Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We're supposed to be shocked by this

Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches

This kind of news story makes me want to get back onto my rant about class warfare.

Remember back when the Obamas had just moved to Washington, and the media was reporting on the school they had chosen for their kids? For several nights in a row, that school's lunch menu was featured on the news. Of course, it didn't contain any of this kind of meat. It was all organic, free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, delicious and inviting. And kids whose parents are nutrition geeks (like me) don't eat this kind of meat either, because we send healthy food in their lunches and don't let them eat the school cafeteria food. But that's also based on the reality that we can afford to buy healthy food and have time to make lunches in the morning. For those who don't? The lunch (and sometimes breakfast) served at school is often billed as "the only healthy meal these kids might get all day." This is certainly the way it was viewed at the alternative school when I taught there. When I heard people say this I would think to myself "what do you mean by 'healthy'?"

And that's where it's hard to draw the line and choose your battles. It's true that the food provided by government programs will prevent you from starving. But that's about all you can say for it. And you know this isn't going to change anytime soon, because the people who are on the receiving end of this kind of treatment are the very people who have no voice, are less likely to be educated on nutrition, and often have much bigger problems to deal with than this. And that's how class warfare works, and what perpetuates the cycle.

More on class warfare:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
and This


  1. I've always thought wouldn't it be cheaper for government to raise the minimum wage than pay for all these school lunches? The minimum wage here is $9.50/hour and working full-time it would take half my pay to make rent if I weren't living with someone. That's for a one bedroom. I just don't know how anyone could live with less money than that. No wonder kids need free lunches.
    I went to Mississippi on a week-long volunteer trip, visited a grade school and I did not want to eat most of what the kids were eating.

  2. Anonymous12/10/2009

    It was amazing to me the kind of stuff they served the kids at the school where I did my internship. And there was a lot of talk about how healthy it was and how it followed the pyramid. As if that's all there is to being healthy. If the kids didn't want the main entree of the day they could have chili fries or nachos instead - I'm not even joking. And a lot of kids would have requested the fruit plate they offered if it hadn't been nothing but underripe melon with a few mushy grapes thrown in, all kept in a fridge so cold that it was half-frozen when you got it.