Chip Butty Blues

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British students are rebelling at the new school cafeteria menu pushed by TV chef Jamie Oliver, who convinced the government to replace their high-fat, high-salt, deep-fried favorites with items such as baked potatoes and low-fat pizza. (Soda and candy also are banned.) "No matter how healthy it is, if kids don't like it they're not going to eat it," says Julie Critchlow, mother of a student at a Rotherham high school. Critchlow and another mother made the news last month by hawking hamburgers, sandwiches, and fries to kids at the school, slipping the contraband items through the fence. Although negative publicity led them to abandon their business, students who don't like the new cafeteria offerings can still bring bagged lunches or go home to eat, although they are no longer allowed to go off campus for fast food.

How long before these loopholes are closed? Once school officials assume the responsibility for monitoring what kids eat as part of the war on obesity, it's unlikely they will simply shrug at students' resistance and say, "Well, we tried." Crusaders like Oliver will insist they do more; he already has said bagged lunches should be banned. This is one danger of seemingly benign efforts such as the agreements by U.S. soft drink and food companies to change what they sell in public schools. Once it becomes clear such efforts have not made a noticeable difference, we will see proposals for measures, such as "fast-food-free zones," that extend beyond school grounds, impinge on parental authority, and restrict the freedom of adults.

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  1. Emeril Lagasse should counter in the United States with a nationwide effort to get more pork fat into school lunches. Tasty. Yessir, gimme some jambalaya and some gumbo as a side.

  2. Pro Libertate,

    Better yet: engage The Two Fat Ladies to wage their own counter-campaign: “More Lard in Lunches”!

  3. Since when is protecting children from the predations of fast food corporations a bad thing?

  4. British students are rebelling at the new school cafeteria menu pushed by TV chef Jamie Oliver, who convinced the government to replace their high-fat, high-salt, deep-fried favorites with items such as baked potatoes and low-fat pizza. (Soda and candy also are banned.)

    Well of course they’re rebelling. My young child will rebel if I don’t let her have candy as well. So what?

    Adults and especially those who are entrusted to the care and education of children are supposed to make decisions that are in the best interests of the kids, even if the children don’t understand it at the time.

  5. Dan T. Since parents are responsible for what their kids eat. DUH!

  6. So school officials are responsible enough to decide what is best for children. Kinda like “Getting the correct answer to a math problem isn’t important. It’s that they understand the process.”

  7. Predation? Huh? Just for the record, I’m healthy, in good shape, was that way as a kid, and I ate ridiculous amounts of fast food, and, worse yet, Southern-fried everything until my twenties. Even now, I eat that kind of nonsense a few times a month (heck, I made green beans last night with bacon fat). Strange that I survived to forty. Must be a genetic anomaly.

    smacky,

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but we’re down to one Fat Lady. And Julia Child is no more, too. Paul Prudhomme is available if you feel that Emeril’s “Bam!” would be too stressful for our younglings.

  8. Oh, jesus, stop feeding the trolls, folks. Dan’s just trying to get a rise out of you. He doesn’t really think, he just says the thing that is most likely to garner a bunch of heated responses. This is Dan’s purpose on these comment boards. Just think, what sentiment is most likely to get a libertarian’s blood pressure up…and Dan will most likely make said comment.

  9. “we will see proposals for measures, such as “fast-food-free zones,” that extend beyond school grounds, impinge on parental authority, and restrict the freedom of adults”

    A New York City Council member has already proposed using zoning laws to restrict national fast-food chains in low-income neighborhoods.

    Because the last thing poor people need is cheap food.

    Of course, locally owned pizzerias would be exempt. Because it’s okay to get obese on pizza, just not on KFC or Taco Bell.

  10. Schools decide what to put on their cafeteria menus all the time. The complaint here is that they allow nutritional value to enter their thinking?

    Seriously, that’s the problem?

  11. You know, I used to be worried about the state of public schools in this country. However, now that I send my kids to private school I’m glad the state is indoctrinating so many future adults as rule obeyers. When my kids are the bosses it will make their employees much more docile and managable.

  12. Oh, jesus, stop feeding the trolls, folks. Dan’s just trying to get a rise out of you. He doesn’t really think, he just says the thing that is most likely to garner a bunch of heated responses.

    Hear Hear!

    Anyone who labels voluntary purchasing and eating of fast food as “predation” is not to be taken seriously. Not even a little. Ever.

  13. I say feed the kids gruel. Thin gruel. And beat them twice a day, whether they behave or not. And teach them Latin. Water should be made freely available, however. From the communal garden hose.

    joe, I think that remark might involve a little hyperbole. It’s not like nutrition isn’t a consideration or hasn’t been one. We had all sorts of nutritious, if nasty, food options when I was a wee lad. The high school menu had some less nutritious options, but we’re talking pizza and ice cream desserts, not Twinkies and beer as a main course.

  14. Seriously, that’s the problem?

    Come on, joe. Don’t be so naive. The problem isn’t that the school decided to make their menu options more nutritious / healthy. The problem is this:

    Crusaders like Oliver will insist they do more; he already has said bagged lunches should be banned

    This needs to be repeated because it is so fucking insance….these people believe bagged lunches should be banned. You don’t see a problem in a school banning bagged lunches and forcing other peoples children to eat only what the school deems appropriate — even if it goes against the parent’s decision?? You don’t see a problem with allowing a kid to go home to eat but not allowing that kid to go and buy fast food if they want it??

    You really don’t think it’s problematic for the school to be asserting that kind/much control over parent’s and their children??

    If I were a parent I would pull my kid from any school that tried to ban me from providing my own child the lunch that *I* find appropriate — or from letting my kid go to get fast food once in a while (with my blessings — once in a while won’t kill anyone) because they think they know better.

  15. Pro Lib,

    Why does the school owe it to the students to provide them with less healthy choices?

  16. “I say feed the kids gruel. Thin gruel. And beat them twice a day, whether they behave or not. And teach them Latin. Water should be made freely available, however. From the communal garden hose.”

    Now I won’t be able to get the Monty Python “We Were Poor” skit out of my head for the rest of the day.

  17. Less healthy than what? Less healthy than the kids refusing to eat?

  18. Chicago Tom,

    I would object to banning bagged lunches, or setting nutrition rules for bagged lunches, as well.

    But there is absolutely zero reason to use the fact that this Oliver fellow is recommending that to criticize a school which is not, in fact, doing any such thing, and is merely deciding what it wants to sell.

    Schools have made decisions about what they choose to sell in their cafeteria since they were invented, without banning what parents can pack in bagged lunches. Now we’re supposed to hate on this one school, and accuse them of secretly plotting to ban bagged lunches, because they choose not to sell certain foods?

    Let’s not devolve into shrieking hysterics just yet.

  19. Huh. Speaking of school menus, check out this article: “Touch, Eat, ‘n’ Tell”.

  20. It is wrong for a school to ban students from bringing food of their choosing. Easy enough. If you are a parent and you want to send your child to school with the crap you grew up to 40 years old eating then that is your choice. However, it is and should be the school’s responsibility to incorporate current nutritional information into school menu decisions. The food that is provided in the captive market of a school should be primarily influienced by the nutritional needs of the children and nothing else. If the kids don’t want to eat it and their parents send them to school with the lunch of their choosing then so be it but lets not beat up on school admin. for attempting to provide healthy food as an option.

  21. “I would object to banning bagged lunches, or setting nutrition rules for bagged lunches, as well.”

    Well, you’re just a right git, aren’t you?!

  22. Students aren’t allowed to pack loaded guns with them to school. No one seems to have a problem with that.

    So is there really that much of a difference in restricting students from packing lunches which are equally dangerous? That inevitably lead to life-threatening medical conditions down the road?

  23. I just realized something. Dan T. is a fraud. We have a fake troll. Okay, fess up, which one of you is doing this? Jennifer would be a good candidate, but I find her Dan-based ire convincing.

  24. joe,

    Your points are well taken (to at least one of us). Obviously the school must make some choice about what food to offer, and it’s hardly evil to consider the latest nutritional information in making that decision.

    At the same time, if the kids end up bringing unhealthy food from home or buying it from (black market?) vendors, it’s just as obvious that nothing has been accomplished. Therefore, considering what kids are willing to eat and what the actual effect of a menu change are rather than just the desired effect is equally relevant, something that top-down thinkers often ignore.

    viral,

    You seem to be saying that it doesn’t matter what the end result is, as long as school administration can appear to have washed its hands of anything seemingly bad?

  25. Let’s not devolve into shrieking hysterics just yet.

    joe, I agree with you about the school choosing it’s menu 100% — but you ignored my second point about the fact that the school currently bans kids from going out to buy fast food — but not to go home. That to me is objectionable as well. (It would be one thing if they didn’t let kids leave for lunch at all for the sake of protecting the kids — but to say you can go home for lunch but you can’t go buy lunch at McD’s seems quite unreasonable)

    I don’t think its “shreiking hysterically” to notice that since the school already is making rules about where you can go if you do leave for lunch, that a logical next step, if they don’t see the results they are looking for, would be to not allow unhealthy foods to be eaten by the students during school hours.

    You can choose to be naive if you wish but I don’t think its hysterical to agree with the sentiment :
    it’s unlikely they will simply shrug at students’ resistance and say, “Well, we tried.”

  26. students who don’t like the new cafeteria offerings can still bring bagged lunches or go home to eat, although they are no longer allowed to go off campus for fast food.

    And just how is the school going to know if they go home or to Mickey Ds?

    Obviously, the only solution is to ban children from bringing food from home or going off campus, in other words, prohibit them from eating anything except what the State provides.

    And if the State can bar them from eating at home or at a restaurant during school hours, why can’t it ban them during the rest of the day? Fast food is just as Bad for the Children ™ at 5:00 as it is at noon, after all.

  27. How does it work that you can allow kids to go home to eat, but disallow them to go off campus for fast food? Are the kids wearing tracking devices?

  28. By the way, the first post on the matter was not done by me (check the funny email address), nor was the one about loaded guns.

    I’ve inspired a parody poster – the ultimate compliment on the internet!

  29. I would have no problem with a school electing not to serve certain foods in their cafeterias – although I remember with horror the ‘healthy’ choices we were offered in my school days – if it weren’t COMPULSORY to send the kids to those schools.

    Assuming Dan T. is not a troll, I am hearby declaring him incompetent to make decisions for himself and am assuming the status of his legal guardian. No one may buy anything from him or sell anything to him without my permission. Of course, there will be the matter of my trustee’s fees….

  30. I would have no problem with a school electing not to serve certain foods in their cafeterias – although I remember with horror the ‘healthy’ choices we were offered in my school days – if it weren’t COMPULSORY to send the kids to those schools.

    It’s not compulsory to send kids to public schools. Parents can home-school them or send them to private schools.

  31. It is important not to lose sight of who is responsible for what. A free market hinges on the fact that consumers are responsible for their purchases. This means that if you choose to buy nutritionally poor food and you get fat and sick then you are responsible for that outcome. The state should not be resposible for forcing you to make the right choice and therefore it should not restrict your options.
    However, this does not mean that some practices are not actually bad for you. Those that are responsible for providing food in schools should be held accountable for the food that they provide. That food should be nutritional, economical, and sustainable.
    We should not force students to eat it and whether they go home or go to a fast food resturant is between them and their parents.

    We cannot allow our genuine concern over regulation force us into a position of defending or denying the problems of fast and industrial food. The goal we should strive for is an educated populace that can weigh the risks and benefits of their consumer choices. This will not occurr if we refuse to recognize that some choices have negative consequenses.

  32. What if your “home” is a diner? When I was a freshman in HS, my family opened a diner in our town. I never got anything from there for lunch. But, after I graduated and went to college, my sisters did start having my bring them lunch. This lunch came from the diner. My mother did have some rules, my sisters had order the healthy special most of the time. I think she even extended that rule to other kids who ordered from her. Even so, the school tried to ban her, but failed miserably. But, seriously, how does a school ban what kids can and cannot do once they leave campus?

    Nick

  33. Joe:
    Perhaps we should go on to lesson two so you can be as ignorant and shallow as me.
    “The Wedge Principle”
    1. Change menu and all choices of beverage and entrees to what the bueracrats want not the children, because they cannot be trusted.
    2. Children refuse to eat bueracrats food and bring in their own.
    3. Ban children from bringing in their own food and/or set limits on what can be included in lunches, because they cannot be trusted.
    4. Ban children from leaving school grounds to escape foods because they cannot be trusted.
    5. Ban any competive sports and activities in which children’s might be emotionally or physically injured (this is actually number one but I thought of it too late)because they cannot be trusted.
    6. Ban parents from feeding children at all because they cannot be trusted.
    7. Ban parents, well because they cannot be trusted.
    So Joe do you understand the Wedge Principle now Somehow I am sure we will have to go over it again.
    Besides what ever happened to feeding kids food that is good that they like.

  34. Greasy chip butty! Woo! Go Blades!

  35. fyodor,

    I am not saying that the school needs to just cover their ass but rather that they should be providing the most nutritious lunch possible. If the kids don’t want to eat it and their parents permit them to bring or buy another option then that is fine but the school should set the standard since they should have no competing interests other than the welfare of their students.

  36. Wanting to protect our children hardly makes me a troll. And if they need to have their diets monitored at home as well, so be it. Junk food is tantamount to child abuse.

    A little governmental intrusion is a small price to pay for the welfare of the children.

  37. Are the kids wearing tracking devices?

    Nice going, Russ. Give the nannies another idea, whydontcha?!

  38. And I support stealing babies from Guatemala in order to harvest their organs.

  39. The school certainly should have the right to choose what kind of food to offer their students, it’s their cafeteria and somone has to pick the menu. They should not have the right to tell children what to eat, there is a difference. Also, kids aren’t mindless automatons, any kid with a little moxie will figure out how to get the food he wants.

  40. “A little governmental intrusion is a small price to pay for the welfare of the children.”

    Since we seem to be heading for reductio ad absurdum:

    1) It is wrong for children to be in homes infested with insects, therefore we must have government inspections of all homes to ensure they are free of insects.
    2) It is wrong for children to play dangerously, therefore we must have goverment supervised play.
    3) Re 1) above, Pesticides are also dangerous for children, therefore all homes must be government inspected to ensure their are no pesticides.
    4) Children can hurt themselves with knives and forks, therefore all knives and forks must be removed from homes. [I’m assuming Dan T.’s people have already removed all guns.]
    5) It is wrong for children to watch violent or unrealistic TV programs, therefore all TV programs must be censored to remove violent and unrealistic situations. This includes purple dinosaurs and teletubbies.
    6) Children have choked due to taking too large bites, therefore all food must be pureed before serving.
    7) Children have fallen down staircases, therefore all homes must be on one level.
    8) Don’t even think about having a swimming pool or a bathtub. Sponge baths only.
    9) Animals carry fleas and disease, therefore all dogs, cats, ponies, hamsters, goldfish (fish poop in the water), birds (avian psittacosis), etc are banned.

    THIS IS ONLY A PARTIAL LIST. WE ARE WORKING ON THE REST OF IT. PARENTS WHO ENDANDGER THEIR CHILDREN ARE WARNED THAT “HAPPINESS” IS NO EXCUSE.

  41. Next thing you know, the Nanny State will use her schools to give kids assignments to complete and will not allow them to substitute assignments of their own choosing. And she’ll give tests and demand correct answers!

    What right does the State have to insist that 2+2=4 when kids should be free to think otherwise? Why do professional educators think they know more than young children?

  42. I have a hard time believing this is from the country who’s national foods include deep fried fish and chips, black pudding and toad-in-a-hole. What a shame.

  43. If we?re serious about designing a state which is in the best interests of the children, I have a simple solution.

    Let?s remove all members of the population over age 25 who have not yet reproduced. Up to 25 and the person is still needed for military and entertainment purposes, but after that they get a bus ticket to Mexico or Canada.

    Since a majority of the people who prey on and/or exploit children are themselves childless we?ve done a nice bit of risk reduction.

    It will remove a large proportion of ugly women and men.

    All the nanny staters who?s ranks are actually made up of childless people (who else has time to worry about most of their issues) can spread their poison elsewhere.

    The only loss I foresee would be in the number of internet posters.

  44. viral,

    I see your point up to a point. But the logical extension of your argument would be to serve the most nutritious food possible without any regard to whether the children are likely to eat it. Like say, seaweed and wheatgrass? 🙂 I fully agree it only makes sense to consider nutrition, but NOT to the exculsion of considering whether the children will eat it. In a nutshell, both matter.

  45. Realist, I think my girl’s public school’s heavy-handed authoratarianism (the uniform police) is breeding a new generation of rebels. They might not be very well educated, but at least they come out hating the Man.

  46. James, the smart and/or anti-social ones might, but the average will head my children’s beck and call.

    bwahahaha!

  47. Dan T.,

    In essence, what you’re saying is that, because the government has authority X, we have no basis to criticize it for trying to assert authority Y, even though X and Y have virtually nothing in common.

    Dan, you’re not this vapid in real life, are you?

  48. You should see the number of parents calling the local comment line saying “just shut up and follow the rules”. The’re playing right into our hands, aren’t they?

  49. Is there really such a thing as choice? When our children are bombarded on a daily basis by junk food advertising, do they really have any other recourse but to eat junk food? I think not.

    The junk food industry is just as manipulative and predatory as big tobacco, and should be regulated/litigated as such. Ding Dongs should be kept behind the counter with the cigarettes. Store owners who pedal this garbage to children should be prosecuted.

    This may seem a little draconian on the surface, but as a wise man once said, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

  50. Dan T.

    So, you don’t trust big companies – and I’m not advocating that you should – and you don’t trust people to make their own choices, but you trust government.

    Yeah. I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Cash and small, unmarked bills only.

  51. Dan T.,

    In essence, what you’re saying is that, because the government has authority X, we have no basis to criticize it for trying to assert authority Y, even though X and Y have virtually nothing in common.

    Dan, you’re not this vapid in real life, are you?

    I must confess: I’m not sure if this is a response to one of my actual posts, or one of the parodys’…

  52. The food that is provided in the captive market of a school should be primarily influienced by the nutritional needs of the children and nothing else.

    • The schools aren’t making these decisions, they are following government one-size-fits-all mandates.
    • If the government forces kids to eat nutritious foods that taste like crap it will have two consequences:
      1. The intended consequence that kids will eat one nutritious meal per day while in school.
      2. The unintended consequence that kids will learn, for a lifetime, that nutritious food tastes like crap.
  53. “So, you don’t trust big companies – and I’m not advocating that you should – and you don’t trust people to make their own choices, but you trust government.”

    See, it’s the damn KIDS I don’t trust! Little brats, buying ding-ding’s or twinkies even when they’re not supposed to. To prevent this kind of outrage, let’s just ban all the kids. If there are no kids in America, none of them can ever be preyed upon by heartless corporations or have their nutritional needs ignored by neglectful parents.

  54. Dan T:

    Your recent comments have convinced me that what Jennifer has been saying is true, you don’t really believe what you say, you’re just rattling our libertarian cages.

  55. So, you don’t trust big companies – and I’m not advocating that you should – and you don’t trust people to make their own choices, but you trust government.

    But it’s for the children!

  56. I support anything which’ll get a rise out of people. Depending on who’s reading this, abortion should be either illegal or mandatory.

  57. Ah, Jennifer, I see your plan. Next thread the real Dan T. attempts to troll upon, everyone will begin posting in his name. Sort of the Spartacus deal in reverse. Excellent idea.

    However, I no longer believe that the real Dan T. was ever real at all. I think he’s really thoreau 🙂 Or linguist. Where has she been? Curiouser and curiouser.

  58. No, I’m Dan T.!

  59. Ah, Jennifer, I see your plan. Next thread the real Dan T. attempts to troll upon, everyone will begin posting in his name. Sort of the Spartacus deal in reverse. Excellent idea.

    Maybe this has already happened. Extensively. After a while, who can tell which posts are those of the real Dan T., and which are of impersonators? Is there a real Dan T.? And is this all actually just a script for a new movie, starring Jim Carrey in a serious role?

  60. I’m confused.

  61. I say feed the kids gruel. Thin gruel. And beat them twice a day, whether they behave or not. And teach them Latin. Water should be made freely available, however. From the communal garden hose.

    Reminds me of an old Charlie Callas bit (imagine the following delivered in heavy Cockney accents):

    Oliver: Please sir, I want some more…

    Headmaster: MOOOOORE! YOU WANT MOOOOOOOORE?!? YOU KNOW YOU GET A BEATING IF YOU ASK FOR MOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE! DO YOU LIKE THE FOOD THAT BLOODY MUCH?!?

    Oliver: No sir, I like the beatings…

  62. Well, yes, I suppose that’s one result of raising kids like English public school students. I find the idea of raising kids like Fremen oddly appealing though. Oppression for greater strength later on. I say that, of course, as an adult.

  63. Pirate Jo:

    Can I count on your donation to the kill-the-children fund?

  64. Whoever is doing the fake Dan T. posts is spot-on and funny as hell.

  65. Aresen:

    It’s called The Lt. Calley Kill the Children Foundation, established in 1970 I believe.

  66. You mean there IS a difference between the real Dan T. and his parodies? How does anyone tell the difference?

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