Good old American oatmeal burgers

The Little Village Academy on the west side of Chicago no longer allows students to bring their own lunches: you eat what they serve, or you do without. E. M. Zanotti finds this curious at best:

This is problematic for a number of reasons, least of which is probably that a one-size-fits all government brainchild is destined to fail at solving a complicated problem. Anyone who’s ever met a kid knows that kids are weird. It’s a full time job, sometimes, for parents, to figure out how to ensure a child gets necessary nutrition while skirting a number of irrational food phobias. My brother once ate nothing but baked potatoes for six months.

And there’s precedent for that failure, too:

The King of replacing school lunches with healthy food, TV chef Jamie Oliver, has seen his health-i-fying plans meet with disaster. Oliver, who claimed to change the eating habits of an entire British town by forcing the local elementary school to adopt a million-dollar school lunch program, actually managed to ensure students received higher-calorie, higher-fat meals than before (most of which were worse than McDonald’s Happy Meals), and having a heavily negative impact on students scores, especially among low-income students. Turns out when kids didn’t like the food they received, they didn’t eat it.

Finding audio to accompany this story was a (probably forbidden) piece of cake. From the Conception Corporation’s infamous “Rock and Roll Classroom,” a 24-second ad [mp3, 567kb] touting the wonders of the school’s in-house eatery; you’ll hear the title of this piece therein.


  1. fillyjonk »

    12 April 2011 · 7:19 am

    The prep school I attended in Ohio did this. However, they always had salad and peanut butter and bread out on the tables, so if you didn’t like what was on offer (the peanut butter was a hot commodity on tuna-casserole day), you managed.

    However, that was a private school and we made the choice (or our parents did) to be there.

    I’d probably get my back up more about being told what to eat now than I was then. (And we got a lot of mileage out of making up awful names for the food. There was, for example, “Macaroni and sand.” I do not know how they did it, but they managed to make macaroni and cheese GRITTY.)

    Then again, the food was typical institutional cafeteria food, and not “we’re gonna make these kids healthy, or they’re gonna die while we’re trying” food.

  2. Lisa Paul »

    12 April 2011 · 5:57 pm

    I know this brands me as extremely shallow, but I can’t take Jamie Oliver seriously as a nutrition maven as long as he has sallow, greasy, pimply skin that seems to be the consistency and color of candle wax. If you are truly eating healthy, shouldn’t you look healthy?

  3. CGHill »

    12 April 2011 · 7:28 pm

    A hit, a palpable hit.

  4. fillyjonk »

    12 April 2011 · 8:29 pm

    Lisa: I must be shallow, too.

    I’d be more likely to take nutrition advice from Nigella Lawson. There’s the added plus that she actually seems to really enjoy what she’s doing, rather than being kind of a scold and a nag.

  5. EllenSmith »

    13 April 2011 · 11:12 am

    As To Being Shallow: You are saying this like it is a bad thing. I have read your things for a while now and I don’t think either one of you
    sounds shallow. Look at it this way. There is a good shallow and a
    bad shallow. It’s all about degrees and extremes.

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