Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's for Lunch: Taco Salad

By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook

I bicycled the 3.25 miles to my daughter's elementary school yesterday. The thermometer read 35 degrees. Most of that trip is uphill getting to the school from our house. So I was a bit ravenous by the time I arrived in the cafeteria.

This "taco salad" looked awfully good to me. Tasted good, too.

Okay, so the meat is highly processed turkey, probably with some soy protein mixed in. It arrived frozen. And the "baked whole grain tortilla shells" Chartwells advertised on its menu site are nothing more than those "scoops" you see in the corn chip aisle in the supermarket.

But I liked some of the touches. For instance, the lettuce confetti at the bottom of the heap, though it is already prepared and bagged for convenience, got a splash of lemon juice from our lunch ladies to boost the flavor. Underneath the shredded cheese is a "southwest peach salsa" that was pretty tasty also.

And in the upper-left hand corner is something I have not seen before: a dessert crumble made with canned pear and peaches and frozen blueberries also made in the local kitchen. It wasn't terribly sugary. I think it hit a lot of positive notes.

Is this a good way to deliver those anti-oxidants in the blueberries? Or should the schools not be tempting kids at all with dessert?

The plastic cup contains ranch dressing, to be drizzled over the taco salad. I spent my lunch hour
spooning the salad into the corn scoops individually, adding a little dollop of dressing. I noticed some of the kids doing the same. What fun.

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