Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

I remember once when I was working for my high school paper. I was chasing a story about substandard school lunches after my friend Potsy broke a tooth on the meatloaf. I went undercover in the school cafeteria disguised as a Swedish janitor, and the school cooks almost caught me before his cool guy I know who lived in an apartment above my parents’ garage swept in and saved the day.

Oh wait… that wasn’t me – that was Richie Cunningham in an episode of “Happy Days.” Still, who knew the Fonz hated liver so much, right?

And “Scoop” Cunningham was on to something.

The Center For Science In The Public Interest last week issued a study called School Foods Report Card, rating by state the nutritional quality and balance of school lunch menus. While Kentucky and Oregon both got As, oour state came in on the bad side of the Bell curve, earning, along with New York and Maryland, a D+.

Hey, at least we beat Georgia.

So people around here should at least be interested in a proposed amendment to a farm bill coming before the US Senate which would put school meals and snacks under federally regulated dietary guidelines.

They should also be interested in the following culinary event right here in the Triad.

Slow Food Piedmont will hold a planning meeting on Sunday at 4 p.m. to confirm new leaders, sign up new members and make plans for the coming year. Anyone interested in the group and its approach to natural, sustainable eating should call 336.273.7292 if they want to get involved.

Earth Fare, a standard of reliability, at least as far as the Amuse column is concerned, will hold two installments of their culinary series this week. Get a lesson on vegetarian/vegan dining with a demonstration of sesame tofu with spinach on Wednesday at noon. On Friday at 7 p.m. learn to make saucy Hungarian eggplant which, according to the Earth Fare website, “You needn’t be a saucy Hungarian” to enjoy.

Pedestrians and shoppers in downtown Greensboro this holiday season will get a free treat courtesy of Downtown Greensboro, Inc. Until Dec. 14, DGI will erect a hospitality tent at the corner of Washington and Elm streets where they will be handing out free hot cider from 6-9 p.m. as part of Festive Fridays Downtown. Cider is for pedestrians and shoppers only. Loiterers will not be given cider.

Got room for one more? Keep an eye on the 2008 presidential candidates as they make nice with the folks in flyover land by sampling the native cuisine. Last week the New York Times Dining & Wine section ran a feature about the dining habits of those on the campaign trail, with a great short video on the site. Watch it, and then you tell me if Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who lost 110 pounds a couple years ago, isn’t about to break.