School food abroad

We get school food wrong. Fact. But it’s also a fact that abroad loads of schools do it right. So I’m going to do a bit of research and share it below.
First, my own experience. In 2002 I lived in a high school in France for 7 months. We ate in the canteen every day. There were a couple of rooms you could eat in. Lovely room for the teachers where loads of them ate, in fact probably all those who were on lunch at any given time. Lunch cost €2.20 at the time. You got a small salad or veg based starter, a main course which was normally a full plate of veg topped with some sort of meat, there were normally a couple of choices, a pudding, normally either a pastry or a yoghurt, and cheese and a bread roll. A proper meal to be enjoyed with friends. The only drink choice was water which was in jugs on the tables.
Lunch was important to the students. Most British schools now only have 40 mins for lunch. In France one of my classes demanded for my class to be moved on their timetable. It had been placed at lunchtime giving them only 1 hour for lunch. They felt this was unreasonable and that they simply didn’t have time to eat properly. This is incredible when you compare it to England! Interestingly I experienced the same thing when teaching in Spain. Companies there often give their employees restaurant vouchers, and the restaurants serve a similar basic meal to the one served in the canteen in France. The staff expect a decent lunch hour, it is more important to them to get a proper sit down meal at lunch, and they are happy to go to work earlier and leave later in order to achieve this. Again, incredible compared to England. So sad.
I found this blog post describing French school lunches. It’s the same as I experienced. Children sitting down to a proper meal, learning the importance of it. The same author also posts menus from French schools which make amazing reading. Here’s a sample one. Wow!
I’m going to share one more of her posts, which is the recipe for a popular French salad starter. You can buy this pre- prepared in French supermarkets and its nice. I’m going to try making it and see if panther likes it. But I doubt we can roll it out wholesale across the uk! And another article by the same woman, she is a bit of an authority on this I think, I’m going to try to buy her book!
It’s so sad, why can’t we have this??? Perhaps I should move back!

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