I posted some of my thoughts on the current school lunches discussion last week. Meanwhile, the discussion rages on in the blogging world and I’m finally catching up with it. (I have way too many subscriptions in my RSS reader)
Timing is everything and it appears that Alice Waters just came out with a new book in December highlighting her views: Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea. Esther Sung on Epicurious gives it a glowing review. I’ll add Edible Schoolyard it to the bottom of my very long reading list. At the moment, I think I’m too cynical to handle it, plus I’ve already got a million other books to read. But if you’ve read it, let me know how it is.
Meanwhile, the folks at The Internet Food Association have been going back and forth about whether The Pretentious is the Enemy of the Good (how can we easily and simply achieve our goals?), The Problem of Pretension (what is the goal of all this proposed change, anyway?), and, my favorite, Of Pragmatism, Pretension and $5 School Lunches. Therein Sara Mead seems to compromise the ideas of the other posts and notes that “Any scalable solution to this problem (and to have impact it has to be scalable) must involve a combination of both some of the things Ezra and Waters want (more fresh fruits and vegetables, more intensive and local-level preparation of food) and more creative use of mass produced and prepackaged foods that both are healthy AND appealing to kids.” Right on. I also much appreciate her separating the fact that schools need to provide students with healthy lunches (a la Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs) and the need to educate students about healthy eating. Sara is right: schools are asked to do an awful lot these days and as an educator, I’m not sure most of us are up for teaching cooking classes as well.
At any rate, the debate rages on and I’m still not settled on what I think. There’s a lot of variables: How much will this really cost? Is the food actually going to be local and organic (and is that good or bad)? Who is going to make these decisions–local schools, states, federal government? We’ll see.
Finally, as much as I think something (but I’m still not sure what) should be done about school lunches, is it possible to take it too far and cause children to become overly anxious, as this NY Times article about overly cautious parents suggests?
If all this debate is wearing you out, watch this unofficial “commercial” for Trader Joe’s. It made me smile.