LeighA
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    • LeighA

      It’s definitely not too dark to not be soda. That’s the exact color of iced tea. And the bubbles seem to only be around the ice cubes, which any liquid will do. And while I’m sure there are schools that serve soda, it’s definitely not true that “most” do. Your claim that it’s the “cheapest” option doesn’t hold up, because federal nutrition standards require schools to have milk, so the cheapest option would be to only have milk, not to offer both milk and soda. Even then, there are plenty of things just as cheap as, if not cheaper than, soda (like, well, iced tea). The only schools I’d expect to have soda (not counting vending machines) are the same ones that are set up more like mall food courts than standard cafeterias.

    • LeighA

      Kids definitely aren’t fat because of school lunches. Federal guidelines require that elementary school lunches have no more than 650 calories (700 for middle school, 850 for high school), and most kids don’t finish everything on their plate—a lot of fruit cups, milk cartons, side salads, and various unappealing sides and entrees end up getting thrown out. The limits are a bit above what the average kid needs, but first, they’re maximums, not minimums, and second, factoring in the likelihood of them not finishing it all and the fact that many kids don’t eat breakfast (and the unfortunate fact that many also don’t get enough for dinner), they’re pretty reasonable. In fact, plenty of people have suggested the max is too low for athletic kids, particularly high school boys.

    • LeighA

      That looks pretty close to what we got (sometimes) when I was in school (public school, PA, a decade ago), except there’s way more meat and cheese. When they gave us nachos, there was like 1/4 cup of taco meat and a medicine cup of shredded cheese. Most people’s favorite at my school was “Thanksgiving dinner,” which was a scoop of mashed potatoes covered in gravy with chunks of turkey, with a side of crouton stuffing and a little cup of (canned) cranberry sauce. Another favorite, for reasons I never understood, was the horrible rectangular pizza with doughy crust, plasticky cheese, a ton of grease (some people would pile napkins on to soak some of it up before they ate it), and two pieces of pepperoni.

    • LeighA

      There absolutely are people who are too poor to bring lunch. Money doesn’t magically appear in your bank account or pocket just because someone feels poverty is “no excuse” to not feed your kid. I grew up in an area where many people were poor (the average household income was just above the poverty line). Many people’s money ran out several days before payday, leaving them with only whatever tiny amount of random foods they had left and no ability to buy more. It’s hard enough to come up with dinner for several days at that point, how exactly do you propose also packing lunch for your kids?  You know what you end up with in that situation? The “lucky” kids getting a ketchup sandwich with a single slice of stale bread, and the unlucky ones getting literally nothing to eat, at all. And some kids, especially older ones, will deliberately not bring anything so they can make sure their younger siblings have food, or because they feel like taking any of what tiny amount of food they have in their house is an unfair burden on their parent(s).

    • LeighA

      Even in public schools, it would be impractical/impossible in much of the US. In rural areas, many kids live miles from the school—where I grew up, quite a few lived 8-10 miles away, and almost everyone (literally, all but a handful of kids) was at least 2 miles away. In urban areas, most kids live within a couple miles, but there’s also traffic to contend with. Moreover, the US (and presumably some other countries) places a strong emphasis on always having food available at school because for so many kids, it’s some of the only food they get. That’s why children whose families earn less than a certain amount get free breakfast and lunch. If all kids were expected to go home for lunch, the poorest kids simply wouldn’t get lunch.

    • LeighA

      Unless you have a heart condition, the vast majority of people don’t have to worry about how much salt they eat.  Actually, the amount recommended in the US is probably too low. Not only was its original implementation a misinterpretation of the data, even more recent studies have shown that eating less than a certain amount of salt is just as detrimental to health as eating too much, and the “recommended” amount is below that threshold, whereas the average American’s sodium intake falls within the ideal range.

    • LeighA

      “Do your research, folks.” Okay. Having researched it (briefly, just now), it seems that some studies show a slight cancer risk at very high levels, and others show a slight preventive effect against certain types of cancer (note that these are not mutually exclusive, so long as they are different types of cancer), plus a few other benefits, with the general conclusion being that it’s unlikely to be harmful to humans at normal levels and may even be useful in helping treat certain disorders (including leukemia) alongside other medicines. So much for that “proven to cause cancer” thing, I guess.

    • LeighA

      Most of the Evol meals I’ve had are actually pretty good, as far as TV dinners go. The only exception is that the “street tacos” ones were super mushy. But the burritos and bowls are decent. They do cost more than most TV dinners, though. If I remember right, they’re about $4, while most of the rest are $2-3 and a few (ahem, Banquet) are only $1. But I was thinking the same thing for a lot of the snacks. The popcorn and chips look like they’d be horrible (I’d try them, but only if someone else bought them). And I can attest to the fact that most Lean Cuisine meals are at best “meh” (that’s one of the main reasons I even bothered to try the Evol ones).

    • LeighA

      Because gummy worms are real worms, Swedish fish are real fish, lady fingers are real fingers, candy cigarettes are real cigarettes, Mountain Dew is real dew (from real mountains), and Bloody Marys are real blood (and don’t even get me started on screwdrivers, so hard to drink). All kinds of foods have names that don’t represent what’s in them. From an official, legal standard, packaged foods and restaurant menus are allowed to call non-chicken slightly altered versions, like Chick’n, the same way they use “krab” to refer to things that aren’t actually crab. But they’re also allowed to straight up lie about some other things, like wasabi. And people posting random recipes on the internet are allowed to call them whatever they heck they want.

    • LeighA

      #8 Just don’t be stupid. Snacks at the dollar store often cost more than they do at, say, Walmart. Yes, everything is “only” a dollar, but remember that other stores have things that cost less than a dollar (most candy bars are about $0.75 at Walmart). Plus, sometimes Dollar Tree’s food is well past the expiration date—probably still fine for most of it, but not worth paying extra for.

    • LeighA

      If it involves an animal dying—meat, some cheeses (rennet), gelatin (animal bones)—it isn’t vegetarian. If it comes from a living animal—other cheeses, honey, milk—it’s vegetarian but not vegan. There are vegetarians who don’t adhere very strictly to a vegetarian diet beyond avoiding meat itself, but that doesn’t make those foods vegetarian, it just means those people are making an exception for some reason (maybe they don’t realize how something is made, or maybe they think it’s too much of a hassle to avoid every dead-animal-based product, or maybe they just really really like marshmallows and figure once in awhile isn’t too terrible).

    • LeighA

      Ignoring the entire argument about whether or not people should tip, you know what else helps supplement an income as a barista? People buying coffee. If less than half the people going to Starbucks tip, that means that if everyone who doesn’t tip stopped going there, Starbucks would lose a ton of money and would probably have to fire a lot of their employees. A job where only half the people leave tips is almost certainly better than no job at all.

    • LeighA

      Even for Americans, there are several reasons why. One, it isn’t customary at all to tip for services that don’t require any particular amount of time. You don’t tip for fast food, and most people either don’t tip or tip far less for take-out. Depending on what you order at Starbucks, it could less than a minute for you to get your drink. It may never even occur to someone to tip for 30 seconds of work. And most people aren’t really sure who is and isn’t supposed to be tipped, in general, beyond waiters at sit-down restaurants (based on what I’ve seen, the answer is “practically everyone”). Two, the price of drinks. I know people like to make fun of Starbucks for being expensive, but I actually mean the reverse—unless you’re ordering for multiple people, you’re probably spending less than $5. A lot of people aren’t really sure how to handle tipping when the price is that low, because even a 20% tip is less than $1, and that seems like an almost insulting amount to leave, maybe even worse than no tip, but leaving more seems a bit silly (especially considering, as previously stated, that it was for about a minute of work). Three, and most importantly, they don’t have it set up in a way to encourage tipping. I’ve been to other counter-service places (coffee, ice cream, boba tea, etc) where they give you a receipt with a tip line or ask for a tip on the card machine. Starbucks doesn’t. Some might have a tip jar, but a lot of people don’t use cash. So it’s actually difficult to leave a tip at Starbucks, even if you want to.

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