marybethtinkerThere we were. I could feel the energy in the room. I’ve been talking about her for years, and finally I would get the chance to talk to her. I wanted to tell her how I’ve admired her from a far. How there had been times when she was the focus of all my thoughts. Times when it seemed like no one else was important. And now I would get the chance to be noticed by her. I could feel her spirit within me. I sat down a few feet from her, and there she was. Her small frame held up by a story that has empowered millions to take a stand.

Life had finally helped my path cross with Mary Beth Tinker.

As a 13 year old girl, Mary Beth wore a black arm band to school to protest the Vietnam war. The principal asked her to take it off; she did. Little did she know that four years later in 1969 the courts would decide that students don’t check their constitutional rights at the school house gate, and that her name would be forever remembered in the context of “Tinker v. Des Moines“.

Last Thursday, Kerri and I chaperoned students to the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Phoenix. Seeing Mary Beth Tinker was a once in a lifetime kind of thing for me, and needless to say I savored every moment.

Throughout the conference I kept saying to myself, ‘MUST BLOG’. I know as much as anyone how annoying it is to start reading something only to feel abandoned when the writer disappears. I don’t know what I would do if Nick Kristof just stopped writing one day.

But…life happens, and ‘MUST BLOG’ became a faint murmur drowned out by the needs of students, parents, and everything else.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been monumentally busy, and as a result the blog has suffered. We apologize.

Kerri spent nearly two weeks chaperoning a student trip to Greece, during which time I prepared to gear us up for the next project. Once Kerri returned, we were off to chaperon students in Phoenix for a few days.

Now that we’re back, we’ve started our latest project. We can’t reveal too much here, but I can say that it’s already presenting some new challenges, and that on day two we’re learning even more about the economics of eating. We can tell you that we’re following a plan devised by the USDA. We’ve also decided to keep a video diary of things from now on, which will be available in parts when the book comes out.

Oh yeah, and I’ve been reading like mad. Since we’ve joined this conversation about food, it only makes sense to see what other people have said. I won’t list the ten titles I’ve read this month, but if you get the chance pick up a copy of “Stuffed and Starved” by Raj Patel, or “All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America?” by Joel Berg. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. They are both insightful, smart and engaging writers.

If a book seems like too much of a commitment, you might want to check out this article from the Wall Street Journal about how food companies are trying to get your business amidst a rare slump in sales, or maybe you’ll feel compelled to learn that your addiction to sweets isn’t your fault?

Either way, you can expect to hear from us every Saturday from this point forward. Promise.

– Christopher



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6 responses to “WE’RE BACK!

  1. Stuffed and starved? That seems like an interesting title. I’m starting to feel a bit guilty about the snacking I did last night. I wasn’t hungry, just wanted something to munch. Shame on me.

  2. Susan

    So glad you are back. Looking forward to hearing from both of you on a regular basis again. I had almost given up.

  3. julie

    I too was in high school at the time and also wore a black arm band. In part, was my belief that there was no clear explaination why we were there. Years later, Robert McNamara the highest civilian in charge of the war, worte a book indicating they the government had no clue or well layed out plans.

    I am glad to see teacher of Social Justice. Let’s think about all that we impact.

  4. Anonymous

    Nice to see you are back. Apology accepted ;). We all missed you. I was starting to think my words fell on deaf ears. But, it seems I had a bit of an effect and that made me smile. I look forward to what you have to say every Saturday. I may even be interested in your future book…

  5. jen

    missed ya’ll. can’t wait to hear what’s next.

  6. Rose

    The last time I substituted for 8th graders, I quoted Tinker v Des Moines, and encouraged them to peacefully petition the school board for either longer breaks (from 4 minutes to 5 minutes between classes) or clear backpacks (so they could make fewer trips to their lockers.) Nothing is ever changed by just talking about how messed up the situation is. And they stared at me like I was Einstein.

    Actually, I stumbled across your blog, and read it in a few hours, because I was looking for some more cheap and easy recipes. You see, for the past few months, my roommates and I have been living in a not so gracefully chosen $1 a day diet. We’re actually alright, no significant reports of weight loss or mood swings, but I do understand the food fatigue. For future reference, sometimes switching up the meals (having a burrito for lunch and oatmeal for dinner) helps, and an assortment of spices. And just be willing to play with food.

    Put peanut butter in the rice, for instance. Faux Thai stir fry.

    And I know you’ve cut out carbonated beverages (high fructose corn syrup and all), but if HFCS is the only reason why, you could make your own soda. You already have the ingredients.

    Bottle with a lid
    Cup and a half of sugar (Or honey)
    Flavoring (go wild here, too)
    a tablespoon of yeast.
    Fill with warm water, put top back on, shake.
    Leave out overnight or until bottle is hard to squeeze.

    Similar to Polenta, kinda, is another cheap and easy recipe: Hot Water Cornbread (brought over by some friends from Zimbabwe)

    I never measure when I make it, so:

    3 parts corn meal, 1 part flour. Teaspoon of salt (or 1/16th cup sugar if you’d rather it be sweet)
    Stir in boiling hot water until the mixture sticks together. Scoop out some of the mixture (about two golf balls worth, and having a bowl of ice water handy for your hands is good), mold into an oblong shape, fry. Great with soups, chili, or just to snack on.

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