Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"talk about the state of this great nation of ours"

the song: "All U Can Eat" Ben Folds
the food: school lunches

I am fresh off the plane from New York. Stories will be coming shortly (spoiler alert: pizza!), but our beloved Austin is already bombarding us with awesomeness I need to share.

A few months ago, I ran across this article on Serious Eats about the movie Lunch Line. The SE article does a much more thorough job explaining the thesis of this documentary than I can manage. According to Lunch Line's Facebook page: "The film tracks key moments in school food and child nutrition from 1940s, 1960s, and 1980s to the present – revealing political twists, surprising alliances, and more common ground than people realize."  

It is extremely cool that Alamo Drafthouse Lakecreek is screening Lunch Line this Wednesday (June 16th). Tickets are $7 and the show starts at 7:30. And because a movie is never just a movie at the incomparable Alamo Drafthouse, Addie Broyles will be there to moderate a discussion after the screening. Supposedly there will also be "healthy lunchline special menu items" which both intrigues and frightens me.

This movie seems like a step in the right direction for reforming the American food system. Most importantly, the word is getting out there that there is something that needs to be fixed. People get really defensive about their food, their kids, and their government. And this debate involves all three. Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution has done a good job bringing the realities of school lunch into America's living rooms, and I applaud him and ABC for taking on a topic as big as this. People had their complaints about his methods, but overall he's on the right path. Perhaps because of Oliver's work, more people will support and show interest in movies like this one. It is a huge issue to even begin to think about and it is exciting that more people are getting involved in the discussion.

 Photo by back_garage, who has these cool trays for sale on Etsy.

My personal experience with school lunch is pretty limited, but I do have a short story to share*. A few months ago, while playing outside, one of my toddlers at school got stung by a bee. After using my Spec's key card to remove the stinger (teacher of the year award!) my  coteacher suggested using baking soda to ease swelling. Seemed like a good idea, but we had no baking soda on hand at the daycare. I headed to the cafeteria thinking "that's where cooking happens in this school. Surely they will have something as simple as baking soda!" You know where this is going. The lunch ladies were all eager to help. I think they were even a little surprised to see they didn't have it. No homemade food. No homemade pain relief.

The little guy was fine, by the way.

For more information about Wednesday's screening, please visit:
Alamo Drafthouse Lakecreek
Relish Austin

For more about Lunch Line:

And some random things devoted to school lunch:
School Lunch set by dirtdirt on Flickr

Hope to see you all tomorrow night at Lakecreek! 


*Let me say I have nothing but love for the lunch ladies of this world. They have hard jobs, they get paid very little, and they have to deal with hungry and picky kids all day long. My story is only meant to demonstrate the limited resources the typical lunch lady is given.

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