Health

Getting to Know the Minneapolis Public Schools Food Service Department, Part Three: The Unsung Heroes

One of the most striking things about the people who work at the Minneapolis Public Schools Food Service Department is how upbeat they seem. Just look at their picture above. From left to right, they are:

Larry Jones (Operations Manager - School Sites)Ricardo Abbott (Operations Manager - Nutrition Center)Joe Hollenback (Culinary Supervisor)Nicole Barron (Accounting & Business Systems Manager)Irfan Chaudhry (Assistant Director)

Do you notice something strange? They're all smiling.

"There are a lot of people in every business who are happy with the status quo," Nicole tells me, "you're not going to find it here."

"Summers used to be so easy," Irfan says, "but we don't take any vacation anymore. We want to make sure we give our kids the best food we possibly can."

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Stuffed Full of Gratitude

This time of year really does give me the fuzziest of warm fuzzies, even when the temps are in the teens. We’re huddling ‘round the fireplace, planning family gatherings, digging out the star-shaped cookie cutters, hanging lights, and trying our best to ignore retailers’ best efforts to convince us that the season is all about buying stuff.

The holidays are about togetherness, which helps keep the focus on expressing gratitude for what we already have. Too often, it’s easy to become dissatisfied with things as they are. With an estimated 1,500 advertisements bombarding us each day, we can fall prey to feeling as though we aren’t enough or that we don’t have enough or that what we have isn’t good enough.

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Minnesotan Psychiatrist Touts Mood-Altering Foods

Last year for Valentine’s Day, I wrote a blog post that asked the question: “Can Food Get You in the Mood?” The subject was aphrodisiacs, e.g. foods that can boost your mood for sex.

Minnesotan psychiatrist and author Dr. Henry Emmons takes it a step further. He claims that the right foods can take mood-boosting into every aspect of your life. Not just your love life.

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Happy Thanksgiving - Eat, Drink, and Don’t Worry

Thanksgiving, and the holidays in general, can be a daunting time for those who are watching their waistlines. With so many food-focused festivities taking place bam bam bam, sheer terror strikes many a heart. Yet terror is antithetical to what the holidays are about and that terror can do way more harm than pumpkin pie lovingly crafted with butter crust and topped with real whipped cream.

‘Tis true, most of us eat more on Thanksgiving than we do on a typical day, but this doesn’t mean you’re going to gain weight. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, world renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, “Fortunately, the idea that Americans put on between five and 10 pounds over the holiday season is more myth than reality. A National Institutes of Health study published in 2000 showed that the average holiday weight gain is just over one pound.”

Going Rogue

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Brussels Sprouts: Tiny Yet Mighty

You say brussels sprouts, I say Brussels sprouts, she says brussel sprouts. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose…a rose cabbage, that is. This is what the Germans call these baby brassicas (“rosenkohl” = rose cabbage) that may be the funkiest and prettiest vegetable you’ll ever see growing. A tall, single leaf-topped stalk supports 20 to 40 buds crammed together like peas with no pod.

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Getting to Know the Minneapolis Public Schools Food Service Department, Part One: the Overwhelming Need for Good Food

"Sorry I'm late," Nicole Barron, Food Services Accounting and Business Services Manager for Minneapolis Public Schools tells me. "There was a baby food recall, and I had to run over to Target to see what they had left and make sure it got over to the schools."

"Baby food?" I ask jokingly, cluelessly. "Is that for my kids?"

"I don't think so," Nicole answers, "it's for high school kids who have babies and need to feed them during the day."

The depths of my lack of understanding are only starting to become clear. Students with babies? We're just barely scratching the surface.

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What's So Bad About Ice Cream For Breakfast?

One morning last week, after getting my kids on the school bus, I returned to my computer and posted this quick note to Twitter and Facebook:

just when you think you've seen everything, a 3rd grader shows up at the bus stop eating an ice cream cone for breakfast

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Getting to Know "For the Health of It" Columnist Jill Grunewald

We at Simple, Good, and Tasty write, think, talk, and meet with people about local, sustainable, organic, good food all the time.

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Get Your Apples: Good to the Core

Although the Minnesota apple harvest begins in August, for a lot of folks apple season goes hand in hand with the changing and falling of leaves. Apples are a fantastic late summer treat, but there’s nothing like a crisp, freshly-harvested apple (or a hot apple crisp!) on a brisk autumn day.

Walk into a typical supermarket and you’ll see several shades of these sweet treats proudly taking up some serious real estate in the produce aisle. Yet this is a mere smattering of the 7,500 varieties grown around the world. According to Rebecca Wood, author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, “Because every apple seed contains unique genetic material, you can plant ten seeds from a single apple and get ten different kinds of apple trees. However most of our commercial varieties lack genetic diversity.”

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"Deadly Serious" Beets Are Ripe and Read to Eat

“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

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Beets aren’t the most popular vegetable. They’re kind of like the smart kids who wear plaid pants and glasses. They tend to hang in the background, quietly waving and calling out, “Hey, over here. You’ll like me if you try me. Don’t let your scars from eating grocery-bought canned beets as a youngster keep you from giving me another chance. I’m actually very sweet and sassy.”

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