You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘food’ tag.

Now that there is plenty of tennis to enjoy on television, it’s the time to tuck into strawberries and cream.

Last week, I bought a punnet of strawberries at our local Tesco (£2 for 400g). I recommend these wholeheartedly. I haven’t tasted such a sweet, flavoursome strawberry in many years.

My English readers should look for the punnet with a label that reads ‘Kentish Supersweet Strawberries’ containing the variety Malling™ Centenary. (Malling is a rural district of Kent.) I put the variety in bold, because I tried another ‘Kentish Supersweet’ variety a few days later, and it was not very good.

Paul Mansfield is the grower. Well done, Mr Mansfield. You made our Pimm’s even more delightful.

Those who favour another option for their berries might want to add a dash of balsamic vinegar and finely sliced basil leaves, both of which are a perfect complement to strawberries. We had a fruit salad with those ingredients 18 years ago in Cannes at La Potinière. The restaurateur mixed the berries and basil with a tablespoon of light olive oil, a few finely sliced black olives, a scant teaspoon of sugar and cracked black pepper on top. He served it in a parfait glass with a long spoon. It sounds like an improbable combination, but it was excellent.

Here is Tesco’s recommendation, along similar lines:

Incidentally, based on customer feedback, The Grocer has named Tesco Britain’s Favourite Supermarket for 2017:

No doubt that is partly because Tesco are committed to reducing food waste and giving food to charity.

They also think of urban dwellers who would like to grow their own produce:

The accompanying article says, in part:

Now a new unique and super-productive indoor tomato plant is being launched by Tesco aimed at helping people living in urban areas without gardens.

The mini tomato plant has been naturally developed over the last five years by produce experts who have bred together varieties to come up with one that is small, compact and most importantly very productive.

By following the care instructions the small, but powerful plants can each produce up to 150 delicious tomatoes with minimal fuss.

A great idea. It looks as if the plants are small enough to be able to take home on public transport with minimal fuss, too. Perfect for summer.

This is not a plug for Tesco, but I will admit to shopping there regularly for nearly 30 years.

Cannes is as lovely as ever.

Some of my readers cannot see the attraction, but it all depends on when one sees this jewel of the Mediterranean.

There is a brief window between the end of the annual film festival in May and the beginning of the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June when one can experience the city in near normality. Of course, smaller conferences and another international festival — namely the music industry’s MIDEM — take place at that time, but these do not normally impinge as much on city life as the others do.

I’ll have more to write in the coming days, so this is a summary of impressions that my better half SpouseMouse and I noted this year.

Weather

The weather was perfect from start to finish. It was too hot for SpouseMouse during the second week, but we had wall-to-wall sunshine and warm temps.

By contrast, in 2015, we had some rollicking thunderstorms, including one around 6:30 a.m., which brought everyone in our hotel down to breakfast by 7:00 a.m.

Italians

We were surprised at the number of Italian visitors, given that most French people go to Italy for an inexpensive weekend break or holiday.

Femininity and masculinity maintained

Speaking of Italians, they and the French are firmly maintaining male and female roles. Women are feminine and men are masculine.

This was noticeably less common with visitors from northern Europe and North America.

New restaurants

There were a number of new restaurants that opened near the Marché Gambetta near the railway station. I will write about these in future posts.

These are convenient for people staying (and living) in that area. It also means that diners can readily avoid the street hawkers and musicians who panhandle at night near the bigger seafood restaurants along Rue Félix Faure in the centre of town.

Food prices

Restaurant menu prices haven’t gone up much, if at all, since our last visit in 2015, which is good news.

However, the prices of French food and vegetables at Marché Forville in Le Suquet have increased markedly. I can appreciate French talk radio listeners who ring up RMC to say that they do without home-grown produce, buy less of it or plump for Spanish fruit and vegetables which are much less expensive.

French produce is definitely cheaper at the supermarket than at the market stall.

Meat, whether at a butcher’s or the supermarket, is incredibly expensive, probably 50% higher than in the UK.

Shopping

Clothing prices are about the same as in 2015.

One can still find terrific bargains in natural fabrics for men and women at Monoprix and in Rue Meynadier, both of which attract Cannes residents as well as tourists.

Fun Mod’ in Rue Meynadier still has durable, traditional espadrilles in all adult sizes and colours for €6 a pair. You can’t get a better bargain.

Service

Service continues to improve in restaurants, both in terms of getting plates to the table and communication. We can speak French reasonably well, but many wait staff spoke in English initially to be helpful.

Cleanliness

Cannes is a smooth running ship in terms of hygiene.

We did not see any litter. (There are fines of €180 if the authorities see someone littering.)

I saw only one small bit of graffiti — in the upmarket Rue d’Antibes.

The dustmen went around at least daily — twice a day on Tuesdays and Fridays — to collect trash and recycling. There was a man who rode a machine that swept and cleansed the sidewalks of Rue d’Antibes every afternoon.

The majority of dog owners — of which there were plenty — were very serious about cleaning up after their pets, so there was very little canine detritus.

Conclusion

We had a lovely time. For once, we were able to stay for two weeks. The hotel was perfect. We had a room with a sea view and a spacious terrace. The hotel beach was great and the sea water soothing.

I am four to five shades darker than when I left Blighty, for which I am grateful.

More to come now and then over the next week or two. I have much to say.

The head of the US Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is the man making school lunches great again.

He is also making farming great again. For too long, American farmers have been looked down upon. That’s all changing. Perdue — not related to the chicken processing Perdues — worked on his family’s farm, has a Ph.D in veterinary science, owns three small agriculture-related businesses and was the governor of the state of Georgia.

His Twitter feed — @SecretarySonny — is not only educational but will brighten the darkest of days.

This is one of my favourites:

He enjoys touring USDA facilities around the country just to pop in for a chat:

He recently went to see the flood damage in Arkansas. The USDA will do what it can to help:

He enjoys visiting farms:

He’s visited grain barges:

He’s delighted that China is once again importing US beef, for the first time since the Bush II administration:

And here he is with his lovely wife Mary:

How many people know what’s going on in the USDA? Follow Sonny Perdue and find out what Big Media aren’t reporting.

Because I’m a foodie, school lunch has been a personal topic of interest over the past five years. See my past posts on the subject:

The US government’s emaciation of America’s schoolchildren (October 2012)

Young Americans hope Trump will make school lunch great again (January 2017)

I now have cause for rejoicing.

Sonny Perdue, President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture, has only been in the job since April 25, 2017, and, already, he’s making school lunch great again!

On Friday, April 28, the Daily Mail reported:

Sonny Perdue is set to introduce new standards that will give schools more flexibility in relation to the National School Lunch Program.

On May 1, The Guardian reported that new guidelines will pertain to sodium levels, milkfat and grain content (emphases mine below):

Perdue said the program was not effective because kids would not eat the healthier food.

“If kids aren’t eating the food and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition, thus undermining the intent of the program,” Perdue said at a school in Leesburg, Virginia.

Perdue made his announcement at Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia to mark School Nutrition Employee Week. The USDA website has more, including this:

Schools have been facing increasing fiscal burdens as they attempt to adhere to existing, stringent nutrition requirements.  According to USDA figures, school food requirements cost school districts and states an additional $1.22 billion in Fiscal Year 2015.  At the same time costs are going up, most states are reporting that they’ve seen a decrease in student participation in school lunches, as nation-wide about one million students choose not to have a school lunch each day.  This impacts schools in two ways: The decline in school lunch participation means reduced revenue to schools while they simultaneously are encountering increased costs.

It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Of course, bureaucrats in Washington, DC, say Michelle Obama’s school lunch programme, initiated in 2012, is working because schools are complying with it!

“I was talking to some folks in Washington about this, and they said that the current program is working.  ‘How do you know?’ I asked.  They said it’s because 99 percent of schools are at least partially compliant.  Well, only in Washington can that be considered proof that the system is working as it was intended,” Perdue said. 

Too right!

Perdue, who is from the state of Georgia, gave a regional example:

“A perfect example is in the south, where the schools want to serve gritsBut the whole grain variety has little black flakes in it, and the kids won’t eat it.  The school is compliant with the whole grain requirements, but no one is eating the grits.  That doesn’t make any sense.”

Thank you!

Also:

“I’ve got 14 grandchildren, and there is no way that I would propose something if I didn’t think it was good, healthful, and the right thing to do,” Perdue said.  “And here’s the thing about local control: it means that this new flexibility will give schools and states the option of doing what we’re laying out here today.  These are not mandates on schools.

Brilliant!

The USDA announcement has details on the new, flexible programme and a PDF of Perdue’s proclamation.

This photo has a good comparison of school lunches:

It looks as if the USA example is the best case scenario there, because this is what American schoolchildren are normally eating:

 

You can see more awful school lunch pictures at Oola, a foodie site.

Perdue had a standard student lunch when he made his announcement at the Leesburg, Virginia school, one which he paid for (see $20 in his hand):

Here is what the students ate:

This is my favourite tweet from the day:

The Big Buddy bit is true:

Sonny Perdue was sworn in on April 25:

In his opening address to the USDA, he said he was a farmer first:

He rolled up his sleeves and got to work on Day 1:

Since then, he has been on the road visiting USDA employees elsewhere in the United States:

Look at the queue:

Passing on his father’s words to them, he said:

If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you.

Perdue paid a visit to American Royal in Kansas City. American Royal is a non-profit organisation that stages events throughout the year to help farmers and future farmers.

Perdue has a PhD in veterinary science and worked on his family’s farm before starting his own three small agribusinesses.

He must have been delighted to meet these youngsters:

He also met with members of the FFA (Future Farmers of America):

Here he is putting his veterinary experience to use:

He also visited a pork processing plant:

With Sonny Perdue, the future looks much brighter for American agriculture.

It should be noted that Sonny Perdue is not related to the Perdue chicken family.

Follow him @SecretarySonny on Twitter.

Lent ends on the evening of Holy Saturday, generally timed around the first Easter Vigil service.

Many Christians enjoy attending Easter Vigil services to see the blessing and lighting of the Paschal Candle, which is lit at services for the next 40 days, until Ascension Day.

New holy water is blessed in Catholic and High Anglican churches. (Chrism Masses would have been held on Wednesday of Holy Week, at which time bishops bless the oil used in Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and the Anointing of the Sick and Dying for the next year.)

Traditionally, catechumens — newcomers to the faith — are baptised at this service.

The following post has more information:

What happens on Holy Saturday?

During the day, families are busy purchasing and preparing festive dishes for Easter Day. A popular custom among Polish Catholics is to have their food blessed at church.

(Image credit: annhetzelgunkel.com)

The following post, with the help of the aforementioned website, explains the importance of these traditional ingredients:

Holy Saturday and food traditions

Every Christian culture has certain food traditions. In 2016, Mary Berry, the doyenne of English home cooks, presented a two-part programme for the BBC in which she explored different Easter treats from around the world. Find out more below:

Easter food explored — part 1 (Mary Berry, BBC — 2016)

Easter food explored — part 2 (Mary Berry, BBC — 2016)

A French cooking site has an interesting article on Easter food in Europe and Algeria. ‘Gâteaux de Pâques traditionnels’ has excellent close-up photographs by way of illustration. A summary of the article follows along with my own commentary.

France

In Alsace, the traditional Easter cake is made in the shape of a lamb. It was originally called Osterlammele — Easter lamb — suggesting its German origins.

Easter cakes in other European countries are also in lamb shapes, using special moulds. Polish lamb cakes are elaborately iced and decorated.

The one from Alsace is plainer, lightly dusted with icing sugar. Traditionally, it was wrapped in fine paper in the colours of Alsace or the Vatican.

Regardless of decoration, lamb cakes are rich in eggs, which were traditionally forbidden during Lent.

Wherever it is used, the lamb shape reminds us of the goodness of Christ and that we should follow His example.

All Recipes provides the instructions. The video below might not be the most expert, but I did enjoy watching the two young lads make a lamb cake:

Italy

Pasteria Napoletana is a popular Easter tart.

Its origins go back to pagan times, when a special bread made from spelt was offered to Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and fertility, in springtime.

Wikipedia says that it is possible that early bread evolved into a ritual bread made of honey and milk which catechumens received after their baptism on Easter Eve during the reign of Constantine.

In the 18th century, one of the nuns at the convent of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, which still exists today, was responsible for the version eaten today. She wanted to create a tart that symbolised the Resurrection, including orange blossom water from the convent’s garden.

The symbolism is as follows: wheat for rebirth, flour for force and strength, eggs for infinity, white ricotta for purity and orange blossom water — along with dried fruit, spices and sugar — for richness.

Wikipedia says that the nuns were ‘geniuses’ in preparing these tarts, which had to be made on Maundy Thursday in order to set properly for Easter. They were then given to wealthy benefactors for the Easter table.

Although variations exist — sometimes with pastry cream added — each must have wheat and ricotta to be considered authentic.

Laura in the Kitchen has a recipe and a video:

Portugal

At Easter, the Portuguese eat folar, bread which can be sweet or savoury.

Sometimes folar is wrapped around whole eggs (before baking) to symbolise new life.

Other variations include chorizo or other charcuterie.

Traditionally, this bread is given to priests, godparents or godchildren as a symbol of happiness and prosperity.

The lady in the video below makes a savoury folar in the most traditional way — in a bread trough. The film is in Portuguese, but you can check it for consistency and shaping while you follow a recipe, in this case from Pocket Cultures:

Austria

Austrians celebrate Easter by including on their tables a rich brioche called Osterpinze or Pinza. (Oster means ‘Easter’.)

This brioche originated in southern Austria. It is shaped into three petals — no doubt to symbolise the Holy Trinity — and sometimes has a coloured Easter egg — the Resurrection and new life — in the centre. Orange blossom water is used in the dough. Some variations also include dried fruits for extra richness.

The Austrians adapted this recipe from pannetone. Italy borders the southern part of the country.

The Bread She Bakes has a recipe in English. Although the video below is in German, watch this gentleman’s techniques:

Algeria

Although Algeria is primarily Muslim today, it is important to remember that North Africa was the cradle of the early Church. One could certainly put forward a case for Christianity being an African faith, because it spread to Europe later.

Christians in Algeria ate Mouna Oranaise at Easter. La Mouna — a mountain — is situated outside of Oran, Algeria’s second largest city. Christians from Oran went to this mountain to celebrate Easter and to break bread.

Although the French article does not say, it seems likely that the bread developed into a brioche when the French arrived and took its present-day form.

All good brioches take time, and the Mouna takes six hours to rise: four initially, after which the dough is divided into two and left to rise for another two hours.

The Mouna has a rich egg glaze and is topped with pearl sugar.

Today, people of all faiths eat Mouna. A Muslim included the recipe on her Pinterest page. A YouTube video appears on the Sephardic (Jewish) food channel.

Christian pied-noirs brought the Mouna recipe to France as an Easter speciality. Make a brioche dough and include orange flower water or lemon zest. Knead the dough well — or use a food processor with a dough hook — to ensure the dough is nice and light:

I am sure that some of these Easter treats cross borders. I am particularly interested in hearing from others with regard to breads and pastries. Feel free to comment below!

In the meantime, I hope that everyone’s Easter preparations go well!

With St Patrick’s Day on Friday in 2017, a few readers have been eyeing my homemade brisket recipe from 2012:

Brisket and salt — corned — beef dos and don’ts

That post explains what to do. Anyone doing this from scratch will need to start on March 15. The prep work — brining and the rub — requires 48 hours.

Brisket is cheap. However, the cost of low-and-slow cooking can outweigh the savings on the meat.

Therefore, doing this yourself, as appetising as it looks on television food shows, might turn out to be more expensive and labour intensive than anticipated.

It is better to buy prepared salt — corned — beef from a supermarket or butcher.

Best wishes for a happy St Patrick’s Day!

 

The other day, I responded to a comment on a conservative American website with regard to diet.

The context was in regard to the reform of Obamacare in the Trump administration. The initial comment referred to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) possible approval of a health auditor, a stranger, to visit someone’s house to assess a family’s lifestyle prior to their obtaining health insurance. Apparently, this is one health insurance idea that has been discussed before.

Ryan’s father died at an unexpectedly early age from heart disease. Consequently, Ryan focussed on diet and exercise to ensure he himself didn’t end up that way. It is thought that he also might well consider that a stranger going into someone’s home to assess their lifestyle — perhaps to check cupboards for snacks or alcohol and sniff walls for evidence of smoking — is entirely acceptable.

That is every bit as frightening as the Vault 7 Year Zero CIA document dump by WikiLeaks on March 7.

There are two things here.

The first is that, as a legislator, Paul Ryan will never have to be part of Obamacare or Trumpcare. He and his colleagues get a traditional health insurance plan.

The next thing is obesity, which Paul Ryan — a thin man — desperately opposes.

As I told the person on this particular conservative website, this notion of a healthcare audit is a plan for the ‘little people’. (They, in Ryan’s estimation, do not understand what their betters do. This, by the way, is Ryan’s ‘magnificent home’ in Janesville, Wisconsin. It has an extensive border fence around it.)

I further commented (same link):

To counter Ryan’s dictating to Americans on their health: my father also died of heart disease at an early age. So did his father, whom I never met. So have some of my friends in the present day. That doesn’t give the right to go around snooping in people’s homes as a precursor to getting health insurance!

Then, I discussed obesity:

Re obesity: severely limit or stop eating starch and sugar, eat more fat (including animal fat) and less protein. Watch the pounds roll off. It’s called the ketogenic diet, which is a permanent eating plan, not a fad diet. I’ve been on it for three years. I lost weight and stabilised. Cholesterol and triglycerides go down with keto.

As we know, there is a particular association between Americans and obesity. It is unclear whether this can be connected with the increase of obesity in other Western countries, because who knows how much corn syrup — rather than sugar — is in their food? Emphases mine below, not in the original comment:

Someone on here was talking about corn. It’s all the corn syrup used in place of sugar which also leads to obesity. Sugar makes you feel more sated than corn syrup. We owe the proliferation of corn syrup to the Nixon administration in the 1970s. Corn farmers, IIRC, had a glut of crop then, so were bailed out with companies producing corn syrup for commercial cake, cookie and candy manufacturers.

Note when obesity started to climb: the late 1970s to early 1980s. It was no big deal at the time. Most people attributed it to Americans giving up smoking. Although that was a factor, I would posit that the increase of sweet snacks and cakes made with corn syrup were a greater contributor — and continue to be today.

Yes, I know I should have said ‘was’ instead of ‘were’ in the last sentence, but only caught it now.

Regardless, that message got through. My sincere thanks to the moderators. I didn’t think anything of it until later. Now read on.

The commenter, with whom I was corresponding, replied:

Salty snacks like crackers and chips also contribute, along with soft drinks and the rest of our favorites (fast food, etc). Eat at home family meals with vegetables and salads have diminished with women working, divorces, unwed mothers with no Dad in the home, increase of addictions, etc.

I’m not in favor of a one-food group diet (animal fat/low carb) diet. Whole grains and vegetables/fruit contain important phytonutrients. Did you know heart attacks diminished in Britain, in WWII, despite the stress of the bombings, when sugar was rationed?

So, appreciating this reply, but differing because of my keto experience — and that of thousands of others — wrote back.

I retyped my reply twice. Both immediately went into spam. A subsequent message, on a different topic, went through, by the way.

The text below is similar to what was spammed. Once again, emphases mine below, not in the original comment. For the overweight:

All starch — whether salty or sweet, from carbohydrate to sugar — should be sharply curtailed or eliminated.

It should be noted that the ketogenic diet — a way of eating and not a fad diet — is not a one-food group diet. It works with a proportion (depending on the individual) of 50% fat, 35% protein and 15% carbohydrate per day. Vegetables should provide most of the 15% carbohydrate. The more you weigh, the more you lose.

Starch comprises bread, cereal, cakes, oatmeal, salty snacks (etc.). Sugars, including those in fruit, are also starches.

Corn syrup has replaced sugar in most sweet snacks. Corn syrup is less satisfying than pure sugar. Americans are eating more corn syrup in cakes, cookies and candies. Therefore, they are getting fatter because the corn syrup is less satisfying.

Eating more fat — including fat from cheese, eggs and dairy products, especially butter — will be more satisfying than eating starches or sugar.

I agree very much with your point on ready-made meals, however, another problem is that Americans — along with many other Westerners — eat five times a day.

I take your point that, during the Second World War, Britons got their nutrients from whole grain bread. However, they needed all the sustenance they could receive. They also had no central heating. They had to walk or ride bicycles to and from work. Rationing in the UK did not end until 1954.

Westerners live an entirely different lifestyle in the 21st century. They eat too many carbohydrates, including sugars — especially corn syrup products, which leave them less full than sugar would. They have heated homes and offices. They drive nearly everywhere.

Low fat foods are another problem. For a decent flavour profile, low fat needs to be offset with high sugar content, most often corn syrup.

My message must have had wording or syntax that instantly caused it to end up in spam — twice.

There is a political point about corn syrup that I want to make concerning the law of unintended consequences. No one could foresee in the Nixon administration that corn syrup would result in a national weight problem.

I know from experience. In the early 1960s, when I was five years old, I was a guest of a young friend at her house for Saturday dinner — pancake night. My mother always bought maple-flavoured syrup made with sugar. This family always bought corn syrup. I still remember eating a plateful of pancakes with syrup and feeling hungry before I went to bed that night. The hosts even told my parents that I had an incredible appetite for such a little tyke. Yet, that was the only time I was ever hungry after eating twice as many pancakes as I would have done at home. The only difference was the type of syrup.

Conclusion

If Americans were still eating sweets of any kind made with sugar, they would be of normal weight.

Corn syrup is making people fat. So are other starches. Anyone who wants to lose weight should try a low-carb high-fat — LCHF — eating plan.

For more information on the ketogenic diet, please read the following. If you are in any doubt or under regular care of a physician, seek medical advice first:

Does low animal fat intake increase hostility or depression? (a hypothesis)

Fat and a balanced mind (low-fat diets can imbalance serotonin and nerves)

Depression and anxiety: the perils of a low-fat, high-carb diet

High carbohydrate intake and depression

Depression and cancer: more evidence against a low-fat diet

High carbohydrate intake and depression (also epilepsy related [Dr Richard A Kunin’s paper])

High-carb, low-fat diets might cause Western diseases (cancer related)

Low-carb diet a migraine remedy

Low-carb, high-fat diets regulate testosterone, cholesterol levels

Ketogenic diet and gout risk — tips for success

Resources for the ketogenic diet

Low carb high fat diet primer

Dietary advice: the old ways are the best (my own story on the ketogenic diet)

High carb, low fat diets bad for brain health — and moods? (more testimonials for the ketogenic diet)

Whilst I cannot guarantee that my original correspondent on the conservative website will see this, I hope that others might find this of interest.

This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on February 28.

As I wrote in 2016, various traditions involving food and merriment take place on this day, because Lent begins 24 hours later:

Nearly all European countries mark Shrove Tuesday with a special food item or fat-laden feast, a final opportunity for enjoyment before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

These customs are centuries old and spread to other countries around the world with European exploration and settlement.

The Reformation could not put paid to old pre-Lenten customs which live on today. The British and many Commonwealth nations still call Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day. In Scandinavia and parts of Northern Europe, people enjoy semla, a sweet bun filled with frangipane and topped with whipped cream. People in Iceland celebrate Bursting Day by eating salted meat and peas.

Many countries celebrate Carnival or hold other ancient festivities on Shrove Tuesday.

In Britain, a number of towns in Britain hold pancake races, which date back to the 15th century …

Regarding pancake races, Shrove Tuesday is referred to as Pancake Day in much of the UK. Our pancakes are crêpes, although American pancakes are becoming more popular.

Christians observing Lent have it relatively easy today. Centuries ago, many foods — not just meat — were forbidden during this time of fasting and penitence. The BBC page on Lent states that fish, fats, eggs, and dairy products were also off the menu. Therefore:

So that no food was wasted, families would have a feast on the shriving Tuesday, and eat up all the foods that wouldn’t last the forty days of Lent without going off.

The need to eat up the fats gave rise to the French name Mardi Gras (‘fat Tuesday’). Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday as they were a dish that could use up all the eggs, fats and milk in the house with just the addition of flour.

Beginners who would like to make crepes might find the following recipes of interest:

Top tips for foolproof crêpes (base recipe can also be done for savoury)

Crêpes with Churchmouse’s Amaretto sauce

Fisheaters has a pancake recipe, too, along with recipes for Dutch Baby baked pancakes and Polish Pazcki, jam-filled donuts.

It is possible to enjoy Shrove Tuesday in a Christian way. It is unfortunate that it is uniquely associated with the revelry of Mardi Gras parades, which get so much publicity.

Why not take this time to have a fun, food-oriented celebration with family and friends?

To follow up yesterday’s post on making school lunch great again, I ran across two helpful resources which might be of interest to parents.

With all the nonsense about Michelle Obama’s national lunch programme (2010) and the USDA rules about fruit and vegetables in school meals (2012), students and parents are finding what should be an enjoyable midday break difficult.

A New York Times article from 2015, ‘Parents, Not Schools, Should Decide What to Pack for Lunch’, describes the frustration, anxiety — and sometimes sadness — accompanying school lunch (emphases mine):

Based on our review of the available research, we estimate that 10 to 15 percent of all American children and up to 80 percent of those with special needs struggle with feeding challenges. This is not an insignificant concern. These kinds of school incidents can lead to significant setbacks for children with complex food anxieties or challenges. Some children may have special needs around food that aren’t immediately obvious to a teacher, like the sister of a 13-year-old in the hospital from complications of anorexia nervosa, whose parents are desperately trying to teach the girls that all foods, including Oreos, have a place in a healthy diet. Or there is the instance of the little boy with autism spectrum disorder who eats well at home but is so overwhelmed in the loud cafeteria that for him to get enough calories and energy for the afternoon he has to have his most familiar and safe foods. If someone shames him for his sugary squeeze yogurt and Ritz crackers, he may eat nothing.

One child we worked with, who had had multiple surgeries and was weaned off a feeding tube as a toddler, enjoyed fruit cups packed in light syrup as her only fruit. Her teacher held one up in front of the class, calling out the sugar content as unhealthy, and asked the kindergartner to not bring it again. The girl was upset that her cherished teacher thought her food was bad, and refuses to eat it anymore.

Ultimately:

Parents have the right to decide what to feed their child, with input from a doctor or dietitian, if necessary. Children have the right to enjoy lunch at school without undue scrutiny, and certainly without being called out in front of peers for a choice the parent makes.

The authors of this article, Dr Katja Rowell and Jenny McGlothlin, recommend that parents enclose a laminated ‘lunchbox card’ stating:

“Dear ____________, Please don’t ask __________________ to eat more or different foods than she/he wants. Please let her eat as much as she wants of any of the foods I pack, in any order, even if she eats nothing or only dessert. If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at _______________. Thank you.”

They acknowledge that the child might be reluctant to do this, so parent and child should rehearse at home before putting this into practice.

They also say that concerned school administrators or teachers should contact the parent rather than confront the child — or, I would add, confiscate his or her food.

School districts have become increasingly authoritarian. The Ellyn Satter Institute, which deals with child nutrition, has a useful page from 2011 on what students encounter. ‘School Nutrition Horror Stories’ spells it out clearly. Recommended reading. Examples and excerpts follow:

All public schools in the St. Paul, MN, district will be declared “sweet-free zones” and second helpings banned by the end of this school year. Reminders have been sent to teachers, students and parents that “sweet, sticky, fat-laden and salty treats” aren’t allowed during the school day.”

New Hampshire schools have authoritarian dinner ladies who humiliate children asking for a brownie as well as hectoring dietitians who patrol the lunchroom criticising pupils who eat a cookie before starting the main course. The end result was that one woman’s son:

was so traumatized that he’s not eating any lunch at all. He tries to find reasons not to go to the cafeteria.

Some parents have been so intimidated by school officials that they related their experiences to the Ellyn Satter Institute only on condition they could remain anonymous — even when they were successful in getting schools to back off!

The Institute recommends that parents talk with the teacher first to get her side of the story, then to explain that you are packing foods your child will actually eat (some nutrition is better than none). If that does not work, take it up to the principal in a non-adversarial way (don’t make it against the teacher, but an information-gathering session).

They also recommend that parents push for a school-wide policy on non-interference with packed lunches:

This might involve the principal, school counselor, school nurse, lunchroom personnel, PTO. It is a lot of work, but it is that important.

Wow, apparently so. We can only hope the Trump administration reverses Michelle’s Meals as soon as practicable.

Nearly five years ago, in October 2012, I wrote about Michelle Obama’s awful school lunch plan, which left American children hungry, even when they managed to eat what was on their plates.

That post has videos of Michelle saying she loves fried food, which she forbade children from eating at school, not a place most of them want to be, anyway.

Now that Donald Trump is in the White House, readers of The_Donald hope that he will:

Hope springs eternal, boosted by a report in the Conservative Tribune, ‘BOOM: GOP Looks to Shut Down Michelle O’s lunches’ (complete with photos of the current offerings):

Donald Trump and the Republicans aren’t just making America great again. They’re making Taco Tuesday great again, too.

Just think, the new, tasty versions could even be called Trump Lunches: a stroke of branding genius we have come to know and love from the Donald.

They could include a taco bowl, possibly based on the Trump Tower Grill recipe. What’s nicer than a huge deep fried taco piled high with salad? Yum. Brings back fond memories of lunches I enjoyed as an adult in the 1980s.

Of their photographs, one of which has an industrially-stamped sandwich bun, the Conservative Tribune says:

Not exactly Anthony Bourdain we’re talking here. Little wonder, then, that even Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s prisoners ate better than some of our nation’s schoolchildren.

The report says that the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was never going to work, even if it:

started out with the best of intentions. Who doesn’t want their children to eat healthier, after all? However, the legislation made two fatal assumptions.

First, it assumed that local school districts weren’t, for whatever reason, trying to make healthy food for their students. Second, it assumed that a one-size-fits-all series of laws and regulations could fix the problem.

Yet:

They wished to believe that, given time, these unworkable regulations would turn our nation’s lunchrooms into veritable Whole Foods cafeterias.

Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t worked. It’s time for Michelle Obama’s lunch rules to be tossed.

Fox News has more:

A document released by the office of Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., called for repealing certain aspects of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – the legislation that helped put Michelle Obama’s hallmark program into law. The initiative is part of a broader plan released by Meadows titled, “First 100 Days: Rules, Regulations, and Executive Orders to Examine, Revoke and Issue.”

The document calls for the Trump administration to reverse nearly 200 rules and regulations, including the requirements of the 2010 law. 

A related report from the House Freedom Caucus shows:

The regulations have proven to be burdensome and unworkable for schools to implement. Schools are throwing food away that students are not eating.

Another report, released by the University of Vermont in 2015:

found even though students added more fruits and vegetables to their plates, “children consumed fewer [fruits and vegetables] and wasted more during the school year immediately following implementation of the USDA rule.”

The USDA rule mandating fruit and vegetables came into force in 2012, as a result of Michelle’s 2010 mandate (emphases mine below):

Titled “Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection,” the [Vermont] report noted that average waste increased from a quarter cup to more than one-third of a cup per tray. Observing students at two northeastern elementary schools during more than 20 visits to each, researchers took photos of students’ trays after they chose their items, as they were exiting the lunch line and again as they went by the garbage cans.

Admittedly, Vermont studied only two elementary schools in the Northeast, however, this tweet shows what a typical Michelle Meal looks like:

While her daughters enjoyed a daily choice of lunch items at the prestigious — and private — Sidwell Friends school, American children were left with unappetising selections resembling cat food.

Worse, the amount of food is paltry:

The Fox News report says that the documents they examined showed that:

some schools had to get creative in disposing of the food waste, feeding leftovers to pigs and other animals at nearby farms.

Before Michelle Obama got involved, many American high school students remembered yummy treats.

Several readers at The_Donald recalled lunch after 2010 (I’ve cleaned up the language in places):

They took away our French fries.

I know they removed soda from the machines and replaced with juice or some[thing].

Salt. My high school HAS NO SALT. There is plenty of pepper, but no salt to be found.

That’s funny considering you even get salt in jail

Underground privatized freedom cafe BTFO dystopian government tasteless “we’ll tell you what to like” food. Epic win.

At my school they started only letting kids have 1 condiment packet.

I graduated in 2015 and our lunches were so horrible that eventually the school didn’t make us pay for them

Ours were free too, and we still didn’t eat ’em.

The calorie restriction completely [mess]ed [up] athletes. Nothing says Lefty policy like bringing down the top performers.

Trump and the Republicans could really clean up with this for mid-term elections in 2018 and the next general election in 2020:

A lot of fifteen year old future Trump voters made today.

I imagine this will make quite a few Gen Z voters happy.

This will red-pill an entire generation. Crazy.

Some remembered luncheon delights before 2012, when the rules were fully implemented around the country:

I just graduated in ’16. The food my school was forced to serve after my freshman year was slop. We went from delicious stuffed crust pizza, bosco sticks, and food the great cafeteria cooks would make..to saltless garbage. I stopped eating it and so did many kids there. Its a shame too because I live in a decently poor rural area in TN so for a lot of kids it was their only meal, and it was complete garbage on a tray.

My school in Massachusetts once had a sandwich bar, nice white buttery pasta with Parmesan cheese, a la carte with fresh chocolatey cookies of several varieties.. Ice cream bars, Hoodsie cups.. Then it started to go [downhill]. My sophomore year, 2011, the subs, sandwiches were gone. Then the cookies lost their moisture, sweetness, and flexibility. The pasta became wheat. Dry, and hard. Then, the cookies and a la carte disappeared. Then, the pasta.. Students were left with utterly [awful] chicken patties, watered-down off-brand condiments, or the viscerally repugnant daily hot lunch.

Was Michelle’s programme confusion or conspiracy? Probably a bit of both, which is a bit rich coming from a woman who often enjoyed wagyu and kobe steak with her husband and friends over the past eight years.

In closing, here’s a brief flashback into history. Mao Tse-tung cut off trade routes to Hunan province, thereby increasing the price of salt. People in Hunan had to form co-operatives, pooling money to purchase it.

A reader at The_Donald posted this:

One of Mao’s biggest problems was the Chinese who would attempt to defect by swimming to Taiwan.

He restricted salt knowing that if these people did not have a certain amount of this necessary nutrient, they could not make the trip.

When I read that severe salt restriction was a part of Michelle Obama’s nutrition plan, again, I chuckled out loud.

They just couldn’t resist their tyrannical impulses.

In other words, ‘For me, but not for thee’. I would be disappointed, but not entirely surprised, to find that Michelle knew of the health implications regarding calorie and salt content of her lunches and implemented them anyway.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post -- not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 -- resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 980 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

June 2017
S M T W T F S
« May    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,114,023 hits