Starting in January 2010, a Chicago elementary school teacher set out on an unusual culinary project. She resolved to eat lunch in the public school where she worked every day for a year and report on her experience in a blog, Fed Up With Lunch
Adopting the pseudonym Mrs. Q and surreptitiously photographing the $3 school meals, she ate her way through 162 lunches worth of chicken tenders (which she compared to “squirts of chicken foam”), peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches (one of which made her sick), and bagel dogs.
Now, Mrs. Q has published a book on the experience, also named Fed Up With Lunch
, and has stepped out from behind her pseudonym to reveal her true identity: She is Sarah Wu, a 34-year-old speech pathologist.
Since revealing her identity, Wu has been featured in USA Today
and the Chicago Tribune
and appeared on CNN
, Good Morning America
, and The View
. Wu explains that she embarked on her project after forgetting to bring her own lunch to work one day and instead trying the school lunch: a bagel dog (a hot dog encased in a soggy roll), a half dozen tater tots, a Jell-O cup, and chocolate milk.
Concerned that the school lunches were nutritionally questionable, Wu decided to launch her blog to call attention to what her students—90% of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunches—have to eat every day. She also did some research on the food served in school lunches. Among her findings: Chicken nuggets often contain as much filler as meat, and school pizza can contain over 60 ingredients.
Wu’s blog became a hit, with thousands of regular readers and a total of a million hits in 2010. Some of Wu's followers expressed concern that her health would suffer as a result of her experiment, but she remained the same weight as when she started and her cholesterol even dropped 20 points. (This may have been due in part to the greater care she took with her non-school meals to compensate.)
Throughout the project, Wu maintained her anonymity out of concern that she would be fired if it were revealed. Now that her identity is public, she has returned to work and has apparently suffered no consequences.
Around the Web
'Fed Up with Lunch' exposes worst school meals [USA Today]
School lunch blogger 'Mrs. Q' drops anonymity [Chicago Tribune]
'Mrs. Q' Revealed After Undercover School Mission [Good Morning America]
Just How Bad Are Public School Lunches? [The View]
Newly revealed lunch blogger hopes for better school nutrition [CNN]