I guess I have some news…

I don’t know how else to say this.

I’ve been working on a big project.
It’s actually a book…
Over the past six months, every spare moment of my time was devoted to writing. One of my friends asked, “How is that humanly possible with a full-time job, a toddler, and a daily blog?”

It wasn’t easy, but I loved writing.
Well, I worked seven days a week; I worked through the holidays. And, luckily, I didn’t suffer from writer’s block. How could I? There is so much to tell. So much to reveal…
Aside from talking about the school lunches and the kids, how I survived the year and more about Mrs. Q, there is a guide for school lunch reform that is uniquely my own. The book is a story about one personβ€” me β€” doing something because I cared enough to take action. And then, I give you some tips on what you can do in your community.
Every time I read a few pages, I chuckle. Although I take this issue very seriously, I used humor to tell my story. Food can be funny, especially school lunch food!
I don’t have all the details yet, but the book scheduled to be published later this year by Chronicle Books. This whole thing came as a happy surprise, but it is a logical continuation of the blog’s campaign to raise awareness about school lunch.

Oh yeah, and then I will come out, too…

Thank you so much for what you have contributed to the blog project. There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am today if you hadn’t helped me along, guiding me with comments and teaching me with emails. I’m grateful that we all care about the food kids eat at school and I hope that my book contributes in a meaningful way.

Now I’m going to go find a nice paper bag and use it to breathe.

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92 thoughts on “I guess I have some news…

  1. WOW that's great to hear Mrs. Q. You are truly amazing to find the time to do all that you do. I hope your book does well.

  2. Congratulations, Mrs. Q! I'm so excited to have followed this journey from the beginning, and I'm so excited that you have the opportunity to reach so many more people with this book. Cannot wait to read it!

  3. awesome!!! Mrs. Q!! Humor always helps when talking about topics that people get defensive over and I am sure looking forward to the book.

  4. Just saw your article on CNN.com. I teach in a Chicago Public School on the north side and the school lunches and reddish-orange trays look eerily familiar…
    I've been saying for years that it's a crime what we're feeding our students, so I'm so glad to see someone is actually speaking up about this issue. With the obesity rate skyrocketing, something has to be done. Thank you for your year of "research" and for subjecting yourself to many not-so-tasty meals! I look forward to reading your blog regularly! Rachel Bramley

  5. Wonderful! I have to confess, I just assumed you would write a book about it eventually. I'm wowed that you managed to do it while blogging and teaching and being a wife and mom. Super woman!

  6. I just want to thank you for doing this project and writing your book. When I was in sixth grade, I noticed that in middle school, the kids were allowed to buy french fries and cookies for lunch. Often this was the only thing they ate. I started a petition to make healthy choices more attractive and also take away the unhealthy choices. I ended up getting horribly bullied by my peers, who were of the opinion that they were able to make these bad choices because it is a free country. The school official in charge of the food program let me be on a food committee and then tried to convince me that ketchup and french fries are healthy because they are made of vegetables. Years passed and I became a biologist. I followed the increase in obesity in our nation and I thought to myself, well, my compatriots in middle school got what they paid for. Keep going, even when people are mean to you, keep caring. You're the greatest. I wish someone had told me so in 1987.

  7. This is great! I was just taking a break for lunch and found a link here from CNN. Thank you for taking time to let people know about the sad state of lunches in our public schools. I work in the office at a rural high school in NC, and the adults in the building have mostly all boycotted our cafeteria this year. Pizza & fries nearly every day – and the few times we have something that ought to be good, the food is bland & overcooked.
    I can't wait to have time to read through your blog. Congrats on the book!

  8. Hi! Wonderful reporting. As a child, I ate free or reduced price lunch meals throughout K-12. In college I had enough left over money from financial aid and loans to support a very bare-bones diet typical of many college students. Now, finally in the real world, I discover that I have no idea how to shop for real groceries or how to cook a healthy meal. One recipe called for lentils, and I had to Google what they were. I didn't realize til I was 23 that I hadn't been eating real food my entire life. I hope changes to school lunch menus can address this kind of problem. Us poor kids really aren't getting real food any other way.

  9. I'm glad you're doing this and that it just made national news… I can't believe what people consume and a lot of times, they don't even realize It's unhealthy. It's true, a lot of the behaviors and learning disabilities of our kids these days can be attributed to what is removed (good things) and added (bad things) during processing and just the bad choices in general. Hopefully this will open some eyes and change some things!

  10. congratulations!! i was wondering when this was going to happen. can't wait to read the book!!!

  11. I can't believe this quote from the cnn article: "But the School Nutrition Association disputes that notion.

    'I really think what Mrs. Q showed was in a great, great, great minority,' said Helen Phillips, president-elect of the association. 'The media picks up on those stories because it plays into a stereotype of school meals.'"

    My kids go to a suburban school with plenty of money and they are served fried crap too. I've never heard of a school that doesn't feed kids a bunch of processed stuff. I pack for my kids b/c it's so unhealthy for them.

  12. Congratulations! How nice that this past year of hard work has paid off in a more concrete way as well πŸ™‚

  13. A friend forwarded me this blog, and I think this is a fabulous concept and message. However, the ad on the top left of the page is for a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich product. Can you really be supporting packaged/processed/HFCS foods? If you weren't aware of this, I thought you should be so you can make necessary changes. If you *are* aware of this, I don't know how I can take your message seriously. I sincerely hope you'll address this subject. Thank you.

  14. SO AWESOME! I am very passionate about the lunch thing too! Not enough to blog about it. Well i did for a week last year, but…..anyway this is about YOU! Can't wait to read your book. Congratulations!

  15. I can't believe you complain like every single day about how noble it was of you to suffer through ONE SINGLE YEAR of eating school food. I've eaten that stuff for over ten years, and I never complained or whined as much as you did.

  16. Bully for you! Reminds me of the Appleton (WI)Alternative School experiment that radically improved the behavior of problem kids by changing their lunch diet. Read about it at naturalpress.info

  17. This is really heartwarming and uplifting news. Good for you, and good for Chronicle for signing you up!

  18. Just found you from CNN πŸ™‚ My oldest will be in full day school this fall, and this is an issue we're going to have to deal with soon.

    I can't wait to read through your blog-though just from the CNN article I think I'm already persuaded to just pack my daughter's lunches lol!

    We're currently transitioning to a whole foods/organic diet, and none of the food pictured in the CNN quiz is something I'd feed my kids. The article was a real eye opener!
    sara http://www.myfrugalfunlife.com

  19. You better hire a stylist because I see appearances on Oprah, The View and Regis & Kathy Lee in your future! Oh and the Food Network! You and Pioneer Woman will be running in the same circles. I am so happy for you and I can't wait to read your book.

  20. I too work in a school and while our kids may not have organic fruitloops and crunchy granola bars for breakfast everyday their lunch is the type -regular-; -normal- kids want and most importantly it's healthy too.

    I agree with the people who call you a snob; you are without a doubt an elitist and obviously you do not need the actual high standing in society to have the attitude.
    Individuals like you believe they know better than the rest of society and attempt to force their presumed superior ideas on other people. It is pathetic and the exact opposite of what a free society should embody; free choice. Weather it be something as simple and meaningless as free lunch or more.

  21. I too work in a school and while our kids may not have organic fruitloops and crunchy granola bars for breakfast everyday their lunch is the type -regular-; -normal- kids want and most importantly it's healthy too.

    I agree with the people who call you a snob; you are without a doubt an elitist and obviously you do not need the actual high standing in society to have the attitude.
    Individuals like you believe they know better than the rest of society and attempt to force their presumed superior ideas on other people. It is pathetic and the exact opposite of what a free society should embody; free choice. Weather it be something as simple and meaningless as free lunch or more.

  22. You don't need a paper bag!! Big, huge things are in store for you! I truly believe one day you will look back and wonder what you were so nervous about. Can't wait for the book!

  23. Awesome possum! I followed you almost from the beginning and believe you have something to say! The negative person above who made the comment about "free choice" seems to have forgotten that most children who each school lunch daily do NOT have free choice – they eat school lunch because they have NO choice, and that meal MATTERS – it may be their ONLY "good" meal of the day. So, shouldn't it BE GOOD?! Mrs. Q, you have brought to light hugely important issues about what we as a society are doing to our children. CAN'T WAIT for the book!

  24. Congratulations, Mrs. Q!!!!! I'm so excited for you and I'm chomping at the bit to read your book! I feel like we're seeing a butterfly come out of her cocoon….after watching and doting on that cocoon for a whole year. Kudos for all your hard work! Your success is well-deserved.

  25. Oh Mrs. Q! Congrats! This is wonderful news.
    One thing: will you publish it under "Mrs. Q," or your real name? Hmmm…..

  26. Last year, when my son was in 4th grade, he wrote a paper about how the school lunches were unhealthful for kids, and called them "soy filled slop." His teacher was very angry and forced him to write a different paper. We asked his teacher why the angry reaction (my husband is also a teacher-different school) and the teacher said it was because he was rude to insult the food (and therefore the cooks). He also said our son was too young to be writing about issues like this! My husband and I stood by our son, his beliefs and his paper. Sadly, the teacher took his anger out on our son the remainder of the school year. I really hope this teacher sees your blog and comes to understand that my son is not the only one to know that school food is bad for our kids.

    Now that he's in fifth grade, he has decided to use school food along with "good" food in his science fair experiment. I'm curious to see how the school reacts to THIS! Can't wait to show my son this blog so he can see that he's not alone-even a teacher thinks school food stinks πŸ™‚

  27. HOLY CUPCAKES!!! A BOOK! Oh, Mrs. Q! I am so very excited for you. Congrats a million times over! Big hugs from NYC!!!

  28. Anon-why is healthy food choices considered elitist and not 'normal' Why have we as a society become ok with genetically modified food, and things that are so processed there's absolutely no nutritional value left at all? How can we continue to feed our children these things, when it's horrible for their health, and setting them up for problems later on in life?

    There's nothing 'elitist' about wanting the best for our kids. I have a small grocery budget, but I'm still able to provide whole food choices to my kids. Things that are made with real ingredients-that I can actually pronounce.

    It's sad that some people judge others because they actually CARE about what our children are eating, and want the best for them.

  29. Congrats and though I am happy for you, are you at all a bit concerned about any negative things that may come from this? Not only for you and your job, but the school and the kids that go to that school. Once the book is published it will become so easy for one to find out what school it is all the lunches were from… things can get blown out of proportion so easily, it worrys me about the kids in the end.

  30. Pam, I worry about that all the time. I never thought any of this would happen when I started the blog. It really was a simple goal (raising awareness). It has already gotten blown out of proportion. I think it could be good for the kids — the school might get some additional money. For me, on dark days, I think I'll never be able to find another job.

    I'm just trying to "trust the journey."

  31. Felicitations! From a former teacher who now lives in France. Impressive project with a well-deserved outcome.

    Continued success along your journey…yes, trust the journey.

  32. Wow, amazing. I saw your latest post, and your blog doesn't need to go past that to show everyone the truth about school lunches in most schools (I say most because my school is one of the few that actually serve delicious and healthy lunches in their cafes). I hope your (future) book goes beyond popular. πŸ˜€

  33. I'll definitely pick up a copy when your book comes out. I have been reading your blog for a while and really appreciate the work you do.

    I was lucky to come from a home where I could get real food and have become a successful cooking adult. I try to pass along my enthusiasm for cooking with fresh ingredients and the joy of the bulk food aisle but many people could care less it seems.

    Schools often argue that kids won't eat healthy food. I think kids just need time to get used to it. They are growing and their tastes will change depending on what we expose them to. My almost-stepmother would tease my sister and I saying we couldn't have any veggies until we finished our ice cream because we would snack on lettuce and other veggies when bored. Her kids were the typical pizza and fries kind of kids. I'm either weird or ahead of the curve.

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