Paris, France’s biggest city, is an appropriate place to start our tour of French school lunch programs, which–like everywhere in France–are called ‘school restaurants’ (restauration scolaire‘ (which tells you a lot about how the French view them).
The Parisian municipal government oversees the provision of food to over 160,000 students at 719 public schools, including 339 elementary schools and 320 preschools. The cost? Subsidized meal plans (according to which families pay according to their income) mean that low-income families pay as little as 18 cents per meal (middle-income families pay $3 per meal, and the very wealthiest families pay nearly $7).
Here’s a sample menu from the 18th ‘arrondissement’, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Paris, where many families would be paying the lowest tariffs for their meals. Note that they have a fully organic meal once a week–at the same price.
Monday, September 5th
Fresh tomato salad
Beef charolais with roasted apples
Chocolate flan with candied strawberry syrup
Tuesday, September 6th
White beans with tomato sauce
Edam and mountain cheese (from southern France’s Pyrenees)
Wednesday, September 7th
Fresh greens salad with cubed mimolette cheese and rustic mustard vinaigrette
Roast turkey with onion gravy
Green peas, stewed with aromatic herbs
Thursday, September 8th
Celery remoulade (this is celery root with a mayonnaise-based dressing)
Fish: Filet of hake with Basque sauce
Rice or bulghur
Cheese: Brie and Coulommiers
Ile flottante (meringue with fruit sauce)
Friday, September 9th
Weekly Organic Meal
Beef ‘springtime’ saute
Carrots with parsley
I don’t know about you, but reading these menus makes me slightly envious. What a wonderful education to be giving children: to love real food in all its variety. Later this year, I’ll blog about some of the things French schools do in the classroom to support kids emerging love of food.