In my limited experience with school lunches (my mom packed mine most days), I was the 4th grader that walked straight to the salad bar to fill her plate with croutons and a pool of ranch dressing. It was one of my favorite things to eat, back then.
I read with interest one of the latest articles on Gilt Taste, How School Lunch Reform Can Begin at the Table, because it touches on an angle not often focused on by most media stories. It described a small experiment that was conducted at a summer camp in 2010, where instead of long lines and a free-for-all atmosphere, campers sat down to "family style" tables, and each camper took turns being the lead. It reinforced the family meal concept of sitting down and enjoying a meal together instead of, as the article puts it, "of waiting in line, then eating a mozzarella stick running around the lunchroom.”
It also got me thinking about the food in school lunch cafeterias, because as important as it is that the system be reformed to offer healthy, wholesome ingredients to our nation's children, there's also something to be said about encouraging the same eating habits at home so that when grilled zucchini is offered, children will clamour for it like they would a french fry.
There are no easy answers, and debates on both sides of the table as to how to proceed, but I love that in the summer of 2010, a group of campers understood what it meant to truly enjoy their meal.