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News Mon Mar 01 2010

Cooking Up Change

schoollunch.jpgThis week, the Chicago-based Healthy Schools Campaign launches a national effort to increase awareness of what's served in school cafeterias and to secure more funding for the Child Nutrition Act. The program, called Cooking Up Change, kicks off tomorrow with local students from Tilden Career Community High School going to Washington, DC, to serve a healthy meal to members of Congress. The Tilden students won last year's Cooking Up Change cooking contest with a meal of chicken-vegetable jambalaya with jalapeno cornbread and cucumber salad. You can go to the HSC's web site and click on a button to urge your elected leaders to eat a school lunch on March 2.
Photo courtesy of Fed Up: School Lunch Project

If you don't know a school kid who is subjected to the salty, processed foods schools around the country serve up every day, you can get a good glimpse at the meals through the Fed Up: School Lunch Project blog, an anonymous diary by a public school teacher.

School lunches have gotten a lot of press lately. Michelle Obama made it her goal to end childhood obesity in a generation, partly by reducing the fat, salt and sugar content of school lunches. And school-garden programs keep sprouting up across the country. This idea--putting school kids in the garden instead of keeping them in class and focused on reading and writing, particularly if they come from a family that might have included migrant farm workers--was ridiculed recently in the Atlantic, and then defended even more fervently in the same publication. Because people who have worked with children in school gardens (as the Organic School Project in Chicago does), have seen how enthusiastically the children respond. And, in many schools recess no longer exists, so a period spent in the garden can restore concentration and energy--as can a healthier lunch.

The largest hurdle to improving school lunches is money. Produce is more expensive, especially if it's fresh, because kitchen staffs have to spend time preparing the fruits and vegetables that once came frozen in ready-to-serve packages. This year, the Child Nutrtion Act is being debated in Congress. The Act, which is reauthorized once every five years, determines school-food policy and resources. Take it from these kids: What we eat is important. And join the food fight.

 
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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...
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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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