain age, you all of a sudden start hating all of the food you liked as a kid. Instead, you just add more foods into the "like" section.

    I appreciate what you're trying to do, but sometimes you make some very questionable comments. Saying that the students don't actually know what they like is just a little over the top. Just because they're younger and haven't been exposed to much yet doesn't mean they haven't formed their own opinions about what they -have- been exposed to, in this case food.

  25. I am the opposite, with regard to tomatoes. When I was a kid I liked them so much I would often ask my mother to make me a tomato salad, which was just diced tomatoes in a bowl with a bit of salt sprinkled on. It was one of my favourite snacks. We usually had supermarket tomatoes, but that was in a different time and place where regular supermarket tomatoes were tangy and tasty, unlike most of what we get now. My mom also planted tomatoes in the backyard a couple of years and we had a bumper crop, so I could eat as many as I wanted!

    I agree with the comments (e.g Christina's) about how kids will eat a lot more variety then many adults expect them to. With my son growing up I just got him started on mashed vegetables as a baby and thne progressed to different cooked veggies, stir-fried, steamed, added to sauces, some raw ones, etc, without making a deal out of it. Now at 5 he eats almost everything I offer him. One of the few he doesn't like so far are potatoes in any form, mashed, baked, fried, whatever. Quite funny, you would think all kids like potatoes, but he likes broccoli and zucchini but not fries! In restaurants we order real food for him from the adult menu, just picking items that we think he will like, rice, pasta dishes, meat, chicken (not nuggets), veggies, pizza.

    Re cooking: I can't imagine going through life not being able to cook. For one thing life would be quite expensive because to get a good meal you would have to spend a lot of money (or rely on someone else to prepare it for you). And the alternative would be to subsist on fast food, sandwiches, frozen dinners etc. I agree with Julia, Rachel B and other commenters above.

  26. RE: your comment about home ec… I was just thinking about this yesterday. When I was in school, we all had to take home ec (cooking) and wood shop in 7th grade. After 7th grade, additional home ec (sewing) and metal shop classes were optional. But everyone left jr. high knowing how to broil a burger, make tacos and banana bread from scratch, operate a mixer and set a table (not to mention use a hammer, screwdriver, saw and sandpaper).

    My child is in jr high now and she can only take 2 electives in 7th & 8th grades. She is already in band and wants to be in choir because you can't audition for the show choir unless you are in choir class. That means she misses out on home ec, art, and computers. When I was in jr high I was able to take both choir and orchestra and we were all required to take home ec, woodshop, and art.

    The point of all being…I wonder if the NCLB pressures for additional instruction in math & reading are squeezing out some of these electives. Are fewer kids taking home ec/cooking classes than previous generations? If people never learn the basics of food handling and standard cooking skills, is it any wonder there is so much reliance on packaged foods?

  27. I just have to chime in RE: picky eaters. We introduced our first born to lots of veggies and foods and she always ate everything (fiery curry at age 2 anyone?). We patted ourselves on the back for our good parenting because obviously picky eaters are made, not born.

    Then we had our second. Ugh. This is a kid with a ridiculously shallow gag reflex and hypersensitive nervous system. The seams of tube socks irritate him. Shoes irritate him. Smells and tastes and textures irritate him. He randomly pukes for no apparent reason during at least one meal per week ("that bite felt funny"). We didn't change the way we fed him versus his sister one bit but almost every meal is an uphill grind.

    I now realize I was very similar as a child. Iceberg lettuce tasted horridly bitter to me until I was about 13-14 and I still can only eat about 1/2 of a tomato slice before I feel ill from the texture and acidic taste (yes, even homegrown–shudder). I find the dirt taste of beets absolutely revolting. Imagine taking a spoonful of potting soil and chowing down. That's what beets taste like to me.

    Now, that doesn't mean that I gave up on eating well or that we gave in and let our second born live on fries and nuggets. Despite being picky and having a hard time with tastes and textures, he does eat a remarkably varied diet because we keep working at it. Small portions, varying the cooking style & spices, etc. It's exhausting but obviously important.

    Having both an adventurous eater and a "super-taster" (which is a scientifically recognized genetic variant), I now realize you can't assume kids' food attitudes are 100% the fault of the parents.

  28. I can understand the dislike for a certain fruit/veggie. I hated onions when I was younger and it took me about 20 or so years to learn that onions wasn't what I hated but the texture of raw onion. Now I cook everything with onions, but I make sure the texture is exactly what I like and it makes the flavor pop.

    I think back to why I hated onions. My Uncle decided that he wanted to make sure his kid ate onions…well he forced me to eat a raw onion and tell his kid, my cousin, that it tasted wonderful. He thought I was influencing her to not like onions. Turns out that gave me this real fear of eating anything with onion. Spring forward to now, my husband is European and onions are a key ingredient in almost all his dishes. I can't stay away from it and have retrained my taste buds to actually love the flavor.

    That same cousin came to my house recently and I had made this huge dinner. Lasagna and she asked me how I did it. I started listing all the ingredients and she was appalled/surprised when I told her it had a HUGE onion. She was like for real? She loved my meal but she didn't even realize she was eating onions.

    The point of my ramble it is about how you train your kid to like veggies. They may not like the texture of a few but keep introducing them and they may change this dislike of a veggie to liking them. Don't make them have a complex about not liking certain veggies. With our daughter I plan to start with the veggies early. Having her in the kitchen when I cook. Showing her that veggies are not the enemy and hopefully that will be the key to getting all those lovely veggies into her diet.

  29. Nail on the head about people not knowing how to cook. I cook/prep everything on Sunday's and almost all from scratch (love my shake n bake mix once in a while). This is not to be a fab mom but to save me sanity during the week. When people find out they think I am some sort of freak or super mom and proceed to tell me how 1-2 times a week it is McDonalds, 2-3 times it is eating out and the rest is grabbing foods at other "in and outs" like Subway, pizze, etc… I try to explain that it only takes me about 2 to 2 1/2 hrs and the kids (preschool age) have a blast helping me and that it is great family bonding time. I truly don't get why they can't understand that putting that stuff into a small ones body is not OK and not good.

  30. I agree that "catering to the kids' favorites" is a mistake.

    Why is it ok to force a kid to go to school and learn how to add and subtract when they'd rather be playing video games, but it's not ok to force a kid to eat broccoli when they'd rather be eating pizza?

    I thought it was common knowledge that parents, teachers, etc. aren't supposed to just let kids do whatever they want and never make them do anything they don't want to do.

  31. I have always wondered why people make such a big deal about calling tomato "a fruit," when, by the same criteria, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin, and any other "vegetables" with seeds would fall into the same category. I've never, ever heard anyone say zucchini is a fruit.

  32. Interesting post and comments. I particularly like what Anonymous at 12:58 PM said. I do the same. I cook a lot at the weekend and sometimes again midweek and we eat leftovers all week. I also bake once or twice a week. I am not a "fab mom" either. When you cook often you get good at it and it's no more time consuming than it would be to drive to the fast food outlet to buy some crap.

    We almost never eat fast food (except for delivery pizza every few months; we love pizza but I prefer to make my own and put on all the toppings we want). My kid has never set foot in McDonald's in his life. Instead of spending money on fast food I prefer to buy groceries, cook real food, save my money and then eat real food in a proper restaurant whenever we do eat out.

  33. jeri said…

    I'm from a High school in south Jersey. It is nice to see that Teachers pay attention and care about what students do inside and OUTSIDE the classroom. My science teacher was yelling at me and my friend for eating chips in class.My response to him is that 85% of his students are just going to go down to the Lunch room to have either: Pizza, Subs, Nachos, Tocas, Fries, Hamburgers,Cheese burgers with no regard for the fruit and would head straight to the ice cream. we have so few choices in the lunch rooms and it's sad. And when i try to go the healthy route and get a salad,the greens would be in poor qaulity as the rest of the salad. I'm a senior so I'm leaving, but i hate to see my two younger brothers eat the health destroying food they serve EVERYDAY. unlike you, what i listed up there is the main choices we have because we have four seperate lunch lines. Theres an exception of the fourth being a toss up, but everything else is served everyday!

  34. they have fewer years experience, not less. Anything you can count is fewer (snowflakes); anything you can't is less (snow).

  35. Additionally, they have fewer years experience than "we do", not than "us."

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