For about a year, I was pretty hardcore into cooking healthy for the entire family. We tried no dairy to isolate allergies; we tried bento boxes for a healthy twist on brown bagging'; we focused on homegrown produce and local meats; we cut out MSG, certain yellow preservatives, and white sugar; we replaced soy with things like amino acid sauce…
I didn’t go nuts with it all, but if you had my brownies during this time, you better believe they had pumpkin puree in them and you had no idea.
This also means that I made all of the dog’s food from scratch, too. If you aren’t familiar with how spoiled this dog was before we adopted him, it’s worth a few tear-jerking moments here.
I fully recognize that this isn’t really the norm, but it’s what worked for us and I didn’t think much of it. It was simply part of the routine and what needed to be done in order to keep everyone healthy and happy, so it’s what I did.
Well… that is… until one day, the girls came home from school and B saw me mixing the weekly batch of dog food in the kitchen sink.
(Yes, you read that correctly, by the way. Using the sink is a whole lot easier to mix a large batch in than trying to find an appropriate mixing bowl that will happily slop it all over the counter or table while you’re mixing and scooping. Just toss it all in the sink, do your thing, and when you’re done, run some watch to clean up. Voila!)
Anyway, so they come in and B is clearly excited, “Is that supper?!?” To which I could only reply that no, no that is not their supper, and that the food she is so obviously drooling over is indeed the family pet’s dinner instead.
She was noticeably disappointed at that point and announced, “I wish I could eat Buddy’s dinner… ” which is the same point where I realized that I had unknowingly created jealousy over a dog’s food. Oops!
I made up for it immediately by changing our dinner plans to something extra yummy, but it was the first time I had ever seen someone wish s/he were eating an animal’s food instead. I’m not sure if that means the food I was feeding the dog was particularly delicious or if I was failing in the excitement factor for the human food being produced.
Either way, the dog was certainly being fed well, eh?12
The mother, Kristen Bartkiw from Manitoba, sent homemade roast beef, potatoes, milk, carrots, and an orange for her kids’ lunch that day. Because the lunch was missing its second grain, the school gave her kids Ritz crackers to ‘supplement’ the meal and she was subsequently charged $10 ($5 per kid).
Now the price sounds ridiculous for a pack of crackers, but I understand setting it high like that to encourage parents to pay close attention and make sure they’re sending a fully balanced meal. And hey, if they don’t want to go through that effort, I’m sure the school provides a balanced lunch they can choose to buy instead.
The part I find ridiculous is that a pack of crackers doesn’t logically make this meal that much better for the kids. I read in one article that quoted the school worker (or maybe it was a daycare worker?) as saying that she could send microwave Kraft dinner with them every day and it would count as the grain.
I know they’re just enforcing the rules and if they let one bit slide, then it opens it up to a lot of interpretation and conflict….. but come on. Is it really worth their time to go around to every meal and count to make sure each kid has the right number of each type of food? And even if they somehow have nothing better to do, this is no way guarantees the kids will even EAT those foods, so what’s the point?
If I were in this boat, I would probably just toss an extra pack of crackers into the bag every day and be done with it. I don’t think having two grains is nutritionally better for them and would rather add more veggies or fruits if the kids would eat them. I had a hard enough time making sure the bento boxes I used to make had all the right proportions as it was….but to try to make sure I was fitting the school’s guidelines, too, by having separate grains instead of a single, larger portion of one? Ugh.