OK, we know our school lunches are seriously lacking. But at the same time we sort of get resigned to it. Like the head of the food services program at my daycare who told me (as I was timidly asking for fresher, healthier food to be served instead of the usual stuff on offer): “kids only eat pasta and fishy crackers anyway”.
Humph. Our year in France showed me otherwise.
Here’s an actual photo of a high school lunch starter course (French school lunches usually have three courses) from a high school in Bourgoin-Jallieu (population: 25,000). As in all French schools, the daily menu offers only one choice, and students can not bring their own lunches from home.
And this is what Parisian kids ate today for lunch (in the 17th arrondissement, which is one of the middle-income neighborhoods in the city):
Menu: A Tour of Asia (yes, the school menus do have fancy titles)
Ice cream and dried fruit
Admittedly, this is slightly out of the ordinary, as it is the French ‘Tasting Week’ this week (more on this in a moment).
But just to make my point, here is today’s menu from the 18th arrondissement, one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in Paris:
Ricotta and spinach tortellini
Cheese: Emmental and ‘ash heart’ (this is a mystery to me, even when translated)
Fresh tropical fruit
All over France, this is how kids eat. And it isn’t more expensive than meals in North America.
I know what you’re thinking: where do we start? More on that in my next post.