Today, the LA Times is featuring an article on the changes coming to the LAUSD menu.
The district faces difficulties on several fronts. Many schools do not have actual cooking facilities, and only heat the food trucked in the night before. Lunch staffs have been cut or demoted, since they’re heating and serving food–not making it. And apparently, they need to make the lunch for about 95 cents per serving.
And, perhaps the biggest issue, they are dealing with kids. I don’t care how hungry a kid is, I know what goes in the trash currently. Kids are picky. Chickpea stew might be a great idea for an adventurous adult, but for a kindergartener? My daughter is fascinated with vegetarian and vegan food, but I’m pretty sure she’s in the minority.
At her school, there are kids who only buy on pizza day. They won’t be buying anymore. There is NO pizza. Literally.
LAUSD has a test kitchen where they roll out new menu items and taste-test them among students and parents. It might be a good idea to start a similar campaign at the school sites. Because while a Vegetable Po Boy might be tasty, you’re going to need to prove it to a very skeptical student body. With a more global menu, there will be all sorts of excited kids who see familiar foods or they want to try–but there are also going to be kids who will be hungry.
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