Friday, March 5, 2010

...and a pineapple under the sea...

I have been a teacher long enough to know why there is an obesity problem among our children in America. It began with Lunchables and lunchbox-sized soft drinks, and reached its apex with Pringles that had riddles printed on them with red dye. The Fruit by the Foot with tattoos was also a horrid reminder of what passes for food in school cafeterias. There were times I wanted to stand on a lunch table like Norma Ray, with a sign that said, "Red dye causes seizures in young children." Like anyone would notice as they stuffed their faces will all manner of artificially dyed, high fructose corn syrup sweetened pseudo-food.

Upon my return to public school four years ago, I was delighted to realize that the parents of my students were serious about providing their children with organic, natural food. I've seen kids pull out fresh sushi, edamame and grilled salmon at lunch. Tofu and Tiger Milk were not far behind. These parents "get" nutrition.

And, surprisingly, so does our cafeteria.

Every day, fresh fruit and vegetables are offered, along with whole wheat breads and low fat entrees. The oven fried chicken is among the best I've ever eaten, and I applaud the efforts of the district's mandate to serve nutritious and healthy meals.

Today, I trolled the cafeteria line to see if something looked better than the lunch I had hurriedly packed early that morning. I was craning my neck to see what was available down the line, not wanting to use my teacher-card to "cut". (Or hear, "You cut-ed", as every student I've ever had would proclaim.)

"Hey," I asked the six-year-old food connoisseur in front of me, "what kind of meat is that?" (My adult mind figured the square, breaded offering must be fish because it was a Friday during Lent, but chicken or beef was also a possibility.)

"It's Square Meat," my little friend informed me.  I told him I knew that, but asked again what kind of square meat was it?

He looked at me like I had a problem, and carefully enunciated his answer: 
"It's s-q-u-a-r-e meat, Mrs. O'Brien," he answered patiently.

I think they must be  serving Sponge Bob for lunch.

Side of Ranch dressing and no one will notice.


Dawn said...

Otherwise known as "mystery meat." LOL

Craig Weeks said...

Ask a dumb question ...

Buttercup said...

I'm coming to eat in your lunch room. It sounds really good. Wishes for a great weekend!