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I know it’s only Wednesday but I am done! Although I am sad because this may have been my favorite rotation so far. And I didn’t think I would ever say such a thing. School foodservice was a pain in my side before last Monday. Cynthia, our preceptor, was so generous and helped us make the most out of this rotation. We visited schools and observed lunch, met kitchen staff, sat in on 2 meetings (one with dietitians from the parishes in south LA and the other with her school cafeteria managers), helped cook and serve a Thanksgiving luncheon, took a joy ride field trip with Cynthia to her house for lunch, took a survey in the middle school about pizza, and tested a whole wheat chocolate chip cookie on Destrehan High School unobservant students.

We sat in on a meeting Monday morning with Cynthia’s school cafeteria managers. These ladies are in charge of purchasing, invoices, making sure all Cynthia’s menu planning is implemented, communicating with servers and district office and parents…they run the show the children see. Cynthia runs the show no one tends to see. Anyway the meeting was one of the most uncomfortable situations I have been in. The accounts receivable lady (not to be mean, but she wore the SAME shirt Monday-Wednesday…ew) at the district office came in firing negative remarks to specific managers and pin pointing specific instances where they made errors. I’m no management major but Liz and I were texting each other the whole time about how incorrect the situation was handled. That was not the time to name names and blame. A blanket statement would have been appropriate. Not to mention she was yelling at ladies the same age as her. You definitely don’t talk to peers like that and you shouldn’t be making excuses for your attitude after you embarrass someone in front of 20 other ladies.

After that Liz and I headed to Hurst Middle School where we passed out a survey to the students at lunch. What happened to kids? They were so rude. This is exactly how one student responded to me:

“Hi, I’m Alysse. Would you like to take a survey about the pizza? It’s only 2 questions and it will help the cafeteria better understand what you like to eat!”
“Um, no. I don’t want to take your survey.” *rolls eyes and giggles with her posse*

She is lucky I didn’t break out the finger and the “oh no you did not just say that!!”

Where are the parents and why do you allow your kids to say things like that? Results of survey: 1/2 the kids would rather starve than have something else besides pizza, 1/2 the kids want a hamburger or nachos if they can’t have pizza (ha! keep dreaming) and 8% of kids answered incorrectly (ie. Sasquatch toes or unicorn horns). Thanks you little %+*?!^* for the answers! They are definitely gonna help the cafeteria improve nutrition and taste…

Onto the cookies. Part of our competencies included coming up with a recipe to meet school lunch standards and testing it in the kitchen and on the tray line. Liz had recently made 100% whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and they were surprisingly delicious. We decided to try it in the high school and Cynthia was ecstatic about the idea. We headed to Destrehan High School this morning to get started. Cue the pictures!

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In case you didn’t notice these cookies were pretty dark. We didn’t use ANY all-purpose flour. 4 pounds of whole wheat flour went into 162 cookies. Nutritional analysis: 157 calories per cookie.

We watched the kids at lunch purchase the cookies thinking they were the normal cookies. The baker at the school puts 6 pounds of butter and 6 pounds of shortening in her cookie dough! And they are still the same calories but ours are 100% whole grain so they follow the new guidelines that will have to be implemented in 2013. One student brought the cookie back and said he accidently got oatmeal instead of chocolate chip. When we told him why it tasted like that he was surprised but told us he still thought the cookie was good. We got rave reviews! And good thing because they won’t have a cookie at all if they didn’t like the whole wheat. It was clear most didn’t even notice.

It was a great 2 weeks! Next week (aka 3 days) I’m at LSU AgCenter in City Hall downtown. Don’t know what I’m in store for because all the schools are closed all week and it is an education program.

Tonight I’m headed to Charlie’s Steakhouse for a fundraiser for a Type 1 Diabetes foundation in town. Tomorrow I’m going for a morning run (finally! Afternoon runs are torture) and a Thanksgiving feast at my Dad’s office.

Until next time! Eat Smart and Move More.

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