I read a rather heartbreaking story about the loss of a home-town treat to the Obama administration’s nutritional guidelines. Apparently, Michelle Obama’s national school nutrition bill has messed with a serious tradition in Elyria, Ohio. As a continuation to my blog, Healthy School Lunches-An Oxymoron?, I share the following.
The Elyria school system has served a beloved pink cookie for over 40 years. The recipe includes the use of white flour, butter, sour cream, granulated and powdered sugars, and Crisco among other ingredients. The caloric content of this fabulous treat has pushed it into the “ancient snack” archives under the Obama administration’s school food policies which allow a maximum of 200 calories per snack.
The pink cookies, considered a comfort food by anyone who grew up in Elyria, received the “Best Cafeteria Cookie” award by Cleveland Magazine in 2009. Therefore, some minor efforts were tried to make a more healthful pink cookie which might fit Obama’s guidelines in order that this loving institution continues into the next century. Unfortunately, using whole wheat flour instead of white flour did not help. The delicious homemade flavor created by the creamy butter and sugars was irreplaceable. Healthful versions simply became a non-pink cookie option.
Though there is buzz around Elyria that the cookies are now being sold on the black market-so to speak, they will no longer be permitted in schools. It’s a sad day for Elyria.
Even I, a strong health food proponent, feel bad for the next generation of Elyria students who may never experience that yummy pink cookie. We all have happy recollections of Grandma’s apple pie, Aunt Betty’s chocolate-chocolate chip cookies or our neighbor’s melt-in-your mouth meringues. So many of our memories are tied in with good food experiences, (which might, of course, be part of the cause of the obesity epidemic thus forcing the Whitehouse to create these more healthful guidelines to begin with).
Perhaps Mrs. Obama can create a “casual Friday” for school snacks. May I propose that the last Friday of the month be “Special Occasion Snack Day”? It would be a day when every student in Elyria gets a pink cookie treat just for old time’s sake.
Have the nutritional standards over stepped its boundaries on this one or is this just the way the cookie crumbles? I’d love to hear your thoughts.