Yummy French Kids' School Lunches…this week in the heart of Provence

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.

This week we’re in Manosque, a small town best known for being the home of L’Occitan en Provence (some of my favorite French beauty products). Nestled against the highest hills in this region (the forested Verdon Regional Park), Manosque is a gateway to the sparsely populated foothills of the southern Alps. In the surrounding countryside, medieval villages surrounded by lavender fields (that’s why those creams smell so good) are tucked into the valleys between forested hills. It’s amazing to find such a wonderfully preserved region so close to the bustling Mediterranean coast.

So, what are children eating this week in Manosque?

Monday, December 5th
Grated carrot salad
Spaghetti with carbonara sauce
Cheese plate
Fruit compote

Tuesday, December 6th
Cheese crêpe
Green and white bean ‘duo’
Fromage blanc (a creamy soft cheese with a slightly thicker consistency than ricotta)
Organic seasonal fruit

Wednesday, December 7th
Orange juice
Couscous and vegetables
St Môret cheese
Crème au chocolat

Thursday, December 8th
Green salad
Chicken scallop with olives
Salsifis (‘purple salsify’ is a traditional vegetable in southern France)
Crème renversée (a sort of baked custard, like creme caramel without the caramel)
Marble cake

Friday, December 9th
Macedonian salad (a mayonnaise-based salad, somewhat like a French version of coleslaw)
Blanquette de la mer (a seafood dish)
Creole rice
Brie cheese
Fresh fruit

Bon Appétit!

ps Crème renversée is one of my favorite French desserts. For a great recipe for the ‘ Crème renversée of my dreams’ see La Tartine Gourmande, a delectable website run by a French expat living in the US.

11 thoughts on “Yummy French Kids' School Lunches…this week in the heart of Provence

  1. I’d love to be able to make this food for my boys for lunches (or even dinners) but have *absolutely* no idea how to make them. Some stuff (like the fruit, OJ, fromage blanc…) you can buy mostly unprocessed, and cous cous is easy…. but I’m totally clueless on the other stuff.

    They do make a nice guide line where I can substitute similar things into the menu (like spaghetti with meat sauce instead). Also, to include a veggie, fruit, protein into lunch.

    BTW: I’ve watched how you make crepes and it does seem a little daunting — the flipping part any way. But they do look really yummy.


  2. That sounds very interesting. Please do feel free to use the material. I would love to hear the response from your class!


  3. Hello,
    I think your blog is very interesting being of mixed cultural heritage myself! May I use some parts of your texts in a 4e ESL class in September? The theme I am prepapring is “Food” (Slow vs Fast, Obesity levels in teens, Snacking…)
    Looking forward to hearing from you.


  4. Oh man! I want to go back to France and put my daughter a la cantine…
    This menu seems yummy… When I read my nephew school’s menu in Toulon (our hometown), I am a bit “jealous”… well, I guess I’ll pack the kids lunch until college -_-


  5. Bettina, Laura, Kia–thanks for your comments! I really do hope that reading these menus gives people the idea that we can do things differently. Will try to blog this week about communities in North America that have committed to making healthy, tasty, fresh menus. In fact, if you have any suggestions of schools or communities you’d like to highlight, let me know!


  6. Thanks Kia! This week’s menu is particularly yummy, isn’t it? There are so many great ideas here that I think we could adapt to our kids eating habits here at home.

    Laura, I would love it if you would make crepes live on Momables! Let me know if you’re interested and I have lots of great ideas for fillings. 🙂


  7. Yum…this menu sounds delicious!!! Your description of Manosque sounds so lovely that I just want to pack up our luggage and go 🙂

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to have lunches for our students in North America?!!

    I agree with Laura…crepes are the best and they make lunches fun…so Laura make them LIVE on Momables 🙂

    Karen, you blog posts have become a happy staple in my weekly reading…I can hardly wait for your book!!!!!!


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