I’ve been reading a lot of stupid lately. Last week, our home blogger Matt wrote about an Orange County, California, couple who could get sent to jail for planting a drought-tolerant garden on their lawn instead of water-sucking grass. Stupid.
The other day, a tweet pointed me to a piece about the city of Miami possibly banning feeding the homeless unless you have training. They don’t want amateurs giving “up part of their lunch to help someone they meet on the street.” Stupid.
Today, I read that New York City has banned the sales of baked goods at school fund-raising bake sales. The reason? The portion and nutrition size can’t be controlled. Okay, I kind of get that. Here’s what I don’t get. In addition to fruit and vegetables being allowed at bake sales, 27 specific packaged items have been approved including some varieties of Doritos, Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts and a few varieties of granola bars.
There’s no rule, however, that says a student can’t buy two packages of Doritos or five or six. And before you think kids won’t do that, think again. I have been amazed when working my obligatory time at the Little League Field snack shop at how many times the same kid will visit. There have been many times I’ve seen a child buy several bags of snacks and three, four, even five sodas in a two-hour period. I don’t know where they get the money, but they have it and they spend it liberally. I’ve often joked that I feel like I should get arrested for child abuse for how much junk I hand out during my turn.
Anyone who thinks that banning brownies or zucchini bread from a baked sale and selling portion-controlled pre-packaged snacks is going to help anyone but the processed food manufacturers is kidding himself. The intention behind banning foods with portions that can't be controlled may be good, but allowing pre-packaged junk full of chemicals and dyes and little to no nutrition in their place is just stupid.
You know what else is stupid? This takes kids completely out of the loop when it comes to these "bake sales." (I now need to put the term in quotes because it doesn't resemble an actual bake sale.) Kids are no longer able to actually participate in the food-making process. They can't beat the brownie mix or ice the cupcakes. You know what else they can't do? Drive themselves to the big box store which is where parents are going to have to go to buy large quantities of these pre-approved snacks. It teaches kids that food is something to be bought pre-made, not prepared together with family in the kitchen. Stupid.
I’m going to go bang my head against a wall now. Maybe I can knock the stupid out.