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    The Lunch Tray’s Bettina Elias Siegel

    As we work to restore the health of children, we are continually amazed by those we meet on Facebook, Twitter and in person, and we are thrilled to introduce Food Hero, Bettina Elias Siegel, whose wit and wisdom is sure to inspire!

    Your Name: Bettina Elias Siegel

    Your Occupation: former lawyer, freelance writer and blogger, and stay-at-home parent of two children

    Your Blog/Website: The Lunch Tray (www.thelunchtray.com)

    Your Twitter Profile: @thelunchtray

    Your Go-to food that you can’t live without: Too hard to choose! I guess one thing I’d really miss is excellent (coal-oven) pizza.

    What characteristic do you most admire in a person? Integrity.

    What do you most deplore? Insincerity.

    What is your best trait? I like to think I’m good at simplifying complex issues for my readers, and I try hard to see all sides of an issue.

    What was your favorite hot lunch as a kid? The Tucson ISD’s rendition of a cheese enchilada, topped with a red enchilada sauce (what they call “gravy” here in Texas) and shredded iceberg lettuce. Although I now appreciate good, authentic Mexican food, the memory of that school cafeteria enchilada still haunts me!

    Which person living or dead would you most like to have a meal with? Outside my role as a kid/food blogger, I can think of lots of people, but right now I’d love to share a meal with Michelle Obama. Having a First Lady who is drawing attention to the issues of school food and childhood obesity is wonderful, and I’d like to both thank her and talk about the future. Besides, I met her in person once (briefly) and imagine she’d be a ton of fun to hang out with.

    What would you serve? Oh, I’m not cooking — this fantasy meal is taking place at the White House!

    What trait do you most deplore in our food? The emphasis by food manufacturers and the media on nutritionism –we’ve learned to focus on particular nutrients and have stopped applying common sense to the way we eat.

    If you could deliver five words to Congress, what would they be? “More money for school food.” (But if I could get three more words, I’d add “and nutrition education.”)

    If the USDA asked you to replace the word “Organic,” what word would you use? I’d turn the system on its head and let organic foods go unlabeled, while Big Agriculture would have to disclose on its food the ways in which its been mucked it up – pesticides, inhumane treatment of animals, and all the rest.

    If you were a piece of food, what would you be? A Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita chip. (Longtime Lunch Tray readers know all about my passionate obsession with Stacy — http://bit.ly/a7XPRt)

    What is your current state of mind? Invigorated! Less than a year ago I could never have imagined that I’d be writing The Lunch Tray (or any blog, for that matter) and I feel incredibly lucky and stimulated every time I sit down at the computer to share some new bit of information with my wonderful readership.

    What is your motto? I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a writer until around age 39 or 40, so I guess it would be, It’s Never Too Late to Change.