When the opportunity to do my first BlogHer book review for Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa came up, I jumped. I tend to read pretty foodie oriented books (my last book was The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball) and my heart goes pitter patter when the topic of Farm to Table comes up so I thought I would really love this book. I have kids in public school, I have a vested interest in them eating good food there. This book is perfect for me. Right?
This was a tough book for me. First off, I had a really hard time getting into it. When I was hit with 2 pages of lists of additives to avoid I almost rolled out of my bed from boredom. This isn’t to say it’s not a great book, there is a lot of information here and I’m sure it would really helpful in getting someone started on a School Food Revolution, but I was skeptical. How could this work in the school *my* kids go to?
I just got this really negative feeling, like the only thing a school could do that would pass muster would be to bring in a chef and locally source foods and make everything from scratch. All I could think was- schools are strapped for cash, how are they supposed to pay for this? What would they have to cut? My kids are special needs- what would *they* have to give up so a salad bar could be put into their lunchroom?
I don’t know. I don’t like the thought of cutting *more* in our inner city schools. My sons school isn’t under corporate sponsorship and actually, when I took a look at the lunch menu online I didn’t think it looked too bad. They even had a list of items that were locally sourced!
Then I dug a little deeper and found that Minneapolis Public Schools are making some great strides in turning around their lunch program- thanks to some insiders.
That made me feel like better food in schools was a possibility. It also made me feel like this idea didn’t need to be an Us vs Them type of battle (a vibe I was getting from the book).
So, lots to think about with this book! I think the main thing I brought away was this: you need to do your homework. Find out what your kids are eating. What are their options. If your kids are racking up their lunch bill on Snapple and Rice Krispie Treats you might want to follow the steps in this book and see if you can make some changes to the offerings at your school.
For many kids, school breakfast and lunch is the only food they eat all day. Let’s make it better.
*Disclosure: I was provided a book to review free of charge through the BlogHer Book Review program. All opinions are my own.