The Immediate Need 🍎 for Good School Lunches
Why can't we just agree to feed children healthy food? And more food photo experiments.
So school’s been in session for my kids for a few weeks now, and I think they’ve settled into their routines nicely. There was some news over the past couple of weeks that caught my attention and made me not only think about how my kids but kids all over the United States are handling their school lunches.
One of the bits of news is that a bill for universal free school lunch is a thing in California, but it’s a tough sell in Congress. It’s not just about cost; remember how former first lady Mrs. Michelle Obama tried so hard to get lunch nutritional guidelines improved? I do, and then those guidelines were reversed.
I also found out that while some states want to find funding for school lunches, some funds earmarked for school lunches were part of a scheme to siphon money for personal gain and pleasure. What the hell??
Lunch in school is not just an elementary school kid issue. Good eating habits should be encouraged in every grade. I remember some girls in my high school that would just get an ice cream sandwich for lunch. There were other kids who would sell their lunch tickets for a dollar. Another girl at my high school would do a pizza cheese and bread trade (she’d give you her bread if you’d give her your cheese).
Other countries get it right. Who can bring up school lunch without a comparison to France, where children are taught to eat well from an early age? It’s easy to yearn for a system where kids not only eat what’s good for them but also enjoy it.
Teaching Kids to Break the Rules?
The other day my kids told stories at the dinner table about their brief 3 weeks at their former school in San Francisco. My daughter mentioned a girl in her class with a first name unfortunately shared with a certain tech product oriented around taking voice commands — the other kids loved to shout her first name along with a command. My son was his usual social self and immediately had friends. Both kids said that the days felt very, very long even though for some bizarre reason the school was over by 1:50 PM every day. What fascinated them the most about their new school was lunch.
The lunch staff at this elementary school was very, very strict about junk food. A staff person would circle around the tables, calling out to individuals to put certain items away, and addressing all the kids to eat their “good stuff” first. Breaking this rule would lead to confiscation and disposal of the bad stuff. My son watched as a kid’s potato chips were taken. A cookie was taken. Were the items thrown away or given back later? Not sure. While this circling was happening, my daughter watched a classmate with great stealth eat a baby carrot while being watched, and then alternate to eating chips from a bag held under the table when the staff member would turn around. Bite of approved carrot, bite of forbidden chip. Another kid brought in a couple extra bags of chips or snacks with the express purpose of trading for other unhealthy snacks with classmates.
I understood the earnest care and vigilance that drove the effort to have the kids eat healthy, but it also felt like all they were teaching was a defiance of authority and how to not get caught.
What Do You Think?
What was your experience with food in school? I am so curious about what works and about making it so that all children can concentrate on learning because they aren’t hangry. I can’t do anything productive when I’m hangry, and I’m an adult!
Further Experiments with AI Imaging
A few weeks ago I began experimenting with food photography in DALL*E, but this past week I found another AI Imaging Engine called Midjourney. Here are some of my results with various word combinations and renderings. It’s still all in the uncanny valley of interesting but not quite real. I’ll play more.
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