Wheat berries, beet salad, chicken 'Waterzoi': French Kids' School Lunches, this week in Aniane

Welcome to the little town of Aniane (population 3000), surrounded by vineyards, nestled up against the rugged hills of the Cevennes and the Larzac–two of France’s least populated regions. Aniane was once an important way-station for Christian pilgrims on their way to nearby St Guilhem Le Desert (a UNESCO heritage site, which proudly proclaims itself one of the most beautiful villages in France). Most tourists simply pass through here on their buses, but we stopped long enough to enjoy the narrow, winding village lanes.

So what are children eating in Aniane this week? Every month, the menu features seasonal fruits and vegetables: cherries, turnips, and zucchini (courgette). And once a month they have a ‘colourful menu’–this month’s colour is red!

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 28th
Holiday

Tuesday, May 29th
Wheat berry salad
Chicken ‘waterzoi’ (a classic Flemish stew) with green beans
Cheese/Dairy: Petit suisse (a classic French dairy product – like a thick yogurt)
Dessert: Fresh fruit

Wednesday, May 30th
No school: French children traditionally don’t go to school on Wednesdays, as this is the day when they do lessons and extracurricular activities.

Thursday, May 31st
Carrots and celery with vinaigrette
Roast herbed pork with green peas
Cheese: ‘Vache Picon’
Dessert: Chocolate Eclair

Friday, June 1st
Beet salad
Cheese: Pont l’Evêque à la coupe (a Brie-like cheese from Normandy, one of the oldest still in production!)
Dessert: Fresh fruit

The ‘Color’ Menu of the month: Featuring red foods!
Tomato tartare
Chili con carne with red kidney beans, and rice
Cheese: Babybel (like a tiny Gouda, in an individual glossy red wrapper)
Dessert: Cherry clafoutis

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.

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