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The school lunch menu.  Mine was a little different than most. In elementary, I went to a small one hall private school and everything was home made every day.  It was also the only place I ever got anything that was close to Hamburger Helper.  In high school, it was on to the choice of burgers, fries, pizza or chicken nuggets, which like most I hung around with sooner or later drove itself down to a Coke and some chips from the vending machine, just enough to get you through the afternoon because...well, that was my tribe.  Today, the focus is much more tuned in on those who rely on the schools for their meal necessities both during the year, and the summer and in the reshaping of what is served to kids in schools, trying to get kids to eat healthier and do better than I did....along comes the chance to try something new... "Global Eats"!  It's part of the amazing ideas Chartwells brings to the service they provide as the schools meals service.  Laura Vitale invited us to learn more. 

 

With a kitchen that rivals any large scale institutional operation, the staff begins daily...sometimes as early as 3am to being the slow roasting of pork in smokers for things like ribs and pulled pork sandwiches.  Chicken wings coming to that protein line up as well.  They make bread fresh daily for all of the schools in the district, they prepare the food and get it shipped to be reheated at all of the locations from the central kitchen at Muskegon High School and they also work to provide the snacks that are essential for growing bodies and minds.  As you'll see in our video, they have the capacity to cook a few hundred pounds of ground beef that will be come those sloppy joes that are everyone's stand by, but...they also decided that experiential elements on the taste buds....those can't hurt either, so let's find a way to try things out.

The Global Eats program features an experience for the different generations in school.  The youngsters, maybe one day they are trying banana milk.  As they get a little older, maybe it's something Caribbean!  Have you ever tired CHICKEN FRICASSEE, SOFRITO, MOFONGO?  How about the yogurt like treat from India called MANGO LASSI?  Not only are all of the grade levels of students getting a chance to sample and learn, they are getting recipes to take home and share with the family and bringing home a little more than homework.  During Black History Month, you guessed it.  There was a HUGE dose of family recipes brought in and the production of the greens would make any mouth water let alone the outcome.  

In using different aspects of cuisine from around the world, our younger people are getting a chance to experience something they may never otherwise.  I think back to my younger days....and I saw ox tail on a menu in Washington DC.  HUH?  Yep.  It was a pretty "sheltered" experience growing up to a degree...I didn't know that was a food thing.  In some families, it's a delicacy and treat.  The amazing dedication of the food service team and the insightful approach to their environment to use foot to expand the minds and horizons of our younger generations speaks volumes to the innovation that's going on in education today.  What an amazing way to make the world a little smaller while expanding the taste buds of the kids who may have fallen into the vending machine trap like I did at one point, because let's face it....chicken nuggets are only exciting for so long.  Let's do that Chicken Fricassee!  Make sure to follow BIG RED EATS on Facebook to continue to watch the progress and menu items. 

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