School Dinner

August 11, 2009

When I started this blog a couple of years ago there was two things I promised myself I would never do:

1) Put a picture of our son on my blog (there are some freaks out there ya know..)

2) Talk about any food politics, or how we should be eating differently

The picture above shows I have just broken rule number 1. That is our son, having just picked some produce from our new vegetable garden.

UPDATE: Picture of our son removed.. It just still makes me uncomfortable..

Lets go and break the second now shall we?

I don’t want to talk about the importance of pesticide/hormone/chemical free food. Nor about how great it is to grow you own food (just found that out this year..). I don’t want to sound like a yuppie arrogant prick.

All I want to say is this. Our son is fast approaching school age. Faster than either myself or my wife care for. School food for the most part is 100% crap. Complete crap. Some single people have made big efforts to change it, and it hasn’t got that far. In England Jamie Oliver (the awesome Jamie Oliver..) tried. He did pretty well, until parents started passing fast food over the school fence to their kids.

The fact is that it takes more than just the odd single person (even if he is a celebrity chef..) to effect a big change. Here in the US the Child Nutrition Act is up for renew this year. This controls the school lunch programs throughout public schools. The Act says what food gets into schools and what food doesn’t. This Act only comes up for renew every four of five years. Now is the time to let congress know that healthy, nutritious food should be standard in schools.

There has been a lot of studies done showing how a child’s attention span is effected by what they eat. Crap goes in, crap attention comes out (along with a host of other problems). Good food goes in, kids are more alert, more attentive at school, and less disruptive. Sounds like a win to me.

Thankfully, the days of having to chain yourself to railings outside of parliament to effect a change are over. Slow Food USA has set up a petition to get real food into schools. All that one has to do is go to the website, stamp in a quick bit of info, and hit GO.

If you are concerned about healthy food in schools, click the bell below, read what the petition is all about, and if it sounds like your kinda thing, sign it!

Time For Lunch

Last time I mention my views on what people should be eating.. But it is for the kids ya know!

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  • nina August 11, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Glad you broke the rules…he is a sweetie!!!!! I am envious of your lovely veggies!!!

  • Bethany(dirtykitchensecrets) August 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Done, Signed. Some rules are meant to be broken. I grew up on a farm for the first part of my life. I consider myself so lucky growing up well nourished. That is every person’s right and especially children.

  • Ashley August 11, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you for this important reminder. Signed.

  • Heather August 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Well it’s nice that you don’t abuse it, but if our blogs can’t be our soapboxes, then what can? This is a great reason to break a rule.

    Your sprog is adorable. You’ll have to keep him on a short leash when he’s a teenager (particularly if he learns how to cook like you)!

  • Peter G August 12, 2009 at 2:10 am

    Well said Matt. And I totally agree with Heather…use the power of your blog to spread the message! Good stuff!

  • Aran August 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

    This couldn’t come at a better time Matt. I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago about how sadden I am about the state of meals in our public school system. Our son is still a couple of years away from attending but that is not even that long if we really need to start making changes. It’d be so simple too… I hope we can make it happen. i am definitely headed over there now!

  • redmenace August 12, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    First, your son is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! And, he sure seems to love those veggies!

    Second, passing fast food over the fence at school. I’m shocked. That is horrible. Why don’t we just stuff them with fatty corn food like cows or ducks? Gross! There was a great article in the NYT by Michael Pollan last week about this. Did you see it?

  • Dana August 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    My memories of school lunches are horrible. I didn’t like that awful food even then. And with vegetarian children, I know for sure they won’t be eating that food. Looks like I will be packing lots of lunches in the future. You baby is impossibly cute.

  • white on rice couple August 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Great write up, Matt and thank you for the reminder about the importance of improving our public school system lunch program. It’s shameful to think of what I was fed in school. Times are changing now and it’s imperative for parents to become involved in positive change.

    Finally, that child of yours is pure adorable loveable happiness joy. How is it possible that such a cute boy lives so far away from us???!!!! FYI- free babysitters are available in LA, promise!

  • Mel @ August 17, 2009 at 4:07 am

    As a teacher, I am always saddened at what kids bring for lunch (some schools don’t have school lunches). I feel it is my responsibility to teach kids how to take care of themselves, each other, and the world and looking at food, the food cycle, food sources, farming etc. is a great way. Thanks for this awesome post.

    p.s. I know how you feel about putting kids’ pix on the web. I avoid it as much as possible.

  • Food Woolf August 18, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    What an incredible photo of your son. I’m sorry about your rule, but I’m glad you broke it. He’s gorgeous. I’m glad you’re talking about school lunches and the need for fresh ideas in the school cafeteria. I can’t wait to sign up.

  • Colloquial Cook August 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Damn I do also remember the moronic moms handing burgers and fries through the railings and explaining it was the only things the kids would eat. Truly horrifying.

  • Hélène August 26, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Just signed it. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I missed your son picture. I’m sure he is a cutie. I have to say that since day 1 my 3 kids are bringing their own lunches to school. My oldest is at university now and still brings her lunch to school. We did not trust the food in schools and decided that they were going to eat real homemade food from our home. They are glad we did it. They said that they feel healthy compare to some of their friends.