St. Croix students get a taste of new school lunches
Published: August 16, 2013
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
ST. CROIX - While summer vacation is not quite over and school has not yet begun, a number of students and residents took tests on Thursday - a taste test of the V.I. Education Department's newly developed food preparation methods.
Angela Frett, state director for special nutrition, said she was excited about the new foods - which is expected to be more flavorful and healthier for students this school year - that her office had to showcase.
A balanced mix of students, parents and other residents were presented with plates of sample dishes that kitchen staff members from many of the schools had prepared using more stir-fry methods and incorporating more local herbs and spices and fewer sugars.
The foods included brown rice with coconut milk; potato stuffing that substituted American yams for sugar; sweet and sour beets; creole chicken; spaghetti and meatballs; and other dishes.
Marianna Stanislas was one of the parents who sat comfortably in the Arthur Richards Junior High School cafeteria, tasting slowly and trying to take in every essence of the food presented to her. She said she had grown concerned about the nutrition program at the schools several years ago and questioned her son about why he did not eat the food.
Student Jovante Goodridge said he will be more likely to visit the cafeteria, now that he is preparing for eighth grade.
"Before, the food was nasty, the meatballs had an aftertaste, the rice was sticky and it just was something I did not want to eat," he said. "While this one is not as good as my mother's, it is much better than it used to be."
Stanislas said her job as a parent is to be involved in every aspect of her child's life and if something is wrong with the food he is getting at school, she wants to know about it.
"You can taste the seasoning in the food, I think the kids will eat it," she said.
Frett said the meals are all reimbursed by the federal government and require that the meals contain more fruits and vegetables and more whole grains.
"Every meal is tied to federal funds and has to include the five components of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and milk," she said.
District School Superintendant Gary Molloy said he has eaten with students at various schools cafeterias, and the new menu is a great improvement.
"The food is very well-prepared, and I believe the students are going to enjoy it," he said.
Molloy said that as the department prepares for schools' opening in a few weeks, all of the kitchens will be opened and staffed to provide food cooked on-site.
"Barring any last-minute retirements or resignations, we have everyone in place to run all the kitchens," he said.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.