By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook
I wondered why the meat on the kids' burgers looked a little fuzzy and then I realized it was the bread from the bun that had stuck to the burger.
You can make lots of changes around the edges of a school cafeteria tray--substituting different vegetables, salads and grain dishes using fresh ingredients. But there's not much you can do to change the processed nature of the entree at the center--unless you start cooking everything from scratch.
Otherwise, the beef burgers are bound to be highly processed and frozen, sometimes made with added soy protein to bulk them up. The whole wheat bun will never be as soft and delicious as the bun on a McDonald's burger. It's 51 percent whole grain and that's the future of baked goods in schools. If the USDA has its way, soon everything with be "whole grain-rich." Healthier, maybe, but not to kids' liking.
I ate this meal and had a bit of a knot in my stomach for the rest of the day. But I think that's just because I don't eat starchy carbs anymore. The cheeseburger wasn't especially flavorful. And the bun, as I said, was a bit grainy.
But I did love these sweet potatoes. They were perfectly cooked and you didn't need to do anything to them. They were sweet and delicious. You could tell the kids wanted to eat them. Nearly all of them took at least a nibble. But that's as far as they got. Most of it went into the trash. What a tragedy.
Here you see one boy inspecting his sweet potato, contemplating the most advantageous approach to eating it. He didn't get very far.
For many kids, this was the first order of business--the fruit cup. In this case, canned peaches.
8 months ago