From the rations soldiers are eating in Iraq to the most expensive pizza we could find, GOOD looks at the meals of America.
1. CHICKEN and BROCCOLI
Pasadena High SchoolThe healthiest school lunch we could find: chicken with broccoli, carrots, and white rice, with three pieces of fruit for dessert and a carton of 2-percent milk to wash it all down.The Department of Agriculture has not changed rules about the nutritional content of federally subsidized school lunches in 30 years.The National School Lunch Program served more than 5 billion lunches in 2007.Fewer than one-third of public school lunches meet the USDA standards for total fat or saturated fat.The average cost of a lunch for the last school year was $1.80.Federal law prohibits the sale of soda in school cafeterias during the lunch period.More than half the states have adopted new rules limiting what food and drinks kids have access to at schools.The percentage of high schools with vending machines has doubled since the early 1990s.Twenty states received failing grades for their school food policies.
2. OSETRA PIZZA
HiddenThis pizza costs $250 at Hidden, in Santa Monica, California. Justifying the hefty price tag are the crème fraîche, marinated lobster carpaccio, and Beluga caviar that adorn the wafer-thin crust. Glass of Nero d'Avola not included.Full-service restaurants are a $558-billion industry in the United States.The restaurant business employs 13.1 million Americans-more people than any other industry in the country, except the government.Eighty percent of Americans think going out to a restaurant is a better use of their leisure time than cooking and cleaning.In 2005, the average American spent $1,054 on restaurant meals.The highest grossing independent restaurant in the country is Tao Las Vegas-which raked in $55.2 million during 2006, its first full year open.
3. CLASSIC CHICKEN DINNER
PopeyesBehold a classic: a three-piece Popeyes meal complete with a biscuit and two rich sides-coleslaw made properly (with mayo) and mashed potatoes with gravy. To wash it down? Orange Crush.Modern fast food originated in 1912, with the opening of the world's first Automat in where else?-New York.Forty-five percent of British citizens-the most of any country in the world-agree with the statement "I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up." Forty-four percent of Americans agreed.Every month, more than 90 percent of children in the United States eat at McDonald's.Soda has by far the highest profit margin at fast-food restaurants. A medium Coke that sells for $1.29 only contains about 9 cents' worth of Coke syrup.The fast-food restaurants with the greatest increase in the number of stores in 2007 were Quiznos and Panera Bread Company.McDonald's is the largest purchaser of beef in the country. KFC buys the most chicken.
4. BEEF STEW Meal Ready To Eat
U.S MilitaryThis single-portion military ration includes beef stew, mini chocolate-chip cookies, and powdered milk, as well as Tabasco sauce and apple jelly. Also included: the smallest packet of Taster's Choice we've ever seen.All MREs (meals ready to eat) must contain at least 1,200 calories, and can last up to three years.MREs have been nicknamed "meals rejected by everyone" by soldiers.Soldiers should not eat MREs more than 21 days in a row.Menu options include: spicy penne pasta, beef enchilada, chicken fajita, and sloppy joe filling. All MREs come with Tabasco sauce.In 1941, ready-to-eat Army meals came in three options: meat and beans, meat and vegetable hash, and meat and vegetable stew.All military MREs come packaged with a flameless heater, which uses a simple chemical reaction to provide sufficient heat to warm the food.
5. MOCK TUNA SALAD
Leaf Cuisine Mock tuna sits over cabbage, mung bean sprouts, sunflower sprouts, and carrots in this all-raw salad. To drink? A shot of wheatgrass and algae, and a serving of coconut juice-from the husk, naturally.Adherents to the raw-food doctrine won't eat anything that's been cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.Hardcore raw foodists won't drink tea or, more obviously, coffee. Instead they'll stew sun-dried herbs in warm, not boiling, water.The eating of live insects-a source of Vitamin B12 for some primates-is a point of contention between vegan and nonvegan raw foodists.Some foods can be poisonous when eaten raw, including buckwheat, kidney beans, and potatoes.A 1999 study of German raw foodists found that 25 percent of women and nearly 15 percent of men were underweight.The body more easily absorbs iron from most vegetables when those vegetables have been boiled, stir-fried, steamed, or grilled.Photographs by Vanessa Stump