Any education reporter knows that the best place to talk to kids freely is the lunchroom. Especially during the two years I immersed myself in schools for a book project, I have eaten a lot of school lunches. At home I buy sides of beef from a farmer I know, who during her cows’ short lives cares for them to the point of practically singing them nursery rhymes, and I pay the Whole Foods or farmers market premium for produce that actually tastes like produce. But when I am reporting I have no problem eating meals in which every item is some form of yellow or beige. According to USA Today, I would be better off at KFC. No doubt. I never feel good after eating school food.
So I wonder what will happen, medically and otherwise, to Mrs. Q, the anonymous teacher who is eating her school’s lunches every day for a year and blogging about it. First off, I hope that if school administrators find out who she is, they don’t give her crap (well, aside from the crap they give her in the cafeteria), because this is a terrific idea. It is more important than Morgan Spurlock’s experiment, because eating at McDonald’s is a choice and for most children eating school lunch is not. Second, I don’t have a death wish for this brave woman, but I would love to see her highlight breakfast too. Just because you fortify a honey bun with enough vitamins to qualify it for the free breakfast program does not make it a remotely good way to start the day. Hungry kids are a captive audience. They don’t need organic kale, but how about Cheerios?