Damn, Skippy. Extra chunky, low fat. Just kidding. But seriously, folks. Here’s a little tidbit that was brought to my attention last week by a certain little local/slow food foodie. And it involves our fair city and our fair city’s schools. In an effort to combat the evils of childhood obesity the New York City schools have gone and done something very stupid. After initially banning all bake sales or any fund raiser where students sell food, the city went back on its word.
(bye, bye, guys!)
Now, students are allowed to sell food but only fresh fruit and vegetables and a predetermined list of prepackaged foods, including but not limited, to blackberry Nutrigrain bars and low fat Doritos. You may think this is reasonable. If it were about allergies, maybe, yes. But no, this is a calorie and fat content battle. Evil cupcakes, fudge and all species of sweet treats are the culprits here.
Yeah fucking right. Because who knows what the hell is in Nutrigrain bars that makes the filling that consistency, it’s sure as shit not just pectin! Hrmmm… upon further investigation I’ve found out what all IS in fact in these miraculous Nutrigrain bars that are the little knights in shinning armor that will defeat the evil homemade baked goods. Annnnnnnd…. drumroll please…. the very first ingredient in the filling is…. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!!! Surprise, surprise. In fact, just to show that I am not manipulating any of the facts, here’s the complete list of ingredients from the horse’s mouth. I quote the Kellogg’s website here: “FILLING: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, GLYCERIN, BLACKBERRIES, SUGAR, WATER, APPLE PUREE CONCENTRATE, SODIUM CITRATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SODIUM ALGINATE, CITRIC ACID, METHYLCELLULOSE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, MALIC ACID, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CARAMEL COLOR, RED #40, BLUE #1.”
(get it? fake fooood)
Mmmmm, I love modified cornstarch in the morning! Not to mention my daily dose of red #40. Puh-leaseee. You know what goes into homemade chocolate chip cookies made with organic ingredients? Flour, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, chocolate chips and eggs. One of these things is not like the other. One is food and one is not. And let’s not even get started on the low fat Doritos- here’s a tip, they have MSG in them. Good God. Let’s just pump these kids full of corn, shall we? Read anything by Michael Pollan and you’ll know why I’m pissed about this.
Besides what it is that they are actually selling, I get it. I am all for combating the childhood obesity epidemic and I’m all for selling fresh fruit and veggies but to masquerade name brand corn filled fakeries as “healthy fare” for school kids is awful. And as far as avoiding mystery ingredients in homemade goodies like some Crisco-filled-something-or-other, I get it.
But how about these ideas: either limit the number of treats each kid can buy or make the parents or older kids who’ve made the items post up the recipe next to them. And the worst of it is, like anyone who has ever been a kid or teenager knows, what you want the most is what you are denied. Dad doesn’t like the new boyfriend? You make dates with him even more frequently. Mom won’t let you wear that top? You but it in 5 colors. Your school teacher won’t allow iPods in study hall? You turn that shit UP when you’re riding home on the train. This is the same idea. Without teaching self control, portion control, decision making and simple nutrition when it comes to food, when kids are on their own they will go bananas and here’s a hint, no actual bananas will be involved. Snoballs, Cheetos and Big Macs will be involved and it will be ugly. And potentially deadly. Let’s not fuck around. This is dumb and the school system needs to work this out before they are just plain working against themselves (not to mention bowing down to corporate “food” suppliers like Kellogg’s and Frito Lay).
Think before you eat.
-Pebbles van Peebles