School Lunch (image: krikketgirl/flickr)

School Lunch (image: krikketgirl/flickr)

You could smell the schadenfreude — not that most of big-meat-industry organ Meatingplace’s readers or writers would know the word, much less be able to spell it — a mile away (full article viewable by free subscription only):

Participation in the [LA Unified School District's] lunch program, which serves 650,000 meals daily, dropped by the thousands, and principals reported uneaten meals thrown away en masse.

This was after the district switched to a healthier menu and ditched things like strawberry-flavored milk.

But here’s what Meatingplace — which cribbed its piece from a Los Angeles Times article — won’t tell you: The kids rejected the new meals not because they preferred Cheetos to real tamales, but because all too often, the meals had been prepared or stored improperly, leading to burned, watery, and/or moldy food. From the original LA Times piece:

Andre Jahchan, a 16-year-old sophomore at Esteban Torres High School, said the food was “super good” at the summer tasting at L.A. Unified’s central kitchen. But on campus, he said, the chicken pozole was watery, the vegetable tamale was burned and hard, and noodles were soggy.


Among other complaints, Vanderbok said salads dated Oct. 7 were served Oct. 17. (Binkle said the dates indicate when the food is at its highest quality, not when it goes bad. They have been removed to avoid misinterpretation.)


Van Nuys history teacher Doug Kayne turned the discontent into a class assignment, asking his 11th-grade U.S. history students to write five letters about the food to the mayor, the media and First Lady Michelle Obama. In class recently, students complained about mold on noodles, undercooked meat and hard rice.

As the article notes, the food got high marks in the test pilot, where it was well prepared. The problems occurred when it came to being entrusted to LA’s school cooks, a large number of whom I suspect were used to being able to pour pre-made, preservative-laden industrial slop into warmers as opposed to actually cooking real food from scratch (not to mention making sure that the real food didn’t go bad as unlike fake food it can’t be stored for decades on end).

But if you’re a typical Meatingplace reader, who never clicks through to see the original articles from which Meatingplace cribs (much less reads for comprehension), you will never see any of this. (Exercise for the Mercury Rising/MyFDL reader: Register at Meatingplace, surf to their version of the LAT article, and leave a comment pointing out what the Meatingplace folks left out. Then let me know how long it takes before you’re banned from commenting.)


(Crossposted to Mercury Rising.)