October 11th, 2011
09:38 AM ET
For a year, an anonymous blogger ate the same school lunches as her students at a Chicago, Illinois, elementary school.
From bagel dogs, yellowish meatloaf and chicken tenders, which she likened to "squirts of chicken foam," she ate the lumps on her orange school lunch tray. With spork in hand, her mission was to chronicle the $3 school lunches on her blog going by the pseudonym Mrs. Q. For a year, she shared her observations about the food and how it affected students.
No longer anonymous, Sarah Wu revealed her identity with the release of her new book, Fed Up With Lunch, which shares the title of her blog.
After revealing her identity, Wu has appeared on several TV shows, including CNN, where she discussed her motivation for the blog.
“I think that by putting out the book, it has started the conversation,” Wu said. “It’s normalizing talking about school food among teachers. When I had discussions with coworkers, it was sort of like throw your hands up and ‘What can you do?’”
Wu continues to work as a speech pathologist at Chicago Public Schools. After the release of the book, she went back to work.
“People started coming up to me and said, ‘Yeah the food is bad.' It normalizes the discussion,” Wu said.
To be fair, Wu said there have been improvements to introduce healthier foods, but there is a long way to go.
A few weeks ago she saw containers of sweet potatoes.
“All the kids were throwing them away,” Wu said. “They weren’t even trying them.”
So she tried a container of sweet potatoes. “They were pureed,” she said. “The texture was all wrong. They looked like baby food. They tasted better than baby food. I thought I’m happy they’re offering sweet potatoes, but devastated they mostly went into the trash. There’s not enough time for the kids to even tackle that part of the lunch.”
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