Proving that the Law of Unintended Consequences is alive and well, I came across this story in the New York Times online:
November 10, 2008Bake Sales Fall Victim to Push for Healthier Foods
By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN
PIEDMONT, Calif. — Tommy Cornelius and the other members of the Piedmont High School boys water polo team never expected to find themselves running through school in their Speedos to promote a bake sale across the street. But times have been tough since the school banned homemade brownies and cupcakes.
The old-fashioned school bake sale, once as American as apple pie, is fast becoming obsolete in California, a result of strict new state nutrition standards for public schools that regulate the types of food that can be sold to students. The guidelines were passed by lawmakers in 2005 and took effect in July 2007. They require that snacks sold during the school day contain no more than 35 percent sugar by weight and derive no more than 35 percent of their calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fat.
The Piedmont High water polo team falls woefully short of these standards, selling cupcakes, caramel apples and lemon bars off campus in a flagrant act of nutritional disobedience.
(Read the full article at NYTimes.com)
I know, I know - last week, I was cheering English chef Jamie Oliver's call for the UK government to mandate cooking classes in public schools and now, I'm jeering the state of California for its attempt to solve the rising rates of obesity in schoolchildren. I completely agree that teaching kids the fundamentals of nutrition and limiting their daily exposure to junk food in school will help them make better, healthier food choices now and in the future. However, this article illustrates that even the best intentions go awry. It's one thing to ban sodas and potato chips, which tempt schoolkids day after day, but quite another to discourage the occasional fund-raising bake sale.
As the article points out, non-food items can be offered but when was the last time you eagerly tore into a pack of holiday wrapping paper with matching bows that you'd forgotten you even ordered from your co-worker's kid? Besides, I would much rather buy a homemade Rice Krispies treat, knowing that the money goes straight to the cause rather than a for-profit company that provides mass-produced merchandise for a cut of the proceeds. And consider this: baking those cookies, brownies, and cakes on behalf of a club or team just might be the spark that ignites a young student's interest in cookery.
There's no such thing as bad food when food choices are made with balance and moderation in mind. So before we start regulating those choices, let's try educating first.
Cups 'n' Chips Cookies
This is a great bake sale item - easy to make, quick to sell and yummy to eat! Recipe courtesy of my sister Mayella.
You'll need your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (or use this classic), 1 bag Reese's Miniature Peanut Butter Cups, refrigerated, and foil baking cups (if using paper, double the cups).
- Prepare chocolate chip cookie recipe as directed.
- Line muffin tin with foil baking cups and fill with cookie dough, about half full.
- Bake according to recipe directions.
- While cookies are baking, unwrap as many Reese's PB cups as needed and keep cool until needed.
- When cookies are done, remove from oven and IMMEDIATELY press one PB cup in the center until the top is even with the cookie. Repeat with the rest while the cookies are still soft and warm.
- Allow cookies to cool completely - the heat will soften the PB cups so don't stack them too soon! You can keep the cookies in the baking cups or remove before serving.