Solving the School Lunch Cooking Problem


Elementary School cafeteriaWe all know that part of the problem with school lunches is that they are often unhealthy. One reason for that is because the schools are sometimes unwilling, or unable, to cook.

I just read an interesting article in the New York Times that outlines the issues some schools are facing when trying to serve students healthier food. I was surprised to learn that many schools lack the proper equipment and that the staff lacks the proper training. According to the Times, “more than 80 percent of the nation’s districts cook fewer than half their entrees from scratch.” Why? “As many American families stopped cooking and began to rely on prepared and packaged food, so did the schools. It became cheaper to cut skilled kitchen labor, eliminate raw ingredients and stop maintaining kitchens.”

Bummer. But there is an effort being made to get healthier food into the lunchroom by cooking using fresh ingredients.

My lunches in high school consisted of a choice between a hamburger, cheeseburger, or a slab of pizza. Everything came with french fries. The fries were — I am not making this up — “enriched with vitamin C.” We all assumed that the black dots on the fries were the vitamins. Because we really didn’t want to think about what else those dots might be. The price was a dollar, which was at least a damn good deal. There was a “hot lunch” option (think salisbury steak and mashed potatoes) but I never ate it.

If I recall correctly, no one cared much about the fact that we were eating crappola on a daily basis. I’m not complaining, it was just the times we lived in. I guess it is a little bit like smoking. Eventually society figured out that it was unhealthy and an effort was made to get people to stop.

What was your school lunch like? And what are your kids eating now?

Source: New York Times