“National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day” Is Tomorrow

by Bettina Elias Siegel on October 11, 2011

The School Nutrition Association, the association of school food service workers, has proclaimed this week National School Lunch Week and tomorrow, October 12th, is “National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day.”   On that day, parents are encouraged to

to line up with a lunch tray, eat with your child, and talk to the people who serve up the food day in and day out. National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day is about communication—talking to your school and to your child to learn about what’s going well, and how you can work together to make school food even better.

Jamie Oliver is asking parents to go a step further and take a picture of the school lunch and post it on the Food Revolution website.  And school food consultant Kate Adamick has a great (and funny) post on J.O.’s site listing questions to ask yourself when you’re in the cafeteria, including “Are the foods served in my school’s cafeteria aglow with colors not found in nature?,”  “Does the cafeteria smell like a cheap diner?” and “If I melt down the cans from which the food came, will I have enough metal to build a small submarine?”

All of this talk of visiting the cafeteria has made me realize I’ve really fallen down on the job.   Longtime readers may remember my  “Notes from the Field” feature, where I’d pop into my kids’ elementary school lunch room regularly to snap photos and talk with the kids about what they were eating.  I encountered the good (sliced oranges, fresh grapes and broccoli), the bad (Frito Pie and pepperoni pizza, both served with mashed potatoes) and the ugly (spinach steamed beyond recognition.)

frito pie pepperoni with mashed potatoes

Frito Pie and pepperoni pizza, with mashed potatoes

These days, my preteen daughter would die of mortification if I dared show up in her middle school cafeteria, but my son told me yesterday I’m still “allowed” to stop by his elementary lunch room.  I’m going to take him up on the offer and will revive “Notes from the Field” as soon as I can.

In the meantime, let us know in a comment if you visit your own child’s lunchroom — tomorrow or any time — and tell us what you find there.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Momma J. October 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I visited my (three) childrens’ cafeteria today and have a photo of my entree! I felt kind of guilty though because we pack them a lunch and there I was strolling through the hot lunch line. But when I asked one of my kids whether they would have preferred today’s hot lunch instead of what was packed, he said he liked his home packed lunch better! (awe!). My lunch wouldn’t win any awards. It was adequate. But the biggest mystery to me was the wonderful kiwi fruit, sliced in half, unpeeled and not ripe. I struggled with the plastic spoon to retrieve a sliver of the fruit meat, but was left with kiwi juice running down my arm and barely a nimble of fruit on my spoon. I noticed the kids having the same problem. A noble attempt by the lunch staff (it’s kiwi for goodness sake!) but a mystery to me nonetheless.

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Bettina Elias Siegel October 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm

It seems like fresh fruit often is a problem in the lunch rooms. Like they serve fresh pears but they’re much too hard, or the kids are reluctant to eat a whole apple either due to missing teeth or the time it takes. Frustrating! But so glad you visited your lunch room – feel free to post the photo on TLT’s FB page!

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