Food For Thought: BAHS Kitchen Staff Members Betty Young, Patricia Wrestley & Faith Jalieba
By Michael Levy
The blandness of school lunches is a common complaint among students. Don’t feel special – it’s been this way for generations. But, beyond our complaints, what lies behind the slab of protein on those trays, and the obligatory sides?
First off – The Food & Nutrition Services Department of the Broward school district provides over 30 million meals a year, and many of the district’s students receive free breakfasts and free or reduced lunches, according to the district website. The menus meet federal dietary guidelines, and the focus is on healthy food to aid student achievement. And don’t blame the kitchen staff if it doesn’t taste like your auntie’s cooking. They don’t actually cook the stuff from scratch. That job goes to food vendors contracted by the district. Boyd’s staff does the handling, heating and basic preparation. They get you feed so you can focus in class on a full stomach.
Just ask Ms. Patty Wrestley, an assistant cook at BAHS. “School lunch is nutritious, and it’s comprised of ingredients that are healthy for students,” she told Boyd Anderson reporters recently. Local companies approved by the United States Department of Agriculture provide the food, she added, and the menu always consists of whole wheat, vegetables and fruit. Very little oil is used in the preparation. Much of what we’re served is baked or boiled.
So, we could all complain a bit less. And the next time you’re tempted to toss out that school lunch apple on your tray – eat it instead. Those nutrients and fructose will help you power through the day.