April 19, 2012
You may have heard about the federal agent monitoring preschool lunches in North Carolina telling a 4-year-old girl that her sack lunch containing a turkey and cheese sandwich, chips, a banana and apple juice wasnít healthy. The agent then made the little girl eat chicken nuggets from the school cafeteria.
I side with the homemade lunch and against the feds. But then, I have a longstanding personal animosity toward lunch monitors of any sort.
We had a lunch monitor at my elementary school. Her job was to stand by the return window and send you back to your seat if you hadnít cleaned your plate.
Wasting food was a crime back then. A felony, I think.
I dreaded Fridays. Fridays were fish sticks and spinach. I blamed my Catholic friends (whom I have since forgiven). They wolfed down fish sticks and spinach on meatless Fridays and were on the playground running and skipping rope while I was still sitting in the cafeteria staring down the lunch monitor. I always hoped that she would look away for a second and I could stuff the dreaded spinach in my pocket and then dispose of it once I was on the playground. And, no, I did not take into consideration that dumping the yucky vegetable in my pocket would create a wet stain the size of Delaware.
My mother began packing my lunch. Bologna sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, milk in a Thermos and a cookie. Once in a blue moon she tucked in a Mallo Cup. The lunch monitor had no say over my lunch from home and Fridays were good.
The Carolina Journal, reporting on the preschool lunch debacle, reported that the decision was made based on a regulation put in place by the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services. That would be the DCDEEDHHS. The group should automatically be disbanded on grounds its name is too long.
By the way, have you checked the lunch menu of your public school lately? Ours features chicken poppers, shrimp poppers, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and turkey gravy bowl. Fruit, when it appears, is most often from a can. Breakfast menus include sausage gravy pizza, sausage biscuit and bacon scramble pizza. I have long said kids that rely on school breakfasts would be better off receiving a box of Cheerios, a gallon of milk and bunch of bananas each week. The older ones could fix breakfast themselves at home. Itís far better nutrition than some sausage bacon gravy concoction and would give kids a sense of independence and self-respect.
A teacher friend found it ironic that her students sometimes came to class with donuts from their free school breakfast and began their morning fitness workout touching their toes with one hand while holding a government donut in the other.
One more question: Do these lunch inspectors make house calls? I hope not.
And, oh yes, MYOL: mind your own lunch.