HOW DARE TRUMP WANT KIDS TO EAT BETTER THAN PRISONERS!
I won’t comment on the politics for either side with this. I only want to say: My freshman year of high school in a rural town, we had three lunch lines. One had stuffed crust pizza, fresh french fries, or chickenburgers. Another had homemade southern soul foods (a staple in any Louisianian school). The last was “the outside line” and it was usually Po'Boys or hamburgers. Everyone ate well and there was rarely more than two trash cans for the lunch room and neither seemed to fill fast. The very next year Mrs. Obama’s meal plan hit the schools. The pizza line was shut down and the quality and amount of food served to kids quickly diminished. By my senior year, no one would eat. Plates sat stacked in the middle of the tables, mostly untouched and full of wrappers from the vending machine foods because no one wanted to eat the school lunches anymore. You were lucky to be let out early for lunch because by the end of the first lunch shift the vending machines would be almost empty. There were about five trash cans and a constant janitor because all the food was being tossed instead of being eaten. I remember always eating outside with my friends and 99% of the time we would eat from the outside line. I remember opening the to go box and seeing Po'boy buns and being so excited (because at that time they were the best thing the school could serve) but then, to my great horror, I would bite into it and find that the contents were just a slice of Spam and a half melted slice of cheese. I remember hearing so many people saying they couldn’t wait to be out of school for the day because they were starving. When I asked about lunch they would tell me that the food was so bad that they couldn’t eat it and that they didn’t have money to spend at the vending machines every day. I remember being one of those people after my dad lost his job. I remember holding a conversation with one of the lunch ladies after I graduated from there about why the meals were so terrible and all she said was that they tried to make them taste good, it was just so hard after funding from the state got so low and the meal plan from Mrs. Obama got so bad for them. I particularly remember one semester of high school where I was stuck in a class that let out late (the teacher talked A LOT and was one of those that always said “the bell doesn’t dismiss you, I do”) on the second lunch shift. I would often be in line for food and get sent away with at least half of the others there because they would run out of food. I say all this because I want people to realize what this did to kids like me in poor states and in rural communities. At least two thirds of my school was starving. The students there now are probably STILL starving. I think what Mrs. Obama tried to do was very admirable. But what failed with it, is schools like mine couldn’t afford what she planned because we were in the boonies. We had little to no funding outside of football (our one saving grace) and of course that funding rarely went to anything else. What we need is a system built for the poor kids in the middle of nowhere that buds outward to even the richest of schools. Something that works for everyone and does so actively, not just in theory. I think Mrs. Obama wanted that, but it fell through too badly before it could be saved.
This is just another example of how socialism dehumanizes people. Look at those meals, and look at how comically easy they’d be to salvage into something that would at least look like something you’d accept eating, if you actually gave a damn about what the food was past its nutrition statistics. You don’t have to be a government approved foodtician to fix them for pennies. Like by adding fucking hotdog buns, for starters. Something whatever fed who designed that lunch didn’t even think to take into consideration was that food is more than just nutrition stats. Look at how military rations are designed.
A Japanese ration is typically about 50% rice to 50% other food. Most American soldiers will happily eat any JSDF MRE (google up some examples if you’re interested) if you put it in front of them at an American military base. They’d probably have a laugh with the sheet of dried seaweed (if it’s a type that has one), or any other foreignish items. But they’d eat it, and they’d probably like it, especially if it was something like the hamburg steak or beef bowl type MRE. But if they had to live on them for two weeks in the field? Morale is going to be shot, even harder than it’d be if they had to deal with two weeks of American MREs. MREs are a great example of attempts to keep morale high even when cost has to be kept to a minimum. The only reason we’re not serving kids the same thing we serve soldiers in the field is because, well… you’re really not supposed to eat MREs that often for that long a time. They’re not exactly healthy food, by any stretch of the imagination. But even the army gets fucking pizza!
Take that second meal. Add two slices of bread, a slice of tomato, and a handful of shredded lettuce, and some of that ranch dressing, and you’d have a totally acceptable sandwich. It’d probably not be the most utterly filling thing, and nowhere near as nice as a goddamn po’boy for lunch, but it’d get you over until school was let out. Would it be your go-to meal? Maybe not, but you’d all be able to wolf it down for a second half of a school day no prob.
Of course it’d cost somewhat more, but… it’s bulk purchases of shredded lettuce. How expensive can it be? I just found an eight ounce bag of shredded lettuce on sale at Wal Mart for $1.67. That’s 21 cents an ounce. That’s not even a bulk purchase of the individually sold bags of lettuce, let alone a bulk purchase of 50 pound bags of just lettuce or anything. That’s right-off-the-grocery-store-shelf 21 cents an ounce of lettuce.
Throw it on an eight inch white sub roll instead, add a few more tomatoes, some black olives, and you’d have a pretty damn good meal in my opinion (not that different from what I ate in school every day of high school). The food in my high school cafeteria was so good that I was never once even tempted to use my senior privilege to go off school grounds and eat any any of the shops around the school. Even to buy a similar sandwich at a convenience store down the street would take a lot more time (to get to the store and just purchase it) and cost two or three times as much (because school lunch subsidies). Hell, if I worked at the school and teachers could get those meals at those prices, I don’t think I’d even think of bringing a sandwich from home. I legitimately enjoyed those lunches.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone should be able to eat like this for every meal, and if they’re poor and eating worse they’re just lazy. I’m sure you’ve all seen this, and know why it’s bullshit.
Not everyone has the room to store a week’s worth of that or the time to cook it every day, after all their other life tasks; among a million other reasons. That’s a valid reason to not eat like this!
But you would seriously not believe how cheap it is to buy deli turkey, lettuce, and bread in bulk. How do you think sub shops do it? Yes, a sub shop sub is going to be far more expensive than a school lunch sub, but… they’re a business. How much do you think they’re going to be marked up? How do you think the guy above’s school managed to afford an “outside line” with po’boys? Do you really think a sandwich of sliced deli meat, lettuce, and tomatoes is going to be more expensive than fried seafood?
This isn’t to suggest that we should implement anything like this in America, or even that it’d work, but I found this to be an interesting look into how a typical(ish) Japanese school manages to serve lunch to all students for about $2.32 a head, and a bit more of a look into the sort of difference into the food being served and overall food culture, while also teaching the students about something more than just academics.
Despite its earned reputation for focusing on lectures and repetition, very different from the ideal education scenario in the west, Japan (perhaps, unsurprisingly, given the culture) actually puts a lot of emphasis on learning teamwork and cooperation, and they love doing it via physical health as much as possible. For example, that’s, first and foremost, the purpose that the typical school sports festival you see in anime (and the division of the school into red and white teams) is primarily intended to teach, which is why you might notice that all of the sports have a heavy team-element.