Category Archives: Food

Opinion: Drowning in childcare bills? Read NCLA

The very smart economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth has reviewed No Child Left Alone for MarketWatch. The whole review is here.

She opens with high praise:

As presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton grapple with the high cost of child care, there’s no better time to read Abby W. Schachter’s new book, “No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting,” published by Encounter Books. Guaranteed to raise your blood pressure, it describes how federal and state regulations affect all aspects of child rearing, from birth to high school graduation.

Furchtgott-Roth focuses on the specific problem of childcare:

Day-care centers run by Head Start have to follow rules issued by the Department of Agriculture, including requirements to provide foods such as cow’s milk, even if parents prefer that children not drink cow’s milk.

Day-care providers in Pennsylvania, Schachter’s home state, are required to throw out uneaten food and wash out containers in case the child might consume hazardous material later on.

Just as Obamacare drove up the price of health care, government regulation is driving up the price of day care and school lunches.

Talking NCLA at WSJ with Mary Kissel

It was a pleasure talking to Mary Kissel at Opinion Journal about No Child Left Alone: Getting the government out of parenting.

Let’s go to the video!

The Real Joy of Family Cooking

Should We Revive Home Ec?

Making lunch a test for parents

The Wall Street Journal has a story on how making school lunch has gotten too complicated:

Why does packing a kid’s school meal often leave parents feeling frazzled?

With food allergies on the rise, many schools have barred all nut products, not just peanut butter, and sometimes other foods like soy and dairy. More schools also have candy and soda bans. A growing awareness of childhood obesity and nutrition means more parental anxiety around choosing the “right” foods—and making sure it’s stuff the kids will actually eat…..

“I pack [my son] a lunch every day and I hate it,” says Amy Hood, a stay-at-home mother of three from Charlestown, R.I. “It is like laundry. You’re never done.” In January, she tweeted that she had slipped a Kit Kat into her 11-year-old’s lunch: “This is (voice of doom) AGAINST THE RULES. Told him to eat the evidence if confronted.” Her son’s school has a no-candy policy. And while Ms. Hood says she generally packs a healthy lunch, she says she doesn’t “see the problem in a little fun stuff.” (The Kit Kat wasn’t confiscated; her son ate it.)

A Kit Kat is a crime?

We read so often about how badly most Americans eat. We go out too often, or bring in take-out, and we never make our own food. This is supposedly why we are all so fat and will die early of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. We are supposedly killing our kids with the junk food we buy them or the fast food they buy with the money we give them because we are too busy working to make dinner.

Now we learn that instead of trying to encourage parents to make healthier, homemade lunch for their kids, schools are bearing down on parents with all sorts of rules for what they can and can’t send. Schools will now monitor what the kids are bringing from home and confiscate the lunch if it doesn’t comply with government-set standards.

Worse yet, some schools are banning homemade lunch altogether because the school can’t control what the kids are getting.

“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” said Chicago’s Little Village Academy Principal Elsa Carmona. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.”

But the food in school is terrible. First Lady Michelle Obama came up with new school lunch menus that are forced on public schools and students. The lunch program is so heavily subsidized that schools can hardly resist. Only it turns out that the kids hate the food (and use, ahem, colorful language to express themselves), they throw a ton of it out and are costing schools hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result. Several hundred schools, in fact, have opted out of the national school lunch program because the students hated it so much and it was costing districts thousands.

“Some of the stuff we had to offer, they wouldn’t eat,” said Catlin, Ill., Superintendent Gary Lewis, whose district saw a 10 to 12 percent drop in lunch sales, translating to $30,000 lost under the program last year. “So you sit there and watch the kids, and you know they’re hungry at the end of the day, and that led to some behavior and some lack of attentiveness.”

Instead of fighting parents and punishing kids, educators and administrators should be grateful when kids bring their own food and encourage more parents to do the same. So what if there’s a bag of chips with the bologna sandwich. At least the school didn’t have to pay for it and the kid is getting fed. Besides, aren’t schools meant to focus more on what’s going into the kids’ brains rather than their stomachs?

Another political decision about our kids’ diet

First Lady Michelle Obama’s lunch menus are getting an F from students and administrators and now Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has jumped on the bandwagon to force schools into providing more expensive, not more nutritious Greek-style yogurt to public school kids. Is he pushing this sour initiative because of health? Not really. It has much more to do with economics and what’s good for the New York State dairy industry. Read more in my new column at


If Nanny Bloomberg were your dad

The New York Post recently reported that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is going to be a first-time grandpa when his 30-year-old unmarried, equestrian daughter Georgiana gives birth this coming winter. The mayor’s spokesman told Page Six that Bloomberg “is thrilled and can’t wait to meet his first grandchild.” Nice that he’s so eager, but if your dad was the Nanny of New York City who’d spent the past decade banning “bad” habits and mandating “healthy” behavior, you might have a bit different perspective.  Imagine a conversation between daddy and daughter regarding the pregnancy. It might go something like this:

Dad: Hi Georgie. How are you feeling?

Georgiana: Fine Daddy, thanks.

D: What have you been eating?

G: I’m trying to keep it healthy, dad. Breakfast was vanilla yogurt, granola and berries. I’ve stopped drinking coffee. I’m only drinking water and juice.

D: I know you take care of yourself, but haven’t you been following my effort to stop New Yorkers from eating too much sugar? Fruit juice, yogurt, granola? You know how much added sugar those things have? Recent studies have shown that sugar is so “toxic” you might give birth to a baby prone to obesity if you don’t watch out.

G: OK, dad.

D: Remember what I said at the press conference when that stupid judge overturned my soda ban? “I’ve gotta defend my children, and you, and everybody else and do what’s right to save lives…Obesity kills.” Lay off the sugar, ok?

G: OK, Dad.

D: What about other meals?

G: I’ve stopped eating fish because of the mercury. So I’m eating hamburgers and steak for the red meat and lots of hard, pasteurized cheeses.

D: That’s too much salt, darling. Don’t you remember my former department of health chief Thomas “sourpuss” Frieden? He’s now director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and he says that almost a million people a year die from heart attacks and strokes due to overindulging in salt. They don’t actually have proof that salt is directly responsible for all those deaths, of course, but it is obviously really, really bad to eat too much salt.

G: OK, Dad.

D:  Georgie, the news says you aren’t taking any time off from horseback riding for the baby.

G: Yes, dad.

D: Well, if you aren’t going to take time off, how will you exclusively breastfeed? I’ve been working very hard to force mothers into breastfeeding by putting formula under lock and key at city hospitals. I’m doing that because breast is best! Just like my Latch-On NYC campaign says, mothers can save their newborns from diabetes, obesity, ear infections and protect their immune system with breast-milk. Formula is basically poison.

G: OK, dad.

D: OK.

G: I do have a question for you?

D: Shoot.

G: I know you and mom are divorced but you were married when Emma and I were born and I’m just wondering whether you think it would be better for the baby if I were married to the baby’s father [my boyfriend, fellow equestrian, Argentinian-born] Ramiro [Quintana]?

D: Sweetheart, you know that I love and support you no matter what you do right?

G: Yes, dad.

D: But really I can’t tell you what to do.

G: Uh, thanks Dad.