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 Post subject: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:29 am 
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Not a creepy cheese pocket person
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Chefs at the Active Learning Elementary School have swapped chicken, turkey and ham for black beans, tofu and falafel, and kids are digging in with delight.

“This is so good!” squealed 9-year-old Marian Satti, devouring her black bean and cheddar cheese quesadilla Tuesday at lunch. “I’m enjoying that it didn’t have a lot of salt in it. ”


This is exciting news. (Though someone coached that kid on the salt comment!)

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/que ... z2S3F0fnZE


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:35 am 
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That's awesome! I hope it's tasty.

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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 10:32 am 
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Has Isa on speed dial
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Mixed feelings.

I’m mostly for, than against, even though the menus are not vegan.

I wish they called it plant-based instead of vegetarian. Plant-based is the nutritional dietary term where vegetarian and vegan is a socio-political description, though admittedly most people don’t really know or care. A good reason to go with the nutritional description is that even with slow food, real food, low carb, and paleo etc., plant-based can fit in those frameworks and doesn’t necessarily mean the exclusion of meat so there’s less reason for people to get indignant.

I am concerned over backlash. Implementing such a plan on people who aren’t ripe to the idea becomes more contentious than it needs to be. For evidence, “don’t read the comments” is in full effect for that article.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 12:29 pm 
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The school is 70% Asian, so I would guess that a lot of the kids don't eat at least certain kinds of meat for religious reasons. I've read that some schools in NYC only serve poultry and fish, no pork or beef, because in schools with a whole lot of Hindu kids and also a whole lot of Muslim kids, either pork or beef would be something that a significant portion of the kids wouldn't eat.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:11 pm 
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My mom posted this article on her facebook, and a ton of people jumped on it, saying that it was horrible that the school was taking away the kids' "choice". I don't remember school cafeterias ever having much of a choice. You either ate the disgusting slop they served, or you brought your own lunch. Even as a meat-eating kid, I would have preferred the meals in this article over the disgusting boiled hot dogs my school served!


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:16 pm 
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Larisa wrote:
The school is 70% Asian
Where are you getting that figure from?

If the local school administrators and parents decided to make the menu plant-based, then that should have been mentioned in The Daily News article. The way the article presents it, it seems like a top down experimental management policy of the city and schools chancellor.

The Asian population of Queens doesn’t seem to be all that vegetarian. Even if there is a large Hindu/Muslim population, that wouldn’t explain chicken and fish getting dropped from the menu. Maybe there is a pocket of cultural vegetarians in that school though; New York City, Queens especially, is like that.

The Washington Post blames Mayor Bloomberg.
Where’s the beef? Bloomberg launches vegetarian-only school lunch

Ugh, the 1980s wants their fastfood marketing campaign as headline back. The Washington Post seems to be confused about the dietary difference with veganism and vegetarianism.

The Washington Post wrote:
Public School 244 in the Flushing section of New York’s Queens borough has gone vegan — the first public school in the nation to serve only vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch.
Not once, but twice.

The Washington Post wrote:
The school’s switch to vegan comes amid a years-long drive from Mayor Bloomberg to improve health choices of city residents.
That’s annoying. Could reporters at least double check things on Wikipedia or something.

The Washington Post is just re-reposting what The Daily News did so I don’t think they really know anything about whose idea it was. They just threw Mayor Bloomberg in there to complain about. “First he took our cigarettes and our beloved trans fat, then he came after our soda, now he’s taking away our children’s meat!” Whatever.

Here’s some very useful information via ABC News
Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian
ABC News wrote:
When the school opened in 2008, they started serving vegetarian meals three days a week. The campus became a vegetarian test kitchen for the city, Groff said.”
So the plant-based menu didn’t start yesterday.

ABC News wrote:
The recipes were a hit, Groff said, prompting the school to expand its meat-free meals to four days a week and then adopting a 100 percent vegetarian kitchen in January.
There’s also a video with that blog article; the sample of children shown don’t seem to skew all that Asian.

Oh, and may I gloat a moment.
ABC News wrote:
If the herbivore-friendly grub doesn’t suit students, Groff said they’re always welcome to pack their lunch, including meat.
Suck it meat-eaters, and I mean that in the friendliest non-confrontational way that could be spoken to an elementary school child as possible. Well, what I’m trying to say is, welcome to our world. Actually, any vegan kids wouldn’t be that much better off with a heavy dairy and egg vegetarian menu.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 4:12 pm 
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Citizen Ritson wrote:
Larisa wrote:
The school is 70% Asian
Where are you getting that figure from?
Nevermind. I found the stat on NBC News

NYC public school swaps chicken nuggets for tofu, becomes first all-vegetarian cafeteria
NBC News wrote:
Administrators noticed a higher number of vegetarian meals in the cafeteria, he said, partially because of the school's population: P.S. 244 is about 70 percent Asian and Indian.

And it seems to have little to do with schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott, or Mayor Bloomberg.
NBC News wrote:
P.S. 244, which serves 400 students from pre-kindergarten through grade three, went all-vegetarian in January, but was just publicly recognized by the New York city schools chancellor, Dennis Walcott, during a visit on Tuesday.

The plant-based menu started in 2008, for a largely Asian/vegetarain school population and...
NBC News wrote:
"Our head cook is also a vegetarian herself and a parent in the school," Groff said.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:20 pm 
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I had gotten the 70% figure from NBC, but I'm not sure where they got it. InsideSchools, which I've generally found to be pretty accurate for other stuff (I've never really looked up ethnicity there before), says 83% Asian. http://insideschools.org/elementary/browse/school/1559


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:36 pm 
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Larisa wrote:
I had gotten the 70% figure from NBC, but I'm not sure where they got it. InsideSchools, which I've generally found to be pretty accurate for other stuff (I've never really looked up ethnicity there before), says 83% Asian. http://insideschools.org/elementary/browse/school/1559
Noted, thanks!

annabazoo wrote:
That's awesome! I hope it's tasty.
The broccoli looks good, not overcooked. I always liked broccoli as a kid, I was always confused by the repeated claim that children are supposed to hate it. The tray of potatoes look real good. There’s a shot of chickpeas and zucchini on NBC that looks pretty good, well, good for a photo of food in a Styrofoam tray.

This menu description “Roasted organic tofu with cacciatore sauce, whole-grain pasta and roasted zucchini,” sounds fabulous. I can imagine sitting in a posh vegan restaurant and having that special recited aloud by the wait staff.

Vegetarian meals in NYC public schools weren’t that unusual when I was younger, at least on certain days. There was cheese pizza day and a stuffed shells day. People should blame vegetarian food in the public schools on Christians for meatless Fridays (during Lent) and Italians for their cuisine.

So mostly positive, but the The ELMOO milk carton with the cartoon cow make me angry. It’s the marketing that's irritating me more than the actual presence of the product.

Also, I must hate myself as I have been skimming some of the 300-plus comments on NBC’s site.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:43 pm 
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I feel like this is awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:45 pm 
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Yeah, that sounds wayyy better than any food i was ever served at a school cafeteria. I hate how people get so upset over taking away your right to choose. No one is force-feeding these kids broccoli and tofu. They can choose to eat veggie meals at school, or they can choose to bring whatever they want from home.

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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 7:10 pm 
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Naked Under Apron
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annabazoo wrote:
Yeah, that sounds wayyy better than any food i was ever served at a school cafeteria. I hate how people get so upset over taking away your right to choose. No one is force-feeding these kids broccoli and tofu. They can choose to eat veggie meals at school, or they can choose to bring whatever they want from home.


Well, 63% of the kids there qualify for free lunch, so bringing food from home might not be an option. But from the articles and reports where kids are interviewed, it seems like most of them like the meals.


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 Post subject: Re: NYC public school cafeteria goes vegetarian
PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 9:05 pm 
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I heard about this yesterday on WNYC and they didn't say why the school was making the change. I thought that was weird. There could be so many reasons...did the parents push the change? The administration? It was unclear.


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