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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, December 2

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« Behind Alinea, the Book: an Interview with Michael Nagrant Friday Happy Hour »

Event Fri Oct 24 2008

Cabinet Maker Opens the Doors for Healthy School Lunches

centerpiece1.jpgOn Thursday evening at the Merchandise Mart, NEFF of Chicago hosted a fund-raiser for the Organic School Project. The evening was also hosted by Chicago Social and featured food from Greg Christian catering loosely based on what the OSP serves to public-school kids at Alcott Elementary school. (Christian founded the OSP.) Lauren Pett from Rich Chocolates manned a table full of mini mint-chocolate chip truffles, dark chocolate flavored with chai and other sweet treats. Hosts NEFF, meanwhile, launched a ten-week period in which the luxury cabinet manufacturer will donate 10% of every cabinetry project sold to the OSP. So, if you're in the market for some cabinets with sexy curves or a unique holographic finish, now's the time to hit the NEFF showroom.

Money from sources like this is important to the Organic School Project. They currently feed the kids at Alcott with very little money from the USDA's National School Lunch Program or the Chicago Public School System. It's becoming more widely recognized that the money schools get from the NSLP barely pays for food, once salaries, transportation and equipment is factored into the equation.

Further complicating the financial picture, and hindering the goals of the OSP, is the fact that in order for a school to qualify for NSLP subsidies, the food it serves has to meet certain nutritional guidelines--guidelines that were established in the 1940s, when undernourishment was a problem. This means that many schools, particularly in areas where families need help paying for lunches, are required to serve fortified foods that are high in calories, fat and sodium, and programs like the OSP have a hard time qualifying for funding because local, fresh and organic foods are neither caloric nor enriched. Even Michael Pollen has weighed in on the issue; he includes the school-lunch system in his open letter to the future president, detailing food policies that need to be addressed.
But Thursday's event wasn't all about lunch-food crises. The NEFF showroom was decked out with table centerpieces designed by Erin McDonald of event designer Heffernan Morgan. He demonstrated how to make a seasonal centerpiece with apples, decorative peppers and some other greens. The arrangements around the room included pomegranates, cranberries, Brussels sprouts and colorful tropical flowers mixed in eye-catching and curious displays. It really inspired me to improve upon my typical dried-leaf and twig (collected the day of) Thanksgiving centerpiece.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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