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Modern School Donating Member (558 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 10:58 PM
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Let Them Eat Tomato Paste!
25 years ago Reagan declared that ketchup was a vegetable in an attempt to red wash the greasy, salty, processed foods served in school cafeterias. Today, in spite of Michelle Obamas duplicitous attempt to nip the obesity epidemic in the bud (see here and here), we are seeing the same game replayed, with Congress approving agriculture appropriations language allowing the tomato paste on pizza to be considered a serving of vegetables under the USDAs new school lunch guidelines.

If we really cared about our childrens health, we would do away completely with processed foods manufactured thousands of miles away and trucked across the country in a plume of carbon dioxide and particulate air pollution. We would retrain and promote the low wage factotums who presently reheat and serve these prefabricated meals into actual cooks who prepare fresh, organic, locally grown meats, cheese and produce. We would teach children to enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables and flavors that are not dependent on high levels of salt, fat and sugar. We would bring physical education back as a daily class for kids of all ages and invest in more after school athletics and dance programs. We would ensure that all families have sufficient food to eat at home, every day of the year, and that they all have access to free or affordable health care.

In actuality, childrens health, like everything else in our society, is irrelevant except as much as it can be used to make a profit. What really matters is that processed food giants like ConAgra, Schwan Food, Nestle and Unilever continue to get access to the billions of federal tax dollars that are funneled each year into school lunch programs. Not only does this put cash directly into their pockets, but it helps shape childrens eating habits and preferences so that they will continue to purchase large quantities of their salty, sugary, fatty products as adults.

The legislation came in response to lobbying by ConAgra and Schwan Food, one of the worlds largest producers of frozen pizzas, according to the OB Rag. It also came in the wake of a Senate amendment that blocked the USDA from limiting the quantity of potatoes served in school lunches, a rule pushed by senators in the potato states of Maine and Colorado.

Pizza and potatoes are probably the two most popular foods at school. However, there is no reason why they cannot continued to be served, but why not using fresh produce and prepared from scratch, on site, with less salt, sugar and fat? Pizzas do not have to be doughy Frisbees overflowing with commodity ground beef, sausage, pepperoni and American cheese. Likewise, there are countless delicious and healthy alternatives to tater tots, like potatoes boiled and served with butter and herbs, baked, roasted, mashed, or served sliced in salad.

None of this is happening any time soon, so if kids want healthy food at school, they will have to bring it from home. If their parents cannot afford it, they can always apply for one of the low wage scab custodian jobs that will open up after Newt Gingrich gets elected.

Modern School
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:01 PM
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1. Aren't tomatoes a fruit, anyway? That always bugged me. nt
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 12:03 AM
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2. When I was in school, much of the lunches were made by
Edited on Wed Nov-30-11 12:04 AM by shraby
a cook using government surplus and a talent for cooking to make delicious meals. We got a meat, potatoes, gravy, vegetable, bread, milk, dessert type meals for 25 cents a day. If not meat, potatoes, gravy type meal, it was a soup worthy of a king. Anyone who cleaned their plate got seconds. Many high school boys often got seconds, plus whatever the younger ones didn't the milk.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 07:12 AM
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3. Report from "the frontlines".
I substitute teach in a variety of elementary schools in northern New Jersey, particularly a very affluent community. Most of the kids bring their own lunch to school. Some kids get "box lunches". Monday offered them two choices: mozzarella sticks or chicken nuggets and one slice of whole wheat bread. That's it. Not even tomato paste. Yes, the kids are offered a very small bag of very small carrots. (The entire contents would fit in your palm.) And small apples. They bypass those choices and just snarf down the cheese or chicken.

And the "lunches" aren't even made on site. The school kitchen is closed altogether. No staff, no ovens or stoves on. The stuff is made at a central location, a middle school, and driven to the elementary school.
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