Thursday, April 23, 2009

In defense of things homemade

My Mom is a retired home economics teacher. One of the classes she taught was a foods course. We learned all sorts of things related to nutrition, food groups, ingredients, measurements, and cooking techniques. For lab exercises, we baked homemade pies, prepared eggs in different ways, made Japanese tempura (exotic, exciting stuff for us rural Minnesota kids!), and even cooked our own Thanksgiving turkey dinner, just to name a few things. Mom even had me return to her class long after I graduated to show the kids how to make a delicious, nutritious stir-fry. It was great.

There is a story making its way around the local news scene today about a school district in the south metro that is banning birthday treats for kids starting next fall. Canceling the birthday treats wasn't even the part that irked me, even thought it is beyond silly. What really ticked me off was the line in the Star-Tribune article where the parent who was opposed to the measure stated, “her family has always followed safety rules about sending in store-bought treats instead of home-baked goods.”

That is right; you can’t bring baked goods from home to school. In fact, last fall Michael Ruhlman blogged about a California school where their high school bake sale fundraisers were prohibited from selling homemade brownies and cupcakes because of similar rules. What is going on here?

That essentially means a class such as my Mom's (or at least the activities that were part of the class) probably wouldn’t fly at schools that have rules such as these. It pisses me off to no end that somehow a box of Twinkies filled with preservatives and mystery ingredients would have been allowed, yet some cookies made with loving care completely from scratch would have been banned under a so-called "wellness policy." This is getting sad.

Of course, to combat this misery, this evening I made some beautiful homemade pizza dough. However, I will be sure not to bring it anywhere near a school, as I am guessing that my horribly unnatural concoction of unbleached flour, water, yeast, kosher salt, sugar, organic extra virgin olive oil, tomato sauce, and real cheese would be held up at the door to make way for the Domino's delivery guy... :)

In other local food news, please enjoy this story where chaos ensued at a Popeye's Chicken in Minneapolis when the store chose not to honor an advertised $4.99 promotion. Man, do people ever get upset...and over fast food at that! It is funny how this works out, but I never seem to have these sorts of confrontations when I do my own cooking. ;-)

Click on Tom to play the video



As you might have guessed, I did not run today! Even though it was...83 degrees? Wow. Of course, they are predicting a high of 50 for Saturday, so this will be more typical of the spring weather I know and love!

Until next time,

Jean
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