I am noticing that a good number of school food service directors, especially the younger ones, are registered dietitians, licensed dieticians and nutritionist, or have a Masters degree or Ph.D in nutrition. I’m not surprised. If I were a parent with a child in a school, I’d want my food service director to have a degree in childhood nutrition.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Earlier this month, I reported that my school cafeteria is featuring asparagus as the item of this month. Despite my concern that it wouldn’t go over well with kids, it worked out just fine. Not every student took asparagus off of our main meal line, but some did and said they liked it! We’ll be serving again soon.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
When I first started working at my school kitchen, we were already using reusable plates, some utensils, and coffee cups. I advocated for a few other items that were added this year - soupspoons, soup bowls, and glasses. It makes financial sense – with 500 people going through the cafeteria each day, the amount we spend on paper cups easily justifies the cost of glasses and washing them. The biggest problem to adding any more reusable items to our load is space and labor. If one or two members of the kitchen crew are out sick one day, we have disposable items ready.
While I'm no expert on environmental science, the environmental cost of running our commercial dishwasher a few extra times each day to save 150 paper cups from a landfill makes sense to me. We use a dishwashing system that "reduces environmental impact" according to the company's website. Our dishwasher system technician happened to stop by today so I asked him for some details and learned quite a few things: the detergent we use is low in phosphates and BPA, and the system minimized water use. (In fact, speaking to him I realized I should learn more about my kitchen's dishwashing system and its environmental impact. I will put up a post about the details later.)
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Time is a big issue. Someone’s time needs to go toward washing dishes instead of serving or preparing lunch. Another concern is space. With increased use of pots and pans, there needs to be enough space in the dish washing area to hold the pans before and after they go through the dishwasher.
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, my school kitchen stopped using paper plates, foam bowls, and plastic utensils. Now there's even more dishwashing and little space for it. We’re bulging at the seams.
A school nearby recently unveiled a new and spacious kitchen that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. I hear that their salad prep room compares in size to that of my school’s entire kitchen. But that new kitchen lacks a commercial dishwasher. This suggests that they produce tons of trash with the daily use of disposable plates and utensils and that they aren’t aiming to produce their food in-house, which usually warrants the expense of a commercial dishwasher.
On Monday: some pictures of our dishwashing area in action and more about how my school switched from disposable dining-ware to reusable stuff.
The Behind the Kitchen Door Series is a collection of pieces about the different component that make up my school kitchen. The reason I’m writing these pieces is to shed some light on how my school is making improvements to our school lunch. I covered the salad bar last week in two posts, The Salad Bar and More About the Salad Bar. Next week I'll write about the soup bar.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The selection of items that suited my school’s needs impressed me - I walked away with about six items I will follow up on. However, none of those items came from booths designed for schools. Those school booths reminds me what’s wrong with school meals – all the prepackaged processed junk.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
I am writing the menu for the month of April and picked asparagus as the item of the month. My school cafeteria has never served asparagus before. It’s in season, abundant, and fairly inexpensive. I’ve heard that asparagus is not a favorite among kids, but we shall see. It will go in the salad bar as a cold dish this week for our last two lunch periods for middle and high school students.