Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lunch Bunch

I was thinking last night after I blogged about my childhood lunches.  This isn't exactly a subject worth dwelling on, but I did stop and think about it for a bit.  I was surprised at how little my lunches have changed over the years, yet I was really surprised to find what passes for lunch these days in public schools.  Not to be all "golden days" on you, but I don't think lunches are headed in the right direction.

As I posted yesterday, my lunches were always homemade.  I never ate hot lunch.  There was always a whole sandwich (90% peanut butter and jelly, the rare cheese or turkey), some kind of crunchy food--usually crackers or Doritos, and a sweet.  I took a lunchpail through grade school and used brown lunch bags through high school.  My lunches weren't "healthy" by any means, but they were filling.  I've never had a weight problem, so I guess my lunches couldn't have been too bad, right?

When I was in high school, the district contracted with Pizza Hut to bring in pizzas for lunches each day.  Students lined up in rows for the pizza instead of the other options.  I certainly enjoy pizza, but I never did buy any of that crappy lukewarm stuff.  I'm told that the pizza idea is in grade schools now.  Having watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, I saw kids drinking huge bottles of sugary chocolate and strawberry milk every day, sometimes twice a day.  The quality of food is appalling, too.  Fake chicken nuggets, fake meat in sandwiches, *shudder.*

What happened to the little half-pints of milk?  Mom sent me with a quarter on Fridays so I could get chocolate milk in grade school.  Chocolate milk was only set out on Fridays, not every day.  Strawberry milk?  Are you kidding me?  And 20oz containers!?  A half-pint of 2% white or 2% chocolate, that was it.  And we survived.

But now I'm a big person--whether I like it or not. When I go home for lunch every day, I either make a sandwich or reheat leftovers.  Rare is the lunch out on the town.  I could take lunch with me to work, but being able to go home and unwind for forty minutes really saves my sanity sometimes, so I suffer the 7-minute drive.  I still love PB&J, enjoy the special treats like string cheese and homemade cookies, and keep a stash of crackers that I try to squeeze out until Friday.

I miss those little half-pints of sticky chocolate milk...

3 comments:

MissKris said...

Being a veteran lunch lady of several years for the Portland schools, I agree 100% on what you say here. Lunches ARE appalling. And the amount of obese kids is staggering. We even had the fresh fruit/salad/veggie/bread bar that most kids avoided like the plague. And what was REALLY horrific is the fact we weren't allowed to give the kids 'seconds' no matter how hungry they still were. We would be fired if we were caught. Oh well. My co-worker and I fed them anyway...we figured our jobs weren't worth much anyway...slave labor for minimum wage, basically, plus all the politics we had to put up with. There are schools in Portland where 100% of the kids are on the Free Lunch program. For many kids, school lunches were probably their main - if not the only - meal of the day. We figured we were moms first...no hungry child was ever turned away. BTW, while I lived in my hometown we went home for lunch every day...school was only a couple of blocks away. We had an entire hour so we'd use the first half for lunch, then run back for the second half hour, which was RECESS!!!

Skunk said...

I think you need to check out this blog, then...
http://fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/

Just adds fuel to your fire, but I think it's worth it!

Skunk said...

In connection with my previous post... go back to Older Posts from the beginning of January 2010. Since the school year is now over, she has stopped eating the school lunches and is blogging about other related things. Still interesting, but now my original reason why I sent the link.