Oh dear. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has just released a summary of a new report on the use of USDA surplus commodity foods in school meals, mainly in California. The major findings? More than half the commodity foods are processed before they get to the schools and that means added fat, sugar, or salt (example: chicken to nuggets). More than 80% of funds for commodities are used for meat and cheese; only 13% is spent on fruits and vegetables. There is so little correlation between foods recommended by the USDA pyramid and those purchased by schools that the report displays a nifty side-by-side illustration of a commodities pyramid next to a USDA pyramid (the useful old one). It is an almost perfect inverse. The complete report has lots more good stuff in it. High marks to the groups that collaborated on this one, the California Food Policy Advocates and Samuels & Associates.
Next public appearance
This is a conversation about 101 Classic Cookbooks, 501 Classic Recipes (Rizzoli Books, 2013), with Clark Wolf, Marvin Taylor (curator NYU Fales Library), Rose Levy Beranbaum (author, The Cake Bible), and Madhur Jaffrey (actor and author). 7:30 p.m. 92ndY Tribeca, 200 Hudson St, Price $15, RSVP: here