Tonight, school children all over the United States can sleep easy knowing potatoes are closer to being back on the school menu.
Battle potato started shortly after the passage in late 2010 of the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act — a bill that overhauled the school lunch program and contained a provision that would have limited potatoes to one cup per week. The logic (if you want to call it that) being that kids eat too many potatoes and don't eat the "healthy" stuff on the lunch tray.
Maine Senator Susan Collins (Maine is a potato growing state) took issue with the ban and in what can only be characterized as the proudest moment in U.S. potato history socked it to the regulators at a hearing on the new school lunch rules that would ban the popular vegetable. The Hill covered the hearing:
At a March Senate hearing on the USDA budget, Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) hoisted a standard-fare brown-skinned spud in one hand and, in the other, a head of iceberg lettuce, which hasn't come under explicit federal scrutiny. One medium white potato contains nearly twice the vitamin C "as this entire head," she said, asking: "So my question, Mr. Secretary, is what does the department have against potatoes?"
Tonight, the Senate approved an amdendement to the Ag spending bill that puts potatoes back in their rightful place–in the hands of hungry school children.
And as for the food nannies who will paint this as the return of the deadly French fry, Rep. Mark Udall made a lot of sense when he said "the lessons we should be teaching our kids is that it’s not about any one vegetable; it’s how you cook it.”