Is your child eating celery salad, roasted endive, and grilled fish at school this week? That's what French kids are eating….

This week we’re in northern France, at the border with Germany, in a rural part of the ‘Alsace’ region. Small rural villages often band together to create a shared menu for the small schools they serve. As no federal government subsidies are provided, the local town hall has to fund the costs of the meals entirely. So in some poorer regions, the menus are more simple. Contrast this menu, for example, to that of Versailles (one of the wealthiest towns in France) a few months ago. But they still put a lot of effort and love into the meals: take a look at this adorable menu.

The dishes will probably also seem a lot more familiar than the ones I’ve been posting from southern France over the past few weeks. French food is still quite localized: people in Brittany will eat differently from those in Provence, for example. As Alsace has a strong cultural connection with Germany, it’s perhaps no surprise these menus seem more ‘anglo-saxon’ (the term the French used for the non-Latin speaking countries to the north, including Germany, Holland, and England).

As usual, the meals follow a four course structure: vegetable starter; main dish with vegetable side; cheese course; dessert. All meals are served with fresh baguette (eaten plain) and water. No flavoured milk, juice, sports drinks, or pop. No vending machines. No fast food or junk food. Food for thought!

Monday, May 21st
Celery salad
Spaghetti with bolognaise sauce
Green salad (the type of lettuce–Batavia–is specified on the menu!)
Dessert: Fresh fruit

Tuesday, May 22nd
Tomato salad
Roast chicken with penne pasta
Dessert: Plain yogurt

Wednesday, May 23rd
Macedonian Salad with vinaigrette
Turkey filet with mushroom sauce, potatoes
Dessert: Fresh fruit

Thursday, May 24th
Green salad with vegetables
Grilled pork and french fries
Dessert: ‘Arlequin’ of fresh fruit

Friday, May 25th
Crepe with ham and cheese
Fish filet (pollock) with ‘bonne femme’ sauce and roasted endive
Dessert: Fresh seasonal fruit

This blog post is part of my French Kids School Lunch Project. Every week, I post the school lunch menus from a different village or town in France, where three-course, freshly-prepared hot lunches are provided to over 6 million children in the public school system every day. These meals cost, on average, $3 per child per day (and prices for low-income families are subsidised). My hope is that these menus (together with my other blog posts about the French approach to kid’s food) will spark a conversation about what children CAN eat, and how we can do better at educating them to eat well.

3 thoughts on “Is your child eating celery salad, roasted endive, and grilled fish at school this week? That's what French kids are eating….

  1. Hello Karen,

    I love, love your book. I found your book quite profound, I especially liked your honesty of ambivalence. And I hope your next book is for adults . I swear to god, I may buy the baby blender for myself.

    By the way, Laura Calder’s French Food at Home, my favorite French cookbook.

    I have a couple of questions for you:

    1) How as an adult could one retrain their food habits?

    2) What to do if one works into early to mid evening, as my schedule fluctuates.

    3) What do French adults do for their midday meal if they are at work.

    Thank you kindly. Ty

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