Tales from the Lunchroom: The Story Continues

12 Jan

So a couple of days ago I posted a note I had sent in to my son’s first grade teacher.

Guess how this turned out?

Guess how this turned out?

The story goes that he started complaining that his friends wouldn’t sit with him in the lunchroom because they said his food smelled bad. Regular readers know the lengths I go to to make sure he has good home-cooked food every day, which is mostly rice and beans, pasta with vegetables, quesadillas (yes, with beans sometimes). I would very much like to be able to send him in with lunch money, but what I have seen from the cafeteria menus looked pretty, well, not-what-we-eat-dear (mind you, the new January menu looks like someone has made some changes: baked chicken fingers, homemade macaroni and cheese…so I am giving it another look this month since I need a break!).

So I sent in the note, a bit skeptical of the story and thinking that perhaps this was actually a play for lunch money and tater tots for lunch. Then at dismissal the teacher asked to speak to me.

It turns out to be true. The teacher observed them in the cafeteria and indeed his friends wouldn’t sit with him (he had cheese and broccoli quesadillas). So she spoke to them about not commenting on other people’s food. She was immediately responsive, very complimentary as to the little man’s lunches and his good eating habits, and — it seems to me — very gentle in her redirection of the kids.

I also heard from some of the moms after I posted the note on Facebook, and of course they were immediately supportive and reminded their kids to be kind about other people’s lunches. And you know, I have learned it goes both ways. I tend to be judgmental about the way people eat (you are, of course, not surprised) and this was a reminder to me to get off my high horse and understand that not everyone cares as deeply about this issue or has the wherewithal to do what I do about it. And that if I want tolerance and acceptance, I have to be ready to return the courtesy.

So, peace and love, everyone, and pasta with a Marcella Hazan-inspired incredibly easy tomato sauce and a bit of broccoli for the boy’s lunch tomorrow. Or maybe those new baked chicken fingers that are on the school menu?

I will keep you posted on  any new developments. Thanks for all your comments! (here’s the original post)

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14 Responses to “Tales from the Lunchroom: The Story Continues”

  1. Bluejellybeans January 14, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    ¡Muy bien dicho Natalia! It goes both ways indeed. :) Nosotros vivimos muy cerca del colegio así que mis hijos viene a casa a comer al medio día, pero es cierto que si el menu del colegio no es apropiado, pues la solución es llevar la comida desde casa. Podrías llamar a Jamie Oliver para que lleve la food revolution al colegio de Leandro ;)
    Cuidate,
    Un abrazo,
    G

  2. kathryningrid January 14, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    What a great teaching and community-building opportunity, and lovely the way you handled it. Leandro *and* his classmates benefit. Everybody wins. Including those who make the pasta dish! ;)

  3. Another lunch boxer January 13, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    Turn it into some type of project or kid survey for the science fair, maybe you can start a cafeteria turn around or inspire some moms to be brave enough to pack some broccoli in their child’s lunchbox…..there’s opportunity here :)

  4. Susan at Savvy Single Suppers January 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    It’s impossible to know another’s journey if you have not walked every step in their shoes. So yes, sharing ideas and reasons are good ways to go. An example: This Ottawa morning on icy-slush covered streets and passing some impossibly icy sidewalks I drove to church. I cannot tell you how many people I met running ON THE ROADS, sometimes with their backs to the traffic and with headphones on. For serious runners, their priorities seem to be their health . . . at the risk of being killed by cars. For me, my priority was tending to my soul while my ever-widening butt sat in my warm car. Who has the healthier approach? I can see a case being made for both. I struggled not to judge these ‘road warriors’ as I wove around them. But judging by the numbers in our pews, the runners were in the majority.

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy January 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      What a wonderful anecdote to illustrate balance and choice! Thanks for sharing it…I’m with you on the the soul-tending.

  5. fitsoulandspice January 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    when they see it** not say

  6. fitsoulandspice January 12, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    As a teacher, I see this a lot. Unfortunately, many children are never introduced to healthy food and, as a result, they reject it and don’t understand what it is when they say. Kids being kids, this is something that can be grounds for making jokes towards a peer. Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re being a good parent and your child will thank you later. :) Be well.

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy January 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

      Thanks so much for the kind and supportive words. Educating kids is a big job and involves so very much. I wonder how kids are going to make it in the future if they don’t have contextual knowledge of food and agriculture…not to mention hands-on knowledge of good food!

  7. Mad Dog January 12, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    That sounds like it’s on the road to a happy ending ;-)

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