Day 85: chicken parm

Today’s menu: chicken parm, garlic bread, broccoli, apple

The chicken got a little “over-toasted” there, but it was ok. I just eat fast. I like the garlic bread (I’m a big fan of the homemade stuff). The broccoli was probably reheated too many times because it lost some of its color and texture. Limp broccoli is not exactly a treat, but down it went.

The food is heated up in extremely large ovens; there is no microwave involved. I can’t imagine the microwave large enough to handle the sheer volume of students who eat at school.


Student talking to himself, “…that’s what that means.”
Me being nosy, “What are you talking about?”
“Someone said ‘Ms. ___ is the fittest teacher’ and I just figured out what ‘fittest’ means.”
“So, what does it mean?”
“You know, the most exercised.”


My mom says that when I was quite young, I was playing Barbie with a friend and I said something like,”Barbie is sexy.”
Startled my mom turned to me and said,
“What does ‘sexy’ mean, sweetie?”

My mom was one of those moms who banned us from Barbie for a long time. But eventually she caved. We loved playing Barbie and owned a few dolls, but only one Ken and one Skipper. We loved making little families. “Bad” Barbie was the one who tried to steal Ken away from “good” Barbie and she was thrown down the stairs. Sorry about that tangent there…. What does Barbie teach kids? I personally think Bratz are worse!

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31 thoughts on “Day 85: chicken parm

  1. I detest Barbie but my girls love her. I have 3 girls and feel like I need to counteract so much of what they see and hear. Not just tv (we limit that), the worst is explaining things she hears on the school bus.

  2. I had Barbies. Of course, my Barbie went off to work while Ken stayed home and cleaned the house. She also used to do Eval Kineval type stunts in her remote control Corvette. I was not a normal child, thank heavens.

  3. I loved Barbies! My sister and I painted bathing suits on them with nail polish and they had dance parties! I wish they were a little more "natural" though. I know I had some severe problems with self esteem growing up but who doesn't? Was it Barbie or was it a whole lotta things mixed together? I go for the latter, but Barbie might have been in that mix.

  4. This made me laugh! I had a Tupperware box filled with Barbies growing up! This explains so much! hahahahaha

    I continue to be disturbed that your food is heated up in those containers with plastic film over it. Eek!

  5. Ooh, Bratz are banned in our house 🙂 We've actually had a discussion with our daughter about why they are not appropriate toys. Barbie's not great, but at this point my daughter (9 yrs old) much prefers Littlest Pet Shop over Barbies and Polly Pockets.

    I had Barbie's when I was a kid, and I honestly don't ever remember really connecting what they physically looked like with myself. I had self-esteem issues too (are there teenagers who don't?) but I don't think it was connected to the Barbies. I think teen/women's magazines and television are much more liable.

  6. I had Barbies growing up and they never impacted the way I felt about myself and the way I looked. Both my sister and I felt secure in our bodies – I believe that it was our parents who were responsible for the positive way we looked at ourselves.
    I let my 4 year old daughter play with Barbies because she wants too and I don't see a problem with them.
    Blocking toys (and foods) from your house only makes the toys/food more interesting to your children.
    That being said we have a HFCS free and meat free house – will that backfire on me in the future? Who knows.

  7. Barbie at least looks like an adult and kids think of her as an adult. Bratz look like 12 year old strippers!

    When I was little I had Barbies but I preferred Polly pockets the little ones looked and dressed like kids, the bigger ones were skinny but more realistic then Barbie. I used to joke about Barbie being able to do anything but stand upright because her chest was to big.

  8. Anonymous at 10:33, you took the words right out of my mouth.

    I was a diehard barbie girl growing up, and I utterly adored her. I never judged her based on the way she looked. She's Barbie. She can't help it if she's too skinny.
    I was far more impressed by her endless careers (princess one day, teacher the next), creative wardrobe, and awesome cars. More than making me reflect on my physical appearance, I think Barbie helped instill in me that I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up, and if I changed my mind, career-changes were perfectly acceptable.

  9. Brats are horrifying.

    When I played barbies, we mostly played house with them. Barbie and Ken were married, and they had babies. Skipper was the baby sitter, and Barbie would wear fancy dresses out on the "town."

  10. I've never seen broccoli be that shade of…of…green? yellow? before. 😉

    Bratz – UGH!! I forgot all about those! My little girl has Snap-n-Style dolls. They are very cute and wear acceptable (not skanky!) clothing. 🙂

  11. A friend (?) gifted my three year old with a Barbie on her birthday, telling me, "I know you'll never let her have one, but every girl has to have Barbie." Over the years, my daughters had plenty of the anatomically distorted and just plain strange figures, with all their relatives, friends and paraphernalia, but I could never bring myself to give them a single bit of it.

    Now my daughters refuse to buy Barbies for their children! So far, none of their friends have stepped up either.

    That meal looks positively disgusting. I remain sorry you have to eat this junk every single time I see the images. Sorrier still for the children for whom this may be their only meal.

    Really, Corporate America, and the government that kowtows to your every whim, greed is one thing, but feeding kids this slop is worse than un-American. It should be a crime.

    Btw, if you care about what children are being fed in schools, get informed about the USDA school lunch bill currently before Congress and call and write your representatives and senators!

  12. We played with Barbies growing up in the 60s. Ken usually met some tragic death and then Barbie et. al. lived fabulous lives! We had bigger dolls too though that we "made" clothes for and pierced their ears with those needles with the balls on the end. They were all just toys – none of them made me want to look like them.

  13. School is almost out, school lunches are over for the year. What will you do next, next year?
    I had one Barbie doll. I hate them.

  14. Barbie wasn't ever a worry about self esteem though she did tend to play out what I had seen in my grandma's soap operas… she was a hussy to say the least. She was allowed to go to church with me once on the condition that she kept all of her clothes on… sadly Barbie was never allowed at church again!

  15. Is all of the food cooked/heated inside of some sort of plastic wrap in those individual containers? Am I the only person bothered by this? Cooking food in any sort of plastic can easily leak toxins into our children's bodies. By the pics in your blog it looks like our kids eat like this on a daily basis.

  16. I'm still fairly young (22) but I remember Polly Pockets being a little world that could fit in your pocket with little dolls that could just sit down or change hats. When Littlest Pet Shop animals did cute moves like shaking a paw or with a magic wand (with a magnate) you could move a mouse through a maze. Now they are huge and fashionable or just bob their head, what does this teach them.

    I used to have so many adventures with Polly and the Pets for a very long time (Almost to high school). My cousin packed all her Barbies away after 5th grade, because she was 'too old' to play with that stuff.

    The one good thing is American Dolls still look and play the same, plus they always have more and more fun accessories like flutes or skating and so many more. Plus they look like real girls not like pole dancers.

  17. I would never have been able to come up with chicken parm as one of the school lunches I had all the time, and in fact I tried when I first started reading your blog to come up with such a list. But I now have a very strong memory of loving it. Processed breaded chicken "patties" with sauce and melted cheese. Sounds awful now, but I'd probably still enjoy it.

  18. I already didn't like the Bratz Dolls, and that is just from seeing them in the store. Then my ten year old neice spent the night and was watching a Bratz cartoon on Saturday morning. It was all about lying, secrets, backbiting, and stealing boyfriends. Not to mention, all the males on the shows are made out to be unintelligent. I'm expecting my first, if it is a girl, I will be looking for a realistic alternative to Barbie and Bratz.

  19. I agree with the person who said at least Barbie has different careers! At lest she shows young girls that they can be whatever they want (a mom, a doctor, even an astronaut!). Bratz just teach young girls that it's ok to dress like a whore.

    Having said that, though, if your kids are really learning life lessons, good or bad, from the toys they play with or the animated films they watch, you may not be doing your job as a parent. I grew up watching Disney movies, and it did NOT result in me believing any of the things on that website ( In fact I grew up to be very strong and independent woman, who doesn't rely on men or my looks for anything. You can still let your girls watch Disney movies and play Barbie dolls, and teach them that reality is quite different.

  20. I recently read a really interesting web article about racism that said a sure fire way to teach your children to lean toward racism is to never talk about race and ignore it like an issue that doesn't exist. I think that is true of many things, including what Barbie represents to our view of sexuality. When we open our mouths to teach our kids about the controversial issues, we are giving them information and education. They will draw their own conclusions. And that is exactly the right thing.

    I think it is unfortunate that your student did not know what fit meant, and that he did know what excercise meant. We are placing so much emphasis on excercise but I think often the message of health gets lost in the jumble.

  21. I was a little boy who wanted to be Barbie. Not because she was a girl or pretty or anything, but because she had EVERYTHING. Convertible, dream house, and any job she wanted. I wasn't particularly nice to my little sister's Barbies (more than one got a crew cut), but I still thought she was far more interesting than any action figure. They only had one job and maybe a motorcycle. No dream house or career options.

    I try to get my niece a variety of "boy", "girl" and gender-neutral toys, but I flat out refuse to buy a Bratz doll. It would be one thing if the little girls' clothing section was still age-appropriate, but it seems like every other store I go to is selling mini-skirts and halter tops. I don't want her to think that sort of clothing is acceptable for a child so I avoid giving her anything that could endorse it. Luckily, she seems to be far more interested in Lego and Spiderman anyway. Now that I think about it, I don't think she even owns a Barbie.

  22. Homicidal tendencies in children should not be overlooked. Probably explains why you're broken. Probably.

  23. I used to have Barbie cheat on Ken with GI Joe. So sad…but that's what we learned living in the inner city

  24. They are now rereleasing vintage Barbies, and while I imagine these are collectibles, I know some parents allow their kids to play with them (because mine did when I was a little girl). I saw a "My Favorite Career" Teacher Barbie from 1965 who has a quote bubble with "I chalk it up to my PhD in fashion." I loved Barbies as a kid, but now I really question what they teach children, especially Bella Swan from the Twilight series who says something along the lines that marrying Edward Cullen is is first choice while college is Plan B.

    I know this is off the subject, but I feel that education our young girls AND BOYS, young men and women should encourage independent, socially-conscious, and intelligent individuals…and part of being such a person includes being physically and mentally healthy. I definitely see how each of these problems are related to one another.

  25. I 100% support Barbies. Sure, she's not a realistic body type, but man, that girl does it all. Right now, there's a line of Barbies with all different careers. Barbie can do anything! Pilot, doctor, vet…. she even travels around the world. Personally, I think other factors (TV, magazines, etc) play a more harmful role on girls' body image than Barbie does.

    As much as I support Barbie, I equally detest Bratz. What a horrible, over-done, sexy little girl toy. Bratz dont even have the decency to have career ambitions like Barbie does! Instead, they look like little girl prostitutes. Ick.

  26. I used to Cross Dress Ken..and my Barbie worked at Mc Donalds..and had a crap ton of ex husbands and step kids..i think she was related to the whole town

  27. Wow. That is not chicken parm. More like chicken harm. I would really like to make the real deal for your school…wonder if the kids would eat it??

  28. I was more of a My Little Ponies girl myself. I always liked animal toys better than human looking toys. And then I went on to get a degree in wildlife biology.

    My little sister had Barbies, though. They would always end up naked and headless. :-/

    My boyfriend kept his GI Joe/Action Man dolls as collectables (oh sorry, I mean "action figures"… and Action Man is the UK version, since he grew up in England). I noticed he has a Barbie in there with them in a GI Joe uniform. I asked him about it, and he said when he was a kid, he thought it was stupid there were no girl GI Joes, so he got that Barbie so there would be a girl on the team.

    I can see Barbie enlisting to go off and adventure with GI Joe, but not Ken. 🙂

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