While weekly food pages are out today, I want to call attention to two important stories in Monday's NYTimes

—The first, on how California’s well-meaning effort to get kids to eat fewer unhealthy foods, has the unfortunate result of sending the message that homemade cookies and cupcakes are bad for you:

“The guidelines were passed by lawmakers in 2005 and took effect in July 2007. They require that snacks sold during the school day contain no more than 35 percent sugar by weight and derive no more than 35 percent of their calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fat.”

I know my chocolate chip cookies, which are a third each fat, sugar and flour (not counting the chocolate chips and egg) would not pass those guidelines.  Are we going to say, "Yes! buy that garbage from Kraft, like Snackwells"—are we really this stupid?! Yes, we are!—and forgo making our own?  How about banning processed food from our schools, and allowing the handmade stuff, no matter its fat content?

Another example of how even well-meaning legislation is hopelessly out of sync with intelligent thinking about food and eating.

—And yet another editorial asking us to pay attention to our oceans.  At a literary conference I attended over the weekend the notion that the dire straits our oceans are in has yet really to capture the imagination of the country.  We can’t see the peril we’re in because, well, it’s below the surface, and there’s plenty of fish on our menus and in our grocery stores, so what’s the problem?  The problem is, the fish are vanishing and are not coming back.  And as this editorial makes clear, we’re even tapping out the little forage fish (to feed our salmon, chix and hogs) at a deficit—it takes 3# foraged fish to grow 1# salmon (and how THAT affects the fish and the oceans, farming fish, is still a more complicated situation).  This is the definition of unsustainable.  Why have to pay closer attention to the things we can't see.

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60 Wonderful responses to “Banning the Chocolate Chip Cookie and Other Depressing Food Notes”

  • Julie B.

    I’m not in California, but I’ve seen similar changes at my children’s schools. Some of them were needed — my kids used to be able to use the money in their lunch money accounts to buy garbage processed snacks. That’s been stopped, but IMO the pendulum has swung too far.

    For instance, the school lunch program recently switched from 2% milk to 1% milk or skim milk only. The result? My kids (who most emphatically are NOT overweight) have stopped drinking milk at school, because they hate the way it tastes.

    There is also a general bias against homemade food in schools that comes from both administration and other parents. Homemade food is viewed by some as “dangerous,” while store-bought food is viewed as “safe.” It makes me crazy.

  • JBL

    Why does this not surprise me? The reality is that ALL “well meaning legislation” has “unfortunate results”. All we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

  • Greg

    This makes me wonder who the real lobbying force behind this legislation is. The effect gives these processed food companies a competitive advantage over the homemade stuff. Maybe a better legislative solution may have been to require schools to balance the curriculum to include more physical education. Instead, let’s get the kids hooked on this junk by years of ingestion and conditioning so when they become adults they’ll all be hooked and probably allergic to home cooking.

  • ntsc

    Thor Heyerdahl, a well know archeologist in the 50s/60s sailed a circa 3000 BC Egyption reed boat from Egypt to South America, thus proving it could have happened in 3000 BC.

    In his book describing the trip, I believe titled Ra, he mentions that the south Atlantic was visably polluted in the middle, with plastic bags and bottles floating along with chuncks of a tar like substance.

    In 74 his staff decided Nixon had enough on his mind and never mentioned Global Warming to him as a result.

    We have been ignoring the oceans for a long time.

  • Darcie

    I’m not surprised by the legislation but it is quite frustrating. I can tell you what this will lead to: adults like my friends who are overweight and who try to lose weight by eating Lean Cuisines and Snackwells, but to no avail. That processed crap just makes you crave more food until you cave in and eat the entire box of it (and you’re still not satisfied). People ask me how I stay thin with all the cookies and “fattening” foods I eat. I tell them it’s because in addition to decent genes, I don’t eat out and I don’t eat processed foods. My food fulfills me in a way that no Weight Watchers entree could, and therefore I eat less of it. Plus what I eat doesn’t contain all sorts of unpronounceable ingredients that my body can’t process, which I believe contributes to packing on the pounds.

  • NYCook

    While I do tend to lean a bit towards the left in my political P.O.V. It is situations like this that make me long for a more hands-off-Government, because as usual the politicians get it wrong. In all honesty I believe it stems from the LEFTS belief “that people can’t take adequate care of themselves, so we will do it for them” without thinking of the consequences. Julie B’s milk example, is a text book case. It’s the failure to look at the bigger picture. Are kids are fat it must be because the eat to many sweets no way could it be all those pre-packaged lunch,dinners, and snacks filled with High-Fructose Corn Syrup parents routinley feed their kids.
    Also how about you get control of your kids, make them put down the XBox 360 controllers and instead of playing Madden or NBA Live, go play a real game of pickup football or basketball.

    I like to think of myself as a young guy still at 25, even with a 7 year old son, and so I know ALL about video games and computers and there appeal, but as a father I understand the importance of things such as team sports and being active. Video games are an easy answer you put the kid in front of the T.V. and thats at least 2 mabey 4 hours you don’t have to worry about where he is and what he is doing, but in my opinion its also being lazy, and it’s the same thing with what your children eat. As long as it says healthy or low-fat somewhere on the package, people don’t care or don’t care to know whats in it and blindly serve it to their kids. It’s just being lazy.
    So while we can complain and moan about the government all we want but as usual it comes down to the parents.

  • luis

    About the cookies and the Oceans… you see problems, I see opportunities and solutions.

    The most complex problem crumbles into dirt the minute a solution is found.
    Happy this morning, made restaurant menu worthy ‘Tostones’. The right ingredients, the right methods and what seemed impossible… is now no big deal.

    If you don’t like supermarket cookies you make your own. What we eat is our responsibility.

    But it’s more than that even. We are pretty much conditioned into eating what we eat. Salting how we salt, sweetening and fatting up the food the way we have become conditioned to.

    The whole concept of ethnic cuisine is a kind of myth, tribal food.. to enable cooks and restaurants to appeal to and serve the community with local ingredients and agreed upon flavors.

    The point? We can if we ever chose to, CHANGE IT. I see no big deal about it one way or the other. Maybe I am missing something.

    I have cooked totally superb sugar free fat free pies and deserts using ingredients readilly available in the markets,
    Fed them to the fam and my old man in his 90’s sharp wit he is declared it CRAP!. Not sweet enough..
    More or less the same from other folks some like it, some not so much.

    When we dial in OUR taste and NUTRITION needs where it needs to be to serve ourselves, we tune out most people.

    This is why it is totally futile for most people to try an open a business based on their own individual cuisine. Unless it appeals to a very well established and broad based ethnic cuisine clientele.

    I find the older folks get the less apt to want to try new things and make any changes in their lives. Which is why we need to break out of that box.

    You establish what is acceptable and healthy, you become creative with your flavors and spices and you develop new tastes for healthier foods. Simple as that. It’s a choice, like smoking.

  • carri

    Chocolate Chip cookies, or anything else sweet, especially chocolate, were not allowed at the little school our kids went to from k-3rd grade. Being a bakery owner I was a little put off by the fact that we were paying to send our kids there, how could they tell me I couldn’t put a cookie in my daughter’s lunch? After 9 years and 3 kids through their program I am completely converted…Sugar is an enemy to kids attention span. Now having it be legislated by a higher authority than the headmistress? That would be really hard to swallow.

  • Natalie Sztern

    this is the same state that reversed gay marriage, and cannot control their drunk drivers. I suppose banning liquor would not be a popular idea for the governor, so ban the chocolat chip cookies instead;

  • lux

    By and large I agree that demonizing homemade food and promoting over-processed commercial stuff is not ideal — BUT — as someone who has nut allergies, I have to say, I cannot count the number of times I’ve had a problem with someone’s homemade food because they threw some nuts into the dessert (or soup, or salad dressing, etc) and forgot to tell me.

    At least with processed food I can look on the label and know if it is OK for me to eat it or not.

  • bosdine

    I hate to say it, but the truth really is that kids shouldn’t be eating sugar and flour more than a few times a month at most. I know I’m no fun, but unless we start being honest with ourselves about the effects of poor nutrition on human health, we’ll just keep getting sicker. Part of the problem is that there’s no baseline for comparison- do you know ANYone who doesn’t have any health issues-cavities, blood pressure, overweight, allergies, etc? We’ve completely forgotten what good health looks like, since we’ve all been weaned on sugar and white flour. Certainly homemade cookies are better than snackwells, but still a million times worse than no cookies at all.

  • Tags


    I was at a Mom & Pop diner a couple weeks ago and the waitress told me the brownies were homemade, so I ordered them. The box-mix flavor was apparent before it ever touched my taste buds.

    As for the ban, the word “saturated” should be replaced with “hydrogenated.”

    I hear there’s some word-processing software that will make the substitution in one shot. I highly recommend it.

  • jscirish27

    When is the madness in this country going to stop. Honestly, now we are legislating eating habits. Instead of telling people what they can’t have and what they shouldn’t have, how about we give them the education and the resources to be able to make proper food choices. This is a big win for “healthy” processed food and a big loss for everyone else. Once again real food looses out.

    I am the father of a young son, and I am very careful about what he eats. By the same token I realize a cookie every now and again isn’t going to kill him. I think he will probably live a longer much happier life by way of moderation and eating whole foods than by anything the government can propose.

  • Sean Kelly

    On the subject of ocean collapse- that was a theme in the sci fi classic “Soylent Green” from the early 70s.
    Remember, they were making soylent green out of people. I hope the schools will ban soylent green.

  • milo

    While I agree with the sentiment of this post, I have to point out that homemade cookies and cupcakes ARE bad for you. It’s just that since they are bad for you, they need to be eaten in moderation.

    Personally, I have no objection to schools not selling cookies and other junk food, although I think that it should include the snackwells as well.

    The alternative to a cookie shouldn’t be a “diet” cookie, it should be an apple or some carrots or celery.

    And if I were in charge, while I’d probably have a general rule against selling junk food, I’d probably allow for the occasional exception for things like bake sales as long as they weren’t too often.

    There’s nothing wrong with eating the occasional cookie, kids just shouldn’t be eating them *every day*.

    Also, health issues aside, I bet many schools will avoid things like bake sales because of things like peanut allergies and lack of quality control. My wife is a teacher and whenever a student brings in homemade food, it’s rare that she doesn’t throw it away.

  • NYCook

    Gay marrage illegal in California, Cookies and Cupcakes with to much sugar illegal at schools in California. Medical Marijuana very legal in California…..You guys figure it out. I mean what’s a high school kid gonna munch on after coming back from a “Lunch Break”

  • legalbegal

    Schools absolutly have the right not to sell cookies, snacks, junk food etc, but does that mean the gov’t should come in and regulate that choice? I think thats what most people posting are objecting too.
    Back when I was at law school, my cousin a teacher in Baltimore at the time said something similar was going on in their school district. I thought it was ridiculous then and I think it’s ridiculous now. Just learn some self control people.
    By the way, nycook that is a hillarious post and a good point. California makes cookies illegal but not pot…ridiculous. I think many of us would have been preoccupied with pangs of hunger after after our “lunch break” in high school without some kind of snackage(yes a grown man just used the term snackage).

  • Kate in the NW

    Even if they legislated that kids eat nothing but organic heritage foods grown on local small farms and prepared according to the recipes in Bouchon, one meal a day (good or bad) doesn’t make kids obese. It IS an opportunity to show them good food can taste good – but that’s not likely without a ton of money and changing how school cafeterias work. I.e., not likely at all.

    The meals at my daughter’s school arrive a la “Lean Cuisine” every morning – hundreds of nasty little paper trays vacuum-sealed in crinkly plastic bags. They are steamed en masse at 11:15 and the kids puch through the plastic with their flimsy little sporks and dig in. Frightening. So kids who buy lunch get crap, and kids who hate the crap at the cafeteria bring their own crap from home.

    Even my kid, who is quite proudly an incredibly sophisticated eater and food snob (brings sushi, or an antipasto selection with homemade bread and sliced fruit and french olives, or hummous and cukes, etc.) gets tempted by the occasional illicit trade for some piece of junk food. But she’s always disappointed – and comes home and tells me so. “Why do people EAT that stuff, Mom?”

    The GOOD news is there are always plenty of kids who, through her, tried good olives for the first time. Or fresh raw sweet peppers. Or snow peas…etc. For 6 weeks I was the supplier for another kid’s under-the-table clementine habit. My daughter was the dealer. The poor kid’s lunch every day (the Clementine kid, not my daughter) was a “Lunchable” and a “Froot Roll-Up” and “Gogurt Drops” with a Capri Sun. No wonder she wanted clementines. She was suffering from malnutrition.

    There is hope, however slim, in the simple fact that good food is BETTER than bad food.

  • Michael Obertone

    THERE IS AN EASY WAY TO FIX THIS…MAKE YOUR KIDS LUNCH AND INCLUDE THE HOMEMADE ITEMS YOU WANT TO EAT. DO NOT LET THE STATE DETERMINE WAHT YOUR FAMILY EATS.

  • Dick Black

    It’s not the cookies or cupcakes making our little precious children fat and obese. I think you need to get these little peckerheads doing way more physical activities (maybe walk to school) and spend much less time watching TV and surfing the net.

    Junk food has been around since the middle ages. Healthy attitudes start at home. Parents need to stop being lazy and ignorant and prepare healthy food or at least educate their young to it’s merits. Chances are you see a fat kid, a fat parent isn’t too far away.

  • Connor

    I recall fondly my elementary school days in rural IL, which granted, were some time ago. The head cook was a middle-aged, jolly, slightly rotund woman who loved to cook. Even though she had to work with less than stellar ingredients at times, she also supplemented the lunches with homemade items. The best were glazed yeast donuts from scratch, served hot directly from the deep fat fryer. She only served them a couple times of months — but, oh man, those were good days. I’ll bet that attendance spiked on donut days, too. It’s worth noting that those glorious yeast donuts were accompanied by a protein, vegetable, starch, and carton of milk on each tray. And while I suppose some picky eaters didn’t touch their veggies, most kids cleaned their trays. To me, there’s nothing “unhealthy” about that type of lunch.

    Schools should absolutely be required to meet minimum nutritional requirements…fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains should be a part of every school lunch program. But I’d rather entice kids to stay on the school campus with an occasional chocolate chip cookie than to have them walk to the local Starbucks for a Frappuccino. Legislating school lunch programs through bans only contributes to our nation’s neurosis about food.

  • Debbie

    When I was a kid you couldn’t buy anything other than the standard school lunch which usually involed some kind of high-fat cassarole, instant mashed potatoes, canned mixed vegetables and Jello with canned fruit inside. I was pretty much screwed because my stepmother’s idea of a packed lunch was boloney on white bread with imitation mayo and processed cheese slices. If I was lucky she would toss in a couple of packaged cookies. I’m still surprised I made it to adulthood on that diet.

  • milo

    “It’s not the cookies or cupcakes making our little precious children fat and obese. I think you need to get these little peckerheads doing way more physical activities (maybe walk to school) and spend much less time watching TV and surfing the net.”

    They BOTH make kids fat. Sure, kids don’t get nearly enough exercise, but there are kids with awful eating habits as well. And with things like cookies it mostly comes down to how often and how many. There’s no question that the fat kids eating cookies every day would lose some weight if they switched those cookies for an apple.

  • krysta

    the idea of no choclate chip cookies because that will make kids obese… is just stupid. how about letting my kids have some p.e. time everyday instead of only two to three times a week for only 20 minutes. not only would that help kids a little with obeseity it would help them burn off some excess energy also.

    and i’m also sick to death of anything homemade being bad. at any holiday party for my kids classes, you can not bring homemade baked goods because it’s not sanitary.

  • FoodPuta

    I’m guessing that the “Finger-wagger’s” and “Hater’s” don’t spend their vacation in Vegas, do a lot of Coke, or buy Hooker’s on a regular basis?

    Did you see that freakin menu?

    Hell, I’m ready to sell my double-wide to afford that meal…

  • Guy Anderson

    I love the “Black Market Cookie” thing — what a great thing to laugh at. Kids smuggling cookies – hold up fingers to the other “cookie traficers” kids in the hallway for that next period COVERT hall passing of a plastic bag filled with 2 cookies! Ha he could you start trading boxes of girl scout cookies if you do my math homework — ha

  • derek

    You know, that much butter and sugar really is not good for you. It’s neat that you are opposed to hypocrisy, but to be so irate about banning SELLING things high in fat…umm, yeah, whatever. Also, I am very confused as to how a homemade cookie is better healthwise than a processed cookie. I cannot imagine that they are allowing trans fats, which means that there really is no nutritional difference between the two.

    You also miss the point of the legislation, which is to ban the selling of junk food from vending machines during school hours. I don’t see for a moment how this impacts people bringing cookies from home.

  • MessyONE

    bosdine, who are you kidding? Kids or adults shouldn’t eat sugar or flour more than once or twice a month? What is that?

    Hundreds of generations of humans have lived quite nicely with those things in their diets on a regular basis. They drank beer, coffee, tea, wine, chocolate and all sorts of other things that the granola crowd now calls “poison”. They ate a lot of meat, too, fat and all. Give me, and everyone else here a break!

    The truth is that only in the last 30 or so years has obesity become epidemic. Only now are we at the point where kids are so unhealthy that they actually scare me. We live across the street from a high school that was built around the turn of the 20th century. All of the entrances have staircases. I see kids every day that can’t climb 20 steps without stopping for a break. They wheeze and pant because they literally can’t make it to the door. That is an obscenity.

    To blame that nonsense on nothing more than sugar and flour is a gross oversimplification to say the very least. In reality, it’s nothing more than the demonization of basic, common ingredients that are harmless in and of themselves. This avoidance of the real issues around the health issues caused by obesity seems to be very trendy right now.

    If you want to blame something, take a look at the schools, who pimp themselves out to huge corporations for the sake of the few dollars they’ll get from vending machines. Gotta have that new bus for the band, right?

    Take a look at inner city neighborhoods where parents keep their kids indoors 24 hours a day because of fear, and the cost of food is so high that McDonalds is the only thing they can afford to buy to fill their kid’s bellies every day. Not to mention the complete lack of grocery stores that carry anything more than processed food.

    Take another look at kids in affluent suburbs who are hauled around in trucks like livestock everywhere they go for their entire lives and whose “physical activity” consists of lifting a fork in front of the television.

    There’s a lot more to cry about than cookies here, and there are more things going on than can be explained by a rant about sugar and flour, which are nothing more than two natural, plant based foods.

  • luis

    All is well and good ban, don’t ban… the thing is the purpose of school is to educate.
    Educate NUTRITION, Educate HEALTH, Educate the childreen and THEY will take care of themselves… I see some teen showing more underwear than I care to see or some bull ring through the eyebrow or anywhere else and I think UNEDUCATED!, ABUSED, DUMB…on and on…NO SELF RESPECT… the list is endless. Yes the guvmnt can play .. but that is gonna take more work than mere legislatium… or whatever virtual solution we may be confortable with.

  • Aaron

    The idea of banning food of any kind is just bizarre. It’s like banning certain types of air to breath.

    What we have become is a nation of idiots. We’re people who cannot — as far as the government is concerned — think for ourselves.

    Perfect example: seat belt laws. After decades of a research and proof that they save lives, we still have to force a certain percentage of people to use them. Basically short circuiting natural selection.

    We’re fools, and if we continue to be fools, we’ll get what fools deserve.

  • joanna

    I’ve read through all these comments, and can’t believe how few people seem to get this issue – did any of you actually read the article? Ok, first let me just say that at any of the bake sales at schools that I’ve gone to in the last 5 years, at least half the stuff was made from a box – exactly the processed crap that, I agree, we don’t want our kids eating. So really, I don’t care if the occasional bake sale has to adjust its hours (the article notes they can sell that stuff a half hour before and after school) to make a little money. Whatever. (And on a side note: the bake sale highlighted in the article is in Piedmont, the super-rich town that is literally surrounded by Oakland. Boo-hoo for them – the median income is like, a million dollars. As if they really need a bake-sale to get money.)

    The point of the legislation is try to get the crap – the processed crap you’ve all been talking about – out of the school cafeteria, which feeds a large percentage of our kids! And I don’t know about where you all live, but the communities highlighted in this article happen to be where I’m from and where I taught in the public schools for over 10 years. The majority of kids in Oakland, for example, are on free or reduced lunch- an economic issue. And then there’s the cultural stuff. My last year teaching in Oakland I had an almost entirely Latino study body, kids of immigrant parents. We did a whole, semester-long study of globalization and food. Found out that the parents had grown up growing their own food and slaughtering their own animals. They ate whole foods, sustainably produced. Contrary to a previous commentator’s post, the parents are not fat. But then they move to the U.S. and the commercials and all the imagery of “American” life just bombard the kids, and what do they end up eating? Doritos and Coke, when they have some change in their pockets. They didn’t learn it from their parents.

    I really feel like I could go on and on…but I’ll shut up now. Personally, my own kids get plenty of wholesome sweet treats, and they don’t need to get more at school. I’m here in California, and happy for the legislation. It’s a reaction, yes, to cheap, crap food being pawned off on our kids. It is by no means the way to change this f’d up food system we have in this country. But I disagree that it’s such a problem in and of itself.

  • Michelle

    We are living in depraved, degenerate times, when a kid can’t have a cookie. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Eat fresh, healthy food, and once in a while, treat yourself to a big ol’ damn cookie. The government’s gone too far this time. And a world without cookies is a world I don’t want to live in. It’s time to take a stand.

  • chadzilla

    Thanks for keeping these topics in the public eye, Michael. I’m constantly amazed at the direction we keep moving with American foodways. I never wanted to sound like a screaming whining liberal, but this country definitely needs to wake up (from a broad public awareness perspective). You never see any legislature or government actions taken at correcting the state of livestock and agriculture in this country. Instead they take jabs at fats, foie gras, cookies.
    And I am definitely in agreement that the sustainable seafood movement needs a PR agent. There has not been one moment when talking to staff or guests about this, that the reaction has been one of surprise… no one knows what’s happening underwater. I cannot even get cooperation from my seafood purveyors… the ones who should be at the forefront of the sustainable movement. They would rather sell me the last fish in the sea than take action to secure their livelihoods for future generations. If the customer doesn’t care, and the guy selling me my fish doesn’t care, then I’m left with very limited resources to make the right choices as a chef. The ocean is not infinite! This is not something that’s going to happen in the future! This is happening right now, and we are passed the point of needing a sustainable system… we have already depleted most of our targetable fish stocks. To sustain at this point is not good enough.
    We like curse the Japanese for killing and eating whales, but we are no better. Why aren’t Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd throwing bottles at seabass fishermen? Because we don’t want to take it off our menu?

  • Jeff

    You can have my cookie after you pry it from my cold, dead, deliciously chocolate-smeared fingers.

  • latenac

    So where everyone lives they make their kids homemade cookies and cupcakes, etc? While I don’t think the state should be legislating this, a school should make it a policy, I have to wonder what world everyone lives in where all parents only send delicious made from scratch treats to bake sales.

    On a mothering board I’m on there’s been a trend for schools to ban homemade birthday treats not for health reasons, well sort of for health reasons. I thought mothers would be up in arms but mothers who have kids who have allergies were relieved and mother who were teachers who have seen some frightening kitchens of their students were also relieved.

    I actually wish they’d make it more the practice that my daughter’s school does where no treat is bought but the child gives a book to the school library.

    And frankly there’s nothing in the bad to stop you from sending your child to school with a homemade packed lunch that contains cookies.

  • Badger

    Oh, don’t even get me started on the school lunch thing. They’ve banned sodas (pop) at my son’s middle school, but he can buy a “slushie” every day if he wants. Because HFCS with artificial flavors and colors poured over ice is WAY healthier than … oh, wait.

  • Russ H

    The irony is that a new study claim more people die from California’s pulluted air than from car accidents.

    So of course the answer is to ban cupcakes!

    You have gotta love California. If the nation were a pantry and tipped on it’s side, all the nuts would roll into California.

    FYI – A link to the smog story…
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081113/D94E0KJG0.html

  • Russ H

    Damn typos… Was in a hurry to post the comment so I forgot to check the spelling… :)

  • Kanani

    I find this highly annoying on a day when I’m already annoyed! (I’m missing three pages of a manuscript I’m editing and I had to go with my son to court this morning).

    Why don’t they pay more attention to the sodium high, carb high, processed food they serve in the lunch program? That stuff is served EVERY DAY for breakfast AND lunch at all of the public and some of the private schools. Why don’t they put kitchens back and hire staffs that can cook, rather than truck in all the pre-made meals and have it served by people who simply take put it all on display, but haven’t ever picked up a spatula or chopped a string bean? When I was a kid, the school had a full kitchen. There were two cooks and a lady who organized the service. We volunteered in the kitchen to get out of class and also to get a free lunch, an hour a day for a week at a time.

    But all that’s been gutted. Including a lot of home-ec classes. We really could use those today to teach middle school and high school students HOW TO COOK since a lot of the parents do “ding ding” and Squawkbox food, and use as a badge of honor, “I’m too busy to cook.”

    It doesn’t make sense to ban bake sales.

  • Kanani

    You have gotta love California. If the nation were a pantry and tipped on it’s side, all the nuts would roll into California.

    And baby, we’d be salted….

  • Kent Bunn

    Did anyone, Michael included, read what he posted here, excerpted from the ban?

    All they are banning, is selling treats on campus that fit that description.

    NOWHERE does it say you can’t bring your own from home. Either home made, or store bought. Just that the school can’t profit from selling garbage.

    Really failing to see the problem here.

  • Jacqueline Church

    Too bad the left coast doesn’t have enough Cake Love. Last year he did penguin cookies for Oceana at holiday time. This year he’s *horrors* teaching kids to bake cookies, to benefit DC schools.

    Shees.

  • Maura

    Did anyone, Michael included, read what he posted here, excerpted from the ban?

    I read it. I don’t see a problem with a ban on selling unhealthy food at the schools, although I’d like to know what they’re serving kids at lunch. Is it made on site by real, live actual people who know how to cook, or is it pre-packaged garbage that just needs to be microwaved?

    What bothers me is a growing panic over anything that’s even remotely bad for you. The food police (and by “food police”, I mean people who are in a constant state of panic about every morsel of food we put in our mouths, not people who realize the importance of eating healthy food) don’t understand the joy of eating something that tastes fabulous. I wonder if they enjoy the food they do eat.

    The schools have a responsibility to see that kids have a decent lunch, and proper eating habits are learned at home. Moderation should always be the goal (states the Queen of the Obvious). Life without cookies, brownies, cakes and pies is not worth living.

    I’m with Jeff. You’ll get my cookie away from me when I’m dead.

  • milo

    “We’re people who cannot — as far as the government is concerned — think for ourselves.”

    You seem to forget that the cookie ban is for KIDS. And yeah, kids are young and probably not in a position to always make responsible choices. Sure, banning food for adults would be the government thinking for us, but doing it in SCHOOLS is something else entirely.

    “We are living in depraved, degenerate times, when a kid can’t have a cookie.”

    Did you even read the articles? Nobody is saying kids can’t have cookies, the point is that schools aren’t SELLING cookies. Seems perfectly reasonable to me, especially since kids can eat all they want at home.

    Really, is it such a horrible thing if a kid has to go six hours without being able to buy a cookie?

    “The irony is that a new study claim more people die from California’s pulluted air than from car accidents.

    So of course the answer is to ban cupcakes!”

    It’s not an either/or situation, your comment is like saying since their are murders on the loose, the cops are wasting time if they pull someone over for speeding.

    People die from pollution.
    People die from car accidents.
    People die from obesity.

    And all three should be addressed.

    “Moderation should always be the goal.”

    Of course. But I’m not sure how a school would sell cookies and similar things and get kids to only buy them in moderation. It’s way easier to say that moderation is “eat your cookies at home”. Seems like a perfectly valid solution and if a kid pigs out on cookies and gets fat, it’s with cookies from home and not cookies the school sold to them.

    Sure, the schools should ALSO have healthy alternatives (carrots and apples, not snackwells or other “diet” junk food) and healthy food in the cafeteria. But not selling unhealthy things like cookies is better than nothing.

  • Maura

    Of course. But I’m not sure how a school would sell cookies and similar things and get kids to only buy them in moderation. It’s way easier to say that moderation is “eat your cookies at home”. Seems like a perfectly valid solution and if a kid pigs out on cookies and gets fat, it’s with cookies from home and not cookies the school sold to them.

    I said that, Milo. It’s the second sentence in my post. I agree with you about the ban. My comment about moderation was aimed at the food police who freak out over every single thing we put in our mouths.

  • jessica

    Micheal Obertone- You said to include home made stuff in your kids lunch. I agree. However, I did that. I gave my son a perfectly delicious, home made, all organic chocolate chip cookie. The lunch supervisor stole it from him and threw it away!
    We are also not allowed to have bake sales in spite of the fact that I bake really well (I am actually known for it among the school parents) and could make them gobs of money!

  • Chris Walker Versus

    It feels like when I go into an airport bar and the bartenders are trained to ask every patron for their ID rather than, let’s say, the ones who look under thirty. Americans are losing their common sense and as a result we have to dumb everything down to the lowest point. Kids are fat? Just get rid of the cookies! But fruit juice full of high fructose corn syrup? That’s okay. It absolutely does not make common sense nor solve the problem.

    Furthermore, I appreciate the attention you’re bringing to the seafood situation. It’s truly unfortunate and consumers tend to know nothing about it. Sadly, it’s not surprising. After I’d discovered there are vegetarians who don’t even know about sustainable farming practices, or about companies that raise and slaughter livestock humanely and ethically, I find nothing shocking when it comes to the average consumer.

    Americans, we have such an unhealthy relationship with food.

  • milo

    “We are also not allowed to have bake sales in spite of the fact that I bake really well (I am actually known for it among the school parents) and could make them gobs of money!”

    It’s a matter of practicality for the schools. They need to set rules, not individually approve food to sell from the moms who bake well. Since that’s logistically impossible for the school, and since selectively enforcing a rule like that would go over horribly with parents, the most practical solution is not to have bake sales.

    “Just get rid of the cookies! But fruit juice full of high fructose corn syrup? That’s okay.”

    Did you read the article? Fake fruit juice is NOT allowed in this particular example, only pure stuff. If you actually read what they are doing, it does seem to follow common sense – it really looks like some people here are assuming the worst instead of judging the situation based on the facts.

  • maddux

    I’m a SF California public school Mom. My son attends the most economic & culturally diverse school in the city, with an amazing PTA that supplements teachers including a full time gardener but I gotta’ tell you – this bake sale ban is 100% necessary and completely welcome. There are better ways to raise money.

    I’ve worked these bakes sales and 90% of the baked goods sent in by parents are horrible store bought cookies and just CRAP from Costco. The parents of our kids don’t have time to bake cookies from scratch on a weeknight?! They all work and if there is any cooking to be done it’s to put a hot meal on the table and any free time is spent helping kids with homework and getting them to bed on time for a 7:45AM start time.

    I welcome the burden being lifted from parents and bake sales taking the bullet from the ban on the SALE of sugary, processed foods in public schools. Here in SF this is a good thing. Who wants a bunch of kids running around school not learning jacked up on a 20,000 calorie chocolate chip cookie?