Food Revolution Day: Make Your Own (Lower) Sugar Chocolate Milk
See that innocent looking glass of chocolate milk? It's public school enemy #1, at least according to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Seriously, they declared an entire week to fight against flavored milk in schools and it often seemed to be the defining issue in the school lunch debate.
This seems, to me, like an odd focus. Flavored milk doesn't even make my top ten list of problems when it comes to school lunches. Bad policies, processed commodity food, budgets and staff stretched to the breaking point, a lack of creative thinking at the highest levels, and kitchens without actual cooking equipment...those strike me as the real enemies.
Flavored milk, not so much.
Still, Oliver's enthuiasm about feeding kids better lunches is laudable, even if his approach sometimes seems to be more showman than scientist and I am sometimes left questioning WTF this or that stunt or statistic was about. I have both questioned and snarked while watching the spectacle, wishing all the while that we'd see more serious work from Oliver...less reality show and more reality.
Today makes me happy.
Food Revolution Day, Oliver's latest endeavor, is a day of food-focused activity designed to get people talking, teaching, cooking, and eating good, healthful food. It's about home cooking, getting in the kitchen with your family (If you need a cookbook, might I suggest mine) When I heard about that mission—and nary a word about banishing flavored milk—I couldn't help but jump in with both feet and a bit of a 'tude...
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water (or milk)
Mix cocoa and sugar together in small microwave-safe container. Stir in the water and heat in the microwave for 10 seconds on low (power level 2-3) and stir. Repeat once or twice, and add a drop or two of water if the mixture is more paste than syrup.
This is not an exact science, the type of cocoa and sugar you use may change the amount of water you need. Store in tightly closed container in refrigerator (Made with water, this should keep a long time. If you make it with milk, use it before the milk goes bad.)
Note: I tested this with cocoa and sugar I bought in huge bags at Costco and it was pretty darned good. If you have really good cocoa like Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, or fair-trade, organic cocoa harvested by pixies who live in an off-the-grid holistic commune from your health food co-op, please feel free to use that instead.
My rough estimate is that a tablespoon of the mixture adds about a teaspoon of sugar to a glass of milk, about a third of the three cited as typical. You may be able to (gradually) reduce the amount of sugar, depending on your child's preferences. Just don't think that you must remove all of the sugar, this is supposed to be a treat, after all.
Check out all of the Food Revolution Day activity: cooking classes, dinner parties, and the usual flurry of web posts. You can also follow along on twitter @foodrev or facebook Food Revolution Community.
Thanks to @MelissaHaskin for the photo!