Friday, February 04, 2022

Bean Salad

That's what Mayor Adams was serving today at Francis Lewis High School. I took a peek at it. It was iceberg lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and beans. It came with French dressing, which I recall as sickly sweet orange stuff. However, one of the kids I spoke with told me the dressing made the meal okay. I don't know what it's like in other buildings but ours is grab and go.

There were two other choices--peanut butter and jelly, and cheese sandwiches. I'd have opted for none of the above, and if I were a kid with money in my pocket I'd have likely walked out to the grease truck and eaten something totally unhealthy. What I actually did was go to my car and eat a container of tuna salad I'd brought from home.

Why do our kids have such limited options? Mayor Adams, who not only has swagger, but is also a self-styled nutritional expert has declared that vegan diets are the best. This diet evidently helped him personally with a health condition. So he waves his mayoral magic wand, and it's vegan Friday in NYC.

Eric Adams is a vegan, so therefore everyone should be. Alas, damping the magic of vegan Friday, some lunatic from the federal government enforced some stupid rule that milk had to be served. Adams must be beside himself with grief, knowing in his heart of hearts that children all over the city are just clamoring for carrot juice (not that he'd lay out a dime for it). 

Now here's the thing--in his infinite wisdom, Mayor de Blasio declared that Mondays and Fridays would be vegetarian. That didn't have sufficient swagger for Eric Adams, so he made Fridays vegan. Evidently, if every child grew up to be like Eric Adams, the world would be a better place (for Eric Adams at least). Of course, since the schools have to serve milk products, vegan Friday has no meaning whatsoever. 

I regularly see cafeteria staff putting sandwiches and grab and go stuff on tables. They tell me there is more waste this year than when they served regular lunches, particularly on vegetarian days. Kids open up the bags, take the chocolate milk and chips, and dump the rest of the vegetarian delights in the trash, or right back on the serving table. These meals arejust not making the kids feel the love somehow.

I'm not vegan, or vegetarian, but I'm really fond of Beyond Burgers. If you cook them right and dress them up, they pretty much pass for the real thing. There's also a Thai place near where I live that makes a spicy mixed vegetables and tofu dish that's really good. I'm open to all-vegetable meals. The kids in our school, though, are eating a soggy container of iceberg lettuce with some beans sprinkled on top, and a salad dressing that's probably full of sugar. In fact, the sugar is probably the only reason the kid I spoke to liked it.

I am not averse to encouraging a love for vegetables in our children. It's a good idea. We have a terrible diet, and we consume way too much sugar. I'm not sure whether or not anyone has told Eric Adams that chocolate milk is full of sugar, but I'd say finding substitutes for that might be a good move. I cut it out and lost a whole lot of weight over the last four years. 

If we want to encourage our kids to eat vegetables, we need to offer them in a form that isn't slapdash crap. It's not the fault of our cafeteria workers, who do what they can with what they're given. If Eric Adams wants our kids to eat healthy food, he should skip a photo-op or two, invest a few dollars, buy better quality food, and find someone who can create tasty, quality vegetarian dishes that can be easily replicated in school cafeterias.

This is not climbing Mount Olympus. This is common sense if you genuinely want to make this something attractive to kids. Otherwise it's just an empty mandate, a waste of food that someone could use better, and more sound and swagger signifying nothing.

blog comments powered by Disqus