Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Broccoli Mandate

They're the government so I suppose they know best:

If the government can make you buy health insurance, can it also make you buy broccoli, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wondered during the high court’s three-day hearing on the constitutionality of Obamacare. The U.S. solicitor general, arguing the government’s case, said broccoli is entirely different. But, he was wrong — if you are a student. There already is a broccoli mandate for school lunches...

The guidelines include the broccoli mandate. A child can’t leave the serving line without a fruit or vegetable. If he refuses, he will pay a higher price for his lunch and the meal’s cost cannot be claimed for reimbursement by the federal government. Washington will pay $2.72 for a meal, including vegetables, that meets its guidelines for a child who qualifies for free lunches.

I still remember my elation when I realized that my high school cafeteria would serve me an entire tray of french fries if I asked for it. They also made cake in big flat pans and cut the slices in squares by hand. That meant that some pieces were bigger than others. Plus!!! the oven racks were uneven so the cake would be thicker on one end. That didn't look good so the lunch ladies would even it up with frosting.

This resulted in some normal slices, some slices with lots of cake and only a little frosting, and some slices with just a quarter inch of cake covered by two inches of frosting. That meant that if you got a randomly cut large slice from the shallow-cake side, you could be feasting on 2 or 3 pounds of frosting before the bell summoned you to chemistry lab. The insulin storms sometimes raged for the rest of the day.

And it's not like we didn't get vegetables. I remember being quite fond of catchup drunk straight from a dixie cup, for a time.

Looking back, I can't see where any damage was done. Kids, teenage boys especially, can burn calories like locomotives. And we got vegetables at dinner, and sometimes at breakfast, and second breakfast. It's hard to argue against broccoli. Broccoli is good for you. But it irritates to have the government shove it down our throats.