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What’s For Lunch

Every once in a while at work I volunteer to help check the menus we get from child care providers in compliance with the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program, or CACFP. The basic idea of the CACFP– at least the part I deal with– is that the government reimburses day care providers in low-income areas for the food they provide their preschool wards. Makes sense: you pay for school lunches, might as well support younger children too.

What doesn’t make so much sense is that to do this, the government has decided that each provider must report on exactly what each child has eaten at every single meal. (Well, I guess it’s really that or average out the cost of food provided, which doesn’t work for our operation because our community’s math skills are so poor that it would ostensibly mean more work for us every month.) The mind-numbing amount of red-tape-riddled paperwork this produces has really made me reconsider the time I spend laughing at my libertarian friends.

Each snack is supposed to consist of fluid milk or fruit/vegetable and starch or meat; each meal needs fluid milk, two fruit/vegetable options, starch, and meat. Regulations on what can and can’t be provided are mostly sensible, though there are a few stipulations that baffle us (for instance, potatoes must be counted as a vegetable, not a starch). There’s not too much room for Reaganesque fakery; ketchup can’t be counted as a vegetable, though spaghetti sauce can. Meat alternates like nuts and beans are mostly allowed, but tofu is unclaimable. The guidebook takes into account an interesting range of food possibilities, from possum to plantains to Spam, marking the latter (along with Pop Tarts and other prepackaged crap) with little frowny faces to guide providers towards more enlightened feeding habits.

I get great amusement out of correcting the menus. The spelling employed is truly outlandish. I’m touched and a little concerned by the painstaking way in which providers record the brand names of certain foods– “Trisquit Crackers” and “Hebrew National 100% Beef Hot Dogs.” (Screw the people who raise their eyebrows at my lack of political correctness. The enjoyment I get out of seeing written English destandardized has no connection whatsoever with stigmatizing people for their lack of education. It worries me that children are being left daily with people who regularly spell “potato” the way Dan Quayle does, but I know it’s better than nothing, and I’d rather see these providers given further access to education than snatch the impressionable bairns from their care.)

So I provide these entertaining outtakes for the entertainment of my mother and Xephreniaq, as usual, adding a sympathetic tip of the hat to Glyph and Bonnie. This is the other side of government bureaucratese. (I regret I lost an earlier list, it was much better than this one.)


beef strew


tomate souce

pork shop

sag (meaning “spaghetti”)

brand muffin

beef meat



noddles soup

bake chickens



fluffy pancakes

pepper stake


collard flour

turkey parts

chicken charms (Nat actually knew what this was, so it must be something I just don’t know about)

smother stake

prum fruit



pind butter

God fish (“She’s really religious, so I’m not laughing,” says my co-worker of the woman who wrote this in for her meat portion. “She might do a heebie-jeeebie on me. He was probably on her mind at the time.”)

pin salmon fillete


milk villia



chicken pitties


Frenh Toate


crest bread

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