Bravo that Humboldt schools coalesce a student's botanical curiosity with a reduction in food budgets ("School Lunch 2.0," March 22). I'm glad we're replacing garbage calories with living nutrients. Soup is good food. School lunch is nothing like "1985. Or even 1965," as Jada Calypso Brotman wrote. ?I had my first school lunch in 1971. It was like going to McDonald's. It outclassed the fluffer-nutter sandwich, Alligator baggie of apples, and sack of potato chips in my Yellow Submarine boxed lunch.
Lunch ladies weren't "frightening." One lady had gold dental work and reminded me of my Grandma when she smiled. ?My dad used to ask what we wanted to be when we grew up, and once my sister, Elizabeth, answered that she wanted to be "a lunch lady."
School lunch at PS whatever number, in 1971, was equal to what the "local" corporate diner has priced today at $6.99. Meat wasn't a mystery. Dairy wasn't an oily facsimile. More leafy greens and less orangeade, of course, would have improved the menu. There was no breakfast available. At the time I was the only kid whose mom had a job. Americans in general could have addressed these changes with the same dedication to quality. Instead my child and her classmates scraped food wastes, papers and plastics into gray garbage bins as tall as themselves.
I know I sound like Dana Carvey's old man caricature, but it was good food. It was prepared on site. We used silverware and china plates. It wasn't the Hilton; it was lunchtime in America.
We seem sold that education doesn't improve by throwing money at it, and we lather, rinse, and repeat that a quality school lunch is just not in the budget, but we find funds to pay public employees to haul the kitchen waste miles away.
Positive change is often hard-won against rock-hard realities by devoted individuals. Maybe thank them and ask how we can further help. It's premature to pat ourselves on the backs, however; these are baby steps.
Education will yield solutions -- perhaps feed your parents well.
Kathryn Bergman, Arcata