Eat the Week: Kiddies Get Cocktails, Bagged Lunches Pack It Up, Paltrow Promotes Agave Nectar, and Chipotle Goes Asian
1. This past Monday, the Chicago Tribune relayed that a number of the city’s public schools would be banning home-packed lunches in favor of institutionalized meals. Despite students’ insistence that they like being able to decide what they eat and that much of the cafeteria lunches gets tossed in the can by their classmates, CPS will now mandate that many parents fork over $2.25 a day for their children to eat cafeteria food.
2. While we’re on this chapter, the second season of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution — which aired on April 12 — tried really hard to do a handstand and fell flat on its back. The justifiably concerned chef went knocking on school doors, wanting to ask parents and officials why health wasn’t a more prevalent deciding factor in what gets fed to their children. Too bad LA’s Unified School District pretended they weren’t home. Jamie spent a lot of time on those demonstrations, guys.
3. Kids are truly getting trashed this week. A Detroit branch of Applebee’s apologized Monday for serving a margarita to a toddler instead of apple juice. Apparently, this isn’t an isolated incident at the national chain, nor is it contained to Applebee’s alone. Instead of retraining employees, they should consider hiring ones who can read, or maybe changing their tag line to “I Swear, Mom, It’s Just Juice,” or maybe “Try Our Apple Juice, It’s Actually Booze.” OK, OK, we’ll stop.
4. Tired of getting half your daily caloric intake from a single sandwich? Swing on over to Hardee’s and ask for one of their new Turkey Burgers. With only 23g of fat, 490 calories, and last year’s Miss Universe (dubbed Miss Turkey) as a spokesperson, it’s almost as if the fried mushrooms, multiple slices of Swiss, and 1380mg of sodium have been slimmed down to virtual invisibility!
5. If you thought gigantic Americanized burritos were delicious, wait until Chipotle’s founder, Steve Ells, unwraps his newest incarnation: ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen. This summer, the concept will be tested in Washington, D.C., and customers can expect much the same as they have from Chipotle, except it’ll be served on a bed of soy-sauced noodles instead of a ripped tortilla.
6. So, another celebrity has published a book — a cookbook, at that. The Atlantic plugs Gwyneth Paltrow’s new recipe tome in an article that anticipates millions of rolling eyes. Aside from her occasional pit stops at Preachyville and Pretensionburg Heights, Paltrow seems she might, in fact, give a damn about food and nutrition. Hey, at least it’s not a memoir.
7. On April 10, Bobby Flay’s Connecticut outpost of Bar Americain debuted its regional American Sunday brunch menu (served from April 17–September 5) in an attempt to replicate the high-end weekend craze happening at his NYC location. Or maybe the grill master’s just trying to get more people day-drunk and pumped for Labor Day.
8. This week, Columbia University in New York released the results of a study that shows you’ll probably get off scot-free if your case is heard right after the court’s lunch break. Judges were found to be in better spirits after having eaten — 65% more favorable in their decisions. And, conversely, as any grumpy worker could attest to, your presiding Honor will likely let the axe fall if your hearing lands immediately before snack time. That’s why we always keep some fat scraps in our pockets.
9. Another recent test — conducted by masters’ students at Cornell — applied “the halo effect” to an investigation of foods labeled as organic, the results of which were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition on April 10. The double-blind trial at a local mall showed consumers were consistently unable to tell the difference between “normal” products and “healthy” products, confirming that a yuppie will buy cookies as long as the box has the word “organic” on it.
10. In line with a 2009 restructuring of the constitution, Bolivia’s indigenous Andean president, Evo Morales, recently announced he would be passing the Law of Mother Earth, a group of national laws that grants all nature equal status. Eleven new rights, including “the right to pure water and clean air” and “the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered,” aim to curb pollution, cut carbon emissions, halt climate change, and properly knock human beings down a notch.