Friday, October 24, 2014

Hot Topics-The "A" List for Foodies

Once again, Food Tank has released its list of recommended reads.  Food Tank, a food think tank, as the name implies, and sponsor of today's Food Day, provokes thinking and doing to reach the goal of sustainable food systems.

Their fall reading list includes 20 Great Books About Food.  With titles appealing to carnivores, bakers, geopoliticos, and dumpster divers (really), the list has breadth and depth.  There is one book I am looking forward to reading, The Market Gardener, about a 1.5 acre high yield farm that feeds 200 families.  It's about growing better, not bigger.  There is a profound double meaning embedded in that phrase.

Take a look, read a book.  Get provoked.

Friday, October 10, 2014

School Daze: Want to Improve School Food? What We Need From Parents

An important stakeholder is often left out of the school lunch improvement movement - parents.  Some organizations do call for parents to get involved by meeting with school nutrition directors and serving on wellness committees. But more than activists, we need parents who can raise children, tweens, and teens:
  • who will try new foods, especially vegetables
  • who don't mind if their food touches
  • who will try whole grains at home, as that is what we, by regulation, must serve in schools
  • who have good manners and can talk quietly while eating, to make the dining experience more enjoyable for all
  • who say please and thank you to the lunch servers who are serving them
  • who are limiting salt consumption at home by not having salt shakers on the table and by choosing no salt added and low or reduced sodium foods, as that is what we, by regulation, must serve in schools
  • who know what the Two Bite Club is
  • who want to include at least one fruit or a veg with every meal
  • who will choose foods other than pizza, nuggets and burgers when they eat out, as that is essentially what eating schools meals is-eating out
  • who will not choose more food than they will eat, to reduce waste and keep costs down so that saved money can be put into other food improvement efforts
Some of these things are just good practices, good life long habits, and common sense. But these are ways you can do your part to improve school food.

Friday, October 3, 2014

School Daze-It Takes A Village to Improve School Food

Here is an online news article about my work with a chef to continue to improve our school meals.

The School Health Initiative Program (SHIP) and Child Nutrition Services (CNS) Partnership's Chef Initiative

Getting our two new hot entrees this year, Zesty Fajita Chicken with Tex Mex Rice and Jamaican Jerk Chicken Bowl, on the menu took a village.  The process is dynamic as input is still being considered and has involved local chefs, student chefs, our consulting chef, cafeteria managers, line cooks, servers, a dietitian (me!), student taste test panels, adult taste testers, school staff input, culinary boot camp participants, food vendors, and more.

If you are local, we will be offering samples of the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Bowl at the Williamsburg Farmers Market Chefs Tent on Saturday morning, October 18, 2014.

We are still working on the 3 P's-production, preparation, and presentation, and with our chef's help - taste!