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Friday, May 10, 2013

The Yucky New Lunch Food From the NYC DOE

 Here's my vote for Zachary Maxwell, kid filmmaker of the year!!!

Clips From "Yuck" - Going Undercover

Battle of The Salads

Last Letter To Santa

The Michael Moore of the Grade-School Lunchroom

Zachary outside his school in Little Italy.Benjamin Norman for The New York TimesZachary outside his school in Little Italy.
The film offers no shortage of examples. On a day advertising “cheesy lasagna rolls with tomato basil sauce, roasted spinach with garlic and herbs,” for instance, Zachary is handed a plastic-wrapped grilled cheese sandwich on an otherwise bare plastic foam tray.
A “Pasta Party” is described as “zesty Italian meatballs with tomato-basil sauce, whole grain pasta, Parmesan cheese and roasted capri vegetables.” Meatballs and pasta show up on the tray, if none too zesty-looking, but the vegetables are nowhere to be seen.
Salads devised by the Food Network chefs Rachael Ray andEllie Krieger are similarly plagued by missing ingredients. On the day Ms. Ray’s “Yum-O! Marinated Tomato Salad” is listed, Zachary is served a slice of pizza accompanied by a wisp of lettuce.
Ms. Krieger’s “Tri-color Salad” is a no-show on one day it is promised, and on another, it lacks its cauliflower, broccoli and red peppers. The shreds of lettuce and slice of cucumber could still be described as tri-color, Zachary points out, if you count “green, light green and brown.”
Indeed, among the 75 lunches that Zachary recorded – chosen randomly, he swears – he found the menus to be “substantially” accurate, with two or more of the advertised menu items served, only 51 percent of the time. The menus were “totally” accurate, with all of the advertised items served, only 16 percent of the time. And by Zachary’s count, 28 percent of the lunches he recorded were built around either pizza or cheese sticks.
A spokeswoman for the Education Department, Marge Feinberg, said in an e-mail that vegetables and fruit were served daily and she suggested that Zachary must have chosen not to take the vegetables served in his cafeteria.
“It would not be the first time a youngster would find a way to get out of eating vegetables,” she wrote. Zachary responded that he always took every item he was offered.
Until this past September, Ms. Feinberg said, schools did have some freedom to deviate from the systemwide lunch menus. New federal regulations for the current school yearset stricter guidelines for what elements need to be on each child’s plate.
On Monday, Zachary thought he was in trouble again when he was sent to the principal’s office and found two men in black suits waiting for him.
They turned out to be representatives from the Education Department’s Office of School Food, he said, who complimented him on his movie, asked for feedback on some new menu choices, and took him on a tour of the cafeteria kitchen.
There, Zachary met one of his school’s cooks, and got some insight into her thinking.
“She wants us to be happy,” he reported. “So she cooks what she thinks the kids will like.”
Then he sat down for lunch with the officials. The adults ate the cafeteria lunch of chicken nuggets, carrots and salad.
Zachary had pork and vegetable dumplings – brought from home.