National School Lunch Week is this week. Its a great time to sit down with your kids and have some chicken rings and potato cruisers.
Dont know what those things are? Youll be even more surprised if you go to a Columbia County school lunchroom. Entrees on the menu this week include Crocodile Nuggets, Eskimo Barbecue and Jungle Chicken.
No, the lunchroom ladies arent really frying up crocs, or even Florida gators. And no Inuit were sacrificed for school lunch. Those creative food services folks have simply come up with some cute names to get kids attention and whet their appetites, which is really tough when you serve everyone from finicky first-graders to sophisticated seniors.
It certainly got our attention the other day when retired broadcaster Bill Scholly of Evans passed along a copy of a school lunch menu from his grandsons school in Italy. Schollys daughter Lori and her husband Guido live in Empoli, near Florence. Scholly says. Heres a typical week in the lunchroom at the school of their son, David:
Tuesday, faro salad (something like barley/rice, Lori says), pork roast and green salad; Wednesday, pasta with white sauce, fish with lemon, spinach stir-fried in garlic and oil; Thursday, pasta with tomato and basil sauce, omlette, French fries; Friday, cold pasta salad, roast beef and cooked carrots.
Pretty good, huh? writes Lori. Plus his snack in the afternoon is something like a banana or apple or plums and the schiacciata bread.
Maybe we can get Rita McDonald, president of Columbia Countys lunchroom association and a native of Italy, to whip up a few of those items for our kids.
If not, enjoy the Volcano Burgers and Sandstorm Turkey. But were a little skeptical of the Rover Rolls.
Seriously, as School Nutrition Coordinator Jo Marie Lombard notes in the column below, the school lunch program meets its historic aim of providing daily nourishment to some 13,000 Columbia County students. Its fun to play with the names on the menu, but its a well-run program with a serious purpose of giving kids a healthy midday boost during the hours theyre at school.
Yes, were all to aware that the school lunch program also allows the federal government to prop up farm and dairy prices by buying off what otherwise would be a glut of commodities. But it keeps kids fed, and for many provides their only decent meal of the day.
Check it out. Its only $2.25 for an adults, and its the best lunch bargain in town - not to mention the only place where you can get Tiger veggies or Rhino rice.
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