Friday, May 29, 2009

Butter vs Books and the Google

Two culinary heros, Anthony Bourdain.. and Alice Waters, recently clashed in what became the 'books versus butter' discussion. Anthony, or Tony, as his peers call him, exploded over the costs of organic food and rightfully so. Alice, to her credit, countered with a lively discussion of upfront vs backend vs hidden vs true 'costs' of inexpensive food. I think Alice's idea to feed school children breakfast, lunch and dinner is a noble one and probably a very good one IF and only IF she is the designated cook. Otherwise you'll just end up with all the same old politics with nutritionist and dieticians serving the same old stuff. But I digress.

They both had their points but failed to see where they are in agreement. Literacy and good food work well together. Really well. Kids, and anyone for that matter, think and learn much better when well fed. It seems ridiculously self evident that good food optimizes learning and behavior. Having a 6 year old reminds me of this every day. It would be a whole lot easier to give her 'regular' food but we would pay for it in increased irritability, tantrums, meltdowns not to mention sick days and doctor visits. So imagine what a classroom of well-nourished children could look like and what that classroom looks like today in every classroom in the country.

This is one of the great lesssons from Google. When Google was just a struggling company of 50 or so people, they hired a chef. Not just any chef, but a whole-real-organic-food lovin' guy to feed everyone in the company for free!

Bottom line: Good food is good brain fuel.

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