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Despite this we stay for December 1, 2011

Potatoes in School Lunches

by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO— Brace yourself. The students in Huerfano schools eat potatoes. You may want to put your house up for sale right now and get as far away from here as possible. I know this little factoid because, at the beginning of November, the Senate reluctantly voted to allow schools to continue serving high-calorie, starchy potatoes in school lunches.
I’m sorry, but I feel like I just got back from a 40-year trip to Jupiter. Congress actually voted to allow kids to eat potatoes? I’m telling you right now, I LOVE potatoes. I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a “meat and potatoes” family. We didn’t have Chinese food. We didn’t have Mexican food. We didn’t have bagels. We didn’t have pizza. [Ok, we had something called pizza, but it wasn’t real pizza. It was a four-inch square of dough with tomato sauce and cheese on it, and very little of both. And it was cold.] We had meat and potatoes, and sometimes dandelion greens, and I turned out alright. [Ok, ok, that may be a matter for debate – but it has nothing to do with the fact that I ate potatoes.]
So where is the vote on that yellow margarine substitute lovingly referred to as “spread?” How about that red Jell-o that doesn’t have any flavor? Personally I’ve always had a problem with corn dogs, which are neither corn nor dog. On the topic of foods in school lunches, a school board in Salem, Massachusetts surveyed their students, and one wrote, “I would rather eat my arm.” And, no, I didn’t make that up.
Now, I’m sure the lunches at our Huerfano schools are the exception, and they are both delicious and nutritious. And I’m also sure they serve potatoes, a major product of Colorado and particularly the San Luis Valley.
I’m wondering what Congress would have suggested to replace potatoes in school lunches. Are they looking for something more nutritious than potatoes? I know, how about earthworms! Earthworms are 62% protein, 1.7% calcium and only 18% fat. Of course, deep frying them would increase the fat content somewhat. But they would look pretty similar to dark French fries. If you don’t like the idea of earthworms, how about cockroaches? They are 25% protein. Large grasshoppers have a smorgasbord of nutrients and minerals: 21% protein, 35% calcium, 5% iron, 6% fat, and only 4% carbohydrate. What a great way to solve the summer infestations of Huerfano grasshoppers. Just eat them! Well, I don’t mean us adults would eat them. I mean, include them in school lunches instead of those nasty potatoes.
Then again, maybe we should just stick with meat and potatoes, however they are prepared. I don’t think we need to take a vote of the local students. I’m pretty sure I know what they’ll choose when the options are potatoes or earthworms. And if potatoes are outlawed, only outlaws will have potatoes.

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