RODALE NEWS, WASHINGTON, DC—It’s certainly a step in the right direction that the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was finally passed and signed into law last month. It means more nutritious food at schools, no soft drinks and candy in vending machines, and even a tiny bit of money to make school lunches better.
But most school lunch programs still have a long, long way to go. Chefs who are attempting to help schools serve better food, plant gardens, and teach children how to cook have met with a lot of resistance. Stories about negative responses from school lunch ladies, food service directors, principals, school boards, state departments of education are legion.
But the chefs push on. And several of them agreed to provide us with recipes that they either are already using in school cafeterias or plan to use once the schools accept their assistance. Because these recipes are child-tested, they are perfect for parents to cook at home, and a snap for kids to make with their parents. Depending on the age and skill of the child, some children could make them on their own.
Sam Kass, senior policy advisor to first lady Michelle Obama, offers a particularly quick-to-make sandwich, especially if you buy the hummus and have some leftover turkey in the fridge. If not, try his homemade hummus formula; most kids love hummus and like to make it. Ann Cooper, best known as the Renegade Lunch Lady, shares a clever recipe from a student Iron Chef competition held this year at Monarch High School Catering Class in Boulder, CO. Chicago-based executive chef Paul Kahan, of the acclaimed restaurants Blackbird, Publican, and avec, suggests a flavorful stewed squash dish that's easy to freeze and reheat. And Bill Telepan of Telepan restaurant, who began working with a New York City school a couple of years ago, has provided a recipe for a Latin chicken and black bean salad combo that's sure to satisfy.
All of these dishes can be prepared ahead of time, perhaps on a weekend, leaving only the cooking to be done before dinner. They have been tested, and are a delicious way to start the new year. And while they were created for school kids to enjoy, adults will love them, too.
Published on: January 4, 2011
Updated on: January 5, 2011