Just brown and water  MAR 18 2003

French Week continues over at Idlewords, and Sunday's installment compares French & American school cafeteria menus, rightly blasting Americans for providing our children (widely marketed to us by our government and corporations as "our future") with substandard, unimaginative, unhealthy and corporate-controlled food. Here's a sample:

Finally, notice how hard it is to eat a healthy diet at the American school. You would be relegated to a ghetto of garden salads, 'soups of the day', and whatever nutritious innards you could pull out of the breaded main dish. The message American kids get is that healthy food is second-rate and tastes bad, that they should eat lots of meat, cheese and potatoes, and that eating fast food every day is a normal diet.

There is no suggestion (like in the French schools) that a palate is something that must be nurtured and formed over time. Instead, kids are taught to favor sweet, fatty, salty foods and treat eating as just another source of entertainment.

The process shows no signs of slowing, either. The current push for irradiating meat (under the euphemism of 'cold pasteurization') is an attempt by the beef industry to make meat safer not by improving hygiene at the slaughterhouse, but by rendering contaminated meat harmless. Presumably, it doesn't matter whether meat in school lunches has been in contact with cowshit, as long as it is no longer infectious.

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