This blog post originally appeared on J. Weekly.
The phrase “school lunch” conjures up images of soggy chicken tenders or limp spaghetti in my mind. Yours too?
What if I told you that I ate lunch at a San Francisco high school recently and sampled Israeli couscous with beets … rainbow chard with white beans … coconut-cilantro rice with yams and broccoli … Brussels sprouts and apples with shallots, mashed kabocha and butternut squash … and celery root soup?
While the Jewish Community High School of the Bay’s lunch program has gained notice since Jesse Buckner-Alper started it in 2005, for its emphasis on healthy, organic, vegetarian and kosher food — even winning a Golden Carrot award from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine — the school is not resting on its laurels. Rather, lunch director Risa Lichtman has instituted an Eat Local Day, which I attended last month.
One of the signatures of modern Israeli cuisine is fresh, flavorful food made with fruits and vegetables that grow almost year round in the country’s temperate Mediterranean climate. So, it might be a bit surprising to learn that Israeli kids are eating school lunches that are as lacking in freshness and good nutrition as some of the worst American school lunches.
Armed with examples of fixes for the problem, like First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution campaign, Jerusalem City Councilmember Rachel Azaria is leading the fight for healthier school lunches in her city and throughout Israel.
This spicy, tangy and herbed sauce is dubbed “Magic Sauce.” It would certainly liven up any Shabbat chicken. [101 Cookbooks]
Changes in school lunches could take years to implements says Marion Nestle. [The Atlantic]
“The Hangover Cookbook” (come on, we’ve all been there) has a recipe for the Israeli dish shakshuka. [The Daily Meal]