Fennel, It's What's for Lunch

A Philadelphia area charter school, People for People is one of four schools participating in the “Eatiquette” program.  On the menu: baked ziti with a side of roasted fennel salad and, for dessert, cinnamon apple rice pudding.

The program was designed by a local chef, Marc Vetri, to provide low cost, nutritious lunches to schools. The lunches are served family style, with students passing around large bowls of food and helping themselves to a serving. (Why do I think there will be plenty fennel salad left over?)

Eatiquette is predicated on the use of fresh ingredients prepared on site. Processed meats are prohibited, and schools follow seasonal menu cycles to ensure there’s no need for canned or frozen produce. The Vetri Foundation For Children donates round tables and chairs to replace traditional rectangular tables and bench seating.

At People For People, where about 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, the staff prepares nearly 540 lunches per day. The meals fully comply with federal school lunch regulations and cost about $1.50 to make, excluding labor.

Of course there is a flip-side:

“It’s healthier for us
to eat,” said [7th grader Kealani] Gambrel, noting students now get salads every day. “I
think they should add just a little bit of seasoning to the food.”

But
many of her peers – even while praising some new dishes like curried
chicken – complain that they miss the French fries, pizza, burgers and
cheesesteaks they ate last year.

It seems like the more “health conscious” we become as a nation, the fatter we get. Forty years ago, schools didn’t serve salads, fennel, or barley to students and yet, our kids today are fatter.  In the last 30 years we have “developed” (<---hint) fat-free everything, "diet" food, diet soda, diet pizza and on and on.  We have labels on everything we eat, ignorance is no excuse, and still..people are fatter and fatter.  

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