School lunch

An interview with a seven year old about school lunch:

How do you feel about school lunch?

I don’t like it.

What don’t you like the most?

Yukky peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Does the food look fresh to you?

No, it looks like it’s been waiting for hours.

Do you look forward to going to lunch?

No, not at all.

What is the worst part about it?

The food.

School here starts on Wednesday, and I am trying to convince myself of the possibilities of simmering homemade sauce in the cafeteria and piles of local apples and pears.  Everybody knows New York has great food and it is available all over this great town except in about 98% of the public schools.  Why is that?  We have all this sass and savvy and yet when it comes to the school lunch, most of us–in the name of what, I don’t know–don’t say boo about the sorry substitute for what could be a perfect opportunity for food education and deliciousness on a tray.

Here is what I found.  Now I have to find the time to do something about it.

Meanwhile, make your own lunch:

Season one whole, on the bone, skinless chicken breast with kosher salt and sear in olive oil.  Half way through the searing add a  sprig of rosemary, a piece of lemon peel (no pith) and a sliced shallot.  Give those a little salt and a grind of pepper.  When the chicken is a nice deep color, add a spill of dry white wine (that you would enjoy drinking.)  Cover for 10 minutes.  Remove the cover.  Add about a cup of frozen peas and 3/4 cup of jasmine rice.  Be sure that there is plenty of liquid, enough to cover the rice, and put the cover back on.  Have a kettle of water hot nearby, in case you have to add more, as the rice cooks.  It should be a little soupy.  Check after 10 minutes.  The rice should be tender, and the chicken cooked through.  Remove from the heat.  Remove the chicken and slice on the diagonal.  Taste the rice mixture.  If you had no wine, and just added water, you can give it a few drops of fresh lemon juice.  Taste for freshly ground black pepper.  Spoon some into a wide dish and add a little chicken.  Shower with parmesan shavings and serve.   (This is also good with sauteed mushrooms added to the shallot.)

Leave a Reply