Cost, Value & Purpose

Cafeteria food for our children – what memories does it bring back for you?  I came across this link and was blown away by not only this women’s passion, but also by the amount of accessible information she is providing to schools to start to make a change.  And if you don’t know how bad the situation is take a look at this blog. Ms. Q is eating lunch at her school daily and writing about it.  I think I found Ms. Q, tried to ring her, but got hung up on.  Really, I’m not a crazy lady Ms. Q- just wanted to talk about what we can do to start making a change since we are teaching in the same state.

When I went back to Florida for this winter break I sat down and interviewed my two nieces about their school lunches. The oldest, 13, refuses to eat the lunch at school.  She said it was devoid of any flavor, cold, and didn’t look like “real” food.  Don’t believe her…read this. 5.5 million pounds off this “stuff” went into the school lunch program.  And the real shocker from this impromptu interview with them…was that they both wanted a salad bar.  Really?  This seems like such an easy solution.

So now what? For starters Mindful Meals will be expanding to Mindful Meals For Kids.  Initially, I plan on cooking with children and posting the recipes that will be easy enough for parents and school cafeterias to use. Then expanding that to healthy food Q & A sessions with parents/administrators/teachers; cooking demos, and cooking classes with kids until eventually school by school gets the message. And in the meantime Ms. Q…lunch someday???

One of the final events we had to do at culinary school was called Friday Night Dinner.  It was a vegetarian dinner for 100 people. The most interesting part was the actual cost of the dinner vs. what the customer paid.  Believe me it gives new meaning to “the bill.”

I guess the point I’m trying to illustrate is what are the parents paying for and what are their kids getting.  Something simple – popcorn.  A major name brand in every store has a microwavable butter package.  (Contains popcorn, salt, natural and artificial flavor, color, and Tbhq- a little something that stabilizes varnishes or keeps food fresh).  Anyways, can get it at Walgreens for $4.29 – 3 pack.

I went to Whole Foods and bought the same amount for $.31 – organic- not even genetically modified.

Popped it..

Added real salt and real butter… not the kind that you get at the movie theater in a pump.  By the way, that stuff  is soybean oil, artificial coloring and artificial flavor.

And for a whopping $.61 I had organic, healthy, real colored popcorn!  If popcorn is that simple, how easy is it to change the focus on the school lunches?

Up next…two teachers who left the Chicago Public School system and opened up their own restaurant 16 years ago..with a focus on seasonal healthy food.  Maybe we can ban together and get them to come back to the schools?

**First photo from: * photo from 2007/1..*


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One response to “Cost, Value & Purpose

  1. Pingback: Hua Chai Bpoh « Mindful Meals

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