Beef Tongue or Cabbage Salad Anyone? What French preschoolers are eating for school lunch…this week in Boulogne-Billancourt

Boulogne-Billancourt is one of the ritzy suburbs lying on the western edge of Paris. It’s not far from the Bois de Boulogne (the Parisian equivalent of Central Park). It’s also one of the most densely populated urban areas in France, with a mix of Hausmann-style buildings, but also modern high-rises (built as this formerly industrial, working class area was redeveloped after heavy bombing in WW II). The town advertises itself as the birthplace of modern cinema (it houses many of the French movie studios), as well as the French airplane industry. So it’s still an interesting mix.

So, what are French kids eating this week in Boulogne-Billancourt? This is the menu for pre-schoolers, for children aged 3 to 5 (French kids start school at 3, and have three years of kindergarten before they start Grade 1 at 6 years old). It’s actually one of the most exotic preschoolers’ menu I have come across to date.

Just as in other schools, the meals are served with fresh baguette (no butter) and water. No flavoured milk. No vending machines. No fast food. No ketchup (except on dishes with which it is traditionally served–like french fries, which kids do get once in a while). Food for thought.

Monday, March 26th
Tomato soup
Beef tongue mironton with bulgur wheat
Cheese: Emmenthal
Dessert: Fruit compote

Tuesday, March 27th
Green salad with surimi
Roast chicken with french fries
Dairy: Bulgar (Greek-style) yogurt
Dessert: Fresh fruit

Wednesday, March 28th
Red cabbage salad
Lamb saute ‘oriental’ (middle eastern spices) with couscous
Cheese: Babybel (shaped like a tiny wheel of Gouda, this comes in a cute little individual wrapper)
Dessert: Pears in syrup

Thursday, March 29th
Vegetable potage soup
Pork scallop with green beans
Dairy: Petit suisses (a creamy yogurt — served plain in this case)
Dessert: Fresh fruit

Friday, March 30th
Grated carrot salad
Fish filet (merlu: hake) with ratatouille
Cheese: Camembert
Dessert: Cookie

I don’t know about you, but I think this menu is rather amazing, particularly as it is for preschoolers. I sometimes reread these menus with disbelief…did I really translate that correctly? Yup, I did.

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 “Beef Tongue or Cabbage Salad Anyone? What French preschoolers are eating for school lunch…this week in Boulogne-Billancourt

  1. Oh boy! Lamb brain nugget… my mother used to put some in our veggie soup. It was so good !

    Liver at school was a “punishment” for me (not only at school though)


  2. hello,
    i’m french, and i remember to have eaten lamb brain nugget or veal liver at school.
    i’m living in a small village, vegetables come from the local organic farmer, same for the poultry.
    And if think there is a missing rule : ” you’re not ungry, don’t eat. you will eat better later “


  3. Pingback: | Short School Lunch Periods

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