Things I missed

I’ve been overwhelmed by supportive emails and comments. Thank you. I’m deeply touched. It has been a long journey and I’m so happy to be finally “out” no matter what happens next. Good news: I’m still employed!

Based upon the number of emails I have received most of you have told me they have eaten school food similar to what I ate last year. For every 20 emails confirming that there is work to be done, I get an email that says that I need to share the good stories. Please send me your good food story — I’d love to feature it as a guest blog! In fact, if anyone who has an interesting story or perspective on an issue is welcome to share it in the form of a guest post. I love guest blog posts.

The interviews I have been doing I haven’t left me a lot of time with which to talk about lunch ladies. I write quite a bit about lunch ladies in my book. I just want people to know that I think that lunch ladies are completely underappreciated and that they are valuable staff members at school. Who else gets to touch the lives of almost every child at school? Bottom line: when you feed someone it’s more than a transaction. When I feed my family, I create something that feels good. When you become a “regular” at a restaurant, you know the people as almost friends. It’s the same for lunch ladies –why else would they suffer through some rather challenging working conditions? It’s more than “just food.” They love the kids. So do I.

Here’s my little guy. I’ve wanted to share him with you for some time. He is my world. Meet Charlie. He’s who I cook for (well, my husband too!):


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16 thoughts on “Things I missed

  1. Your son is such a darling!

    I could not see your interviews live… and have been wanting to see the videos, but everytime I try to get to the videos online, ABC crashed on me. Are you going to be posting your videos here? I want to put them up on FB too!

  2. I could not agree with you more on the importance of the lunch lady. Most especially in the poorer/lower SES areas. I am a social worker. One of my co workers mother, she was a *lunch lady* at one of the poorest schools in a local district. Often times these women are the first to see the signs of abuse and neglect.. If these children are arriving at school to eat the free breakfast these are the first faces they see. These are often the first adults that these children have to read out to. They often are the ones who send a message to the Principal, school counselor, or teacher that they need to watch this child, need to check into a situation, need to help this family.
    The lunch lady is often not an a worker of advanced education, she is not dressed fancily, she is more *reachable* to the kids who need help. They feel more comfortable talking to her in her scrubs/uniform and hair net.. she is no threatening.. She is a comfort, a hug a friend.. She is trust able to the kids who need it the most.
    At my friends mom’s school.. she was often times the link to the principal. They trusted her and would freely share astonishing things.. and she would go to the principal to make sure they got the help they needed.

  3. Our school has the same terrible lunch company as yours and I have been pushing administration for a while to make changes. They haven’t yet changed companies (sigh) BUT the kids have an option of salad twice a week! I have SO many students that choose the salad instead of the main dish. It just proves that if you give them a better option, they will take it! Now I just have to convince them to use grilled chicken instead of popcorn chicken and to allow the 1st graders and Kindergarteners the option as well. Thank you for continuing to fight for our kids! You are an inspiration!

    1. While we all agree that all Americans need to eat better, targeting just schools is like treating one of the symptoms in an illness. I too have watched the lunches served and despite some claims more children bypass the healthier option. Even if they pick it while going through the line it ends up uneaten and in the garbage. Healthy eating begins and ends at home. School is just part of it. So until we fix the problem don’t expect too much.

      And don’t forget healthier options often mean higher costs which our schools are not in a position to handle so be ready to put your money where your….. you get it.

  4. I was so happy to see Charlies smiling face the other day on one of the websites. I wondered what he looked like from the day you posted a pic of his chubby little arm last winter.

    I wonder if my kids’ lunch program would do a guest blog with you. It’s an amazing program that our school outsources to bring lunched in but get this…it’s real food! And guess what else?…It comes in washable bento boxes!!! Pretty darn cool if you ask me. There is one downside to the program and it is parents must go online and order lunches every month. I went on in early September to order for October but the menu wasn’t posted. I forgot all about it and my kids didn’t get a lunch on Monday October 3rd. ooops. Since the food is pre ordered for each child and not mass produced with tons of waste, parents need to be diligent about making sure lunches have been ordered in time.

    I went into the office to give a friendly suggestion of emailing parents or doing a one-call-now to everyone to remind parents to order. The office lady told me that over 120 kids forgot to order so she was working on a plan to make sure people were reminded to place orders early.

    1. sorry you got bumped for the steve jobs story, but i am sure they will air you another night instead. i already sent them an email asking when it will be! i don’t even have kids but i am appalled by what the school administrations are doing to the young people. Maybe we can start a movement of people going to the School Board meetings or something to get some changes?

      @free – sounds like a really cool program and a great start to changing things.

  5. It’s been a long time since I stopped by, and I was so happy to read about your book! The best of luck to you. Well done!!

  6. Mrs. Q aka Wu,

    As a parent of young children (almost 3 & 9 months) I appreciate mothers, teachers, women, like you who truly care about the children we are raising, this next generation. Food is energy and I really do believe that you are what you eat, if all you put in your body is highly processed, chemically engineered food how can you expect the outcome to be positive? Thank you for taking a stand, a personal risk, to do what is right for not just one school or district but a whole generation of children at the mercy of the poor standards of “nutrition” we allow in our school systems.

  7. Hi, Just found your blog. It is great! As a social services worker I totally support your endeavor but can you take it a step further? Look at the lunches provided in the summer by USDA to the underprivelged. It is mystery meat – and nasty looking. They ( at the school board) said it was because of the amt of money they rec’d but 1) most of the lunch gets thrown out because the kids won’t eat it and 2) they had enough money to plaster billboards on the buses in town. Just a thought. Keep up the great work and will “favorite” it!

  8. Love your blog.. have you investigated the use of GMO food in the lunches at school.
    Look for anything soy, corn (syrup, flour, modified…) Cottonseed. These foods have never been studied are not labeled and have no business in my compost let alone foods marketed to kids.
    Keep up the good work! Love what you are doing. Glad you still have your job. 🙂

  9. Hello!, Greetings from Malaysia and Adventures of Juan Or and Mommy. How old is your son now? Cute boy!

    P/S: Me too! My son is my whole world to me. And well, yes, just like you, he’s who I cook for too to make sure he eats well (and hubby, of course!) 🙂

  10. I too just found this blog, look forward to reading the book. I’ve listened for years to my 11 year old complain about options..he would rather take “cold lunch” than deal with it! i’m totally an advocate for fresh healthy options, and if you offer it to them, they will take it! Where’s Michelle Obama with her healthy eating campaign..not at my son’s school. But this is inspiring, change has to be made by parents, not school board members trying to reach a budget and cutting cost on their meals by purchasing processed, prepared foods. I also suppor the lunch lady, it’s not her fault the administration gives her these foods to serve our kids!

  11. Congrats on the book and the awesome amount of support you have had. I followed you from almost the beginning and agree every step of the way. My sons Andrew(3) and Charlie (3 months) have yet to be in a daycare or school environment, but when they do I will be prepared with what I can to keep them from eating the crap you had to endure for a year. Thank you again for bringing the very needed attention to this matter.

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