One of Anthony Geraci's innovations in the Baltimore City Public Schools school meal program is “Meatless Mondays.” The system is the largest in the country to adopt such a program, which Geraci admits is a “social statement” but also “a way to amortize operating costs so that I can buy more the rest of the week.”
The program, which removes meats from the lunch menu each Monday in favor of alternatives like cheese lasagna, rice and beans, cheese sandwiches and so forth, was introduced this fall. Geraci says it is also a way to bring some meatless ethnic dishes to the program to give the students a taste of different cultures' food traditions. “I don't want to homogenize the kids, I want to celebrate their different cultures and expose them to as many different kinds of foods and ways to prepare foods as I can.”
He says the recipes, some of which are solicited from students and adapted to volume production and school nutritional standards, also can help the poverty-stricken families of students by providing examples of tasty dishes made with inexpensive, healthy ingredients.