Veggie Tale

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A front-page exposé in yesterday's New York Times reveals that schools across America are serving students canned and frozen vegetables. The authors, reporter Elizabeth Becker and food writer Marian Burros, seem confident that kids would eat more-balanced diets if only these "tasteless" side dishes were replaced with fresh, flavorful produce. But while adult palates might appreciate steamed rapini tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and crushed red pepper, the average 8-year-old does not. If anything, he prefers his vegetables tasteless, which is not to say that he particularly likes them either way. This is a perennial challenge for parents trying to make sure their children get adequate nutrition, and it is not likely to be solved by the new federal guidelines in which Becker and Burros put their hope.

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  1. Apparently it’s a problem to actually supply your kid with his/her own lunch before they leave the house.

  2. To the anonymous poster #3 – you’re asking that parents actually DO something for themselves, instead of asking the government or the school board to do it for them. If you had experience in such matters, you would know that you are asking way too much.

  3. School lunch was the only decent meal i got while growing up. In fact most of the people at my high school in Virginia thought the lunch was good.

  4. As far as I’ve read, canned and frozen veggies have approximately the same nutritional value as fresh. And as Jim pointed out above, it’s also less expensive and easy to transport and store. And in my opinion, frozen veggies taste almost as good as fresh. I’m not sure what the big problem is.

  5. Becker and Burro want to spend more taxes because they think the food could taste better? When I was growing we had meat and veggies and not much in the way of herbs and spices beyond salt, pepper and ketchup. I suppose my mother should have sentenced to community service for what was in her recipe box.

  6. Becker and Burros may have a bit of a point. I didn’t touch school lunches from kindergarten to senior year in High School mainly because what the scary old ladies in the hair nets served was essentialy crap. Then again, if you think your school property tax levy is high now, just wait until they start including goat-cheese, tofu, and pesto pizza with a side of couscous on the daily lunch menu.

  7. I am inclined to agree that the food served in lunchrooms is often crap. However it does fit my observations that kids don’t particularly like strong tasting foods. The real problem, as stated by Mark S., is the fresh produce costs more money because it has to be delivered daily and can’t be warehoused.

  8. Maybe the reason the food tastes bad isn’t because the veggies are frozen or canned, maybe it’s because the schools have lousy cooks. If only we could get gourmet chefs like Isaac Hayes, I’m sure the children would gladly eat the nutritious food and in just the right portions, too. And they would totally lose the urge to eat candy and chips, too.

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