Monica Eng’s New Gig – School Lunch Reporting

June 11, 2009 at 8:38 am

A lot of people in the food world were pissed off when they learned that the intrepid taster of fish bacon, i.e., cuy; the woman who left herself to the eating mercy of cabbies (not a bad idea), and stayed up with us on 24 hours of chow moved on to a new gig at the Chicago Tribune.  Did people realize that Monica Eng would not leave the food beat, as today’s scathing report on Chicago food lunches show.

On the area of food politics and food reforms, I constantly draw to the Wild One.  Johnny (Marlon Brando never younger) is asked, what are you rebelling against.  “Whaddya got” is the famous quote that practically leads straight to Elvis.  So, I always say, it’s the same thing with food policies, with so much need changes, if anyone asks what are your food priorities or what’s yoru focus, I say, “Whaddya got.”  Monia has her notebook and blackberry aimed at that big whaddya got.  School lunches is just one mess she will be tackling.  In her first salvo, she writes about the ever-present nacho.

Giving kids nachos for lunch may seem surprising in a district that serves neighborhoods where childhood obesity rates are more than double the national average. But nachos, despite being loaded with salt, fat and calories, may just may be the perfect food under the National School Lunch Program. They are cheap and easy to prepare, which is important in school systems with dwindling numbers of working kitchens, minimally trained labor and only about $1 to spend per meal. The dish uses at least two agricultural commodities that form the backbone of the lunch program, corn and meat. And students will happily eat nachos daily — key in a system that financially rewards companies when kids choose to eat their food.

What more ire, go read the story.

Then do something about it. Sign the school lunch petition included in yesterday’s links.