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Apr 3, 2007

"Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And, cooking done with care is an act of love." --Craig Clairborne

Lunch Lady With A Mission

Ann Cooper is not your typical lunch lady. The former chef, who spent much of her 30-plus-year career working in white-tablecloth restaurants and catering for celebrities, is now best known as the "Lunch Lady" in Berkeley, Calif., schools. In cafeterias there she has tossed out fried, frozen, and sugary foods and replaced them with fresh, seasonal, and mostly organic meals. Driven to reform school lunches as concerns grow over childhood obesity and diabetes, Ms. Cooper gets up at 3:30 each morning to begin cooking school lunches by 5 a.m. She believes there's a direct correlation between what kids eat and how they perform at school, that knowledge of food is integral to one's education, and that all children deserve delicious and nutritious meals. Most of all, she says: "I want to change children's relationship to food."

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