Day 115: pizza (and French school lunches)

Today’s menu: sausage pizza, fruit cup, carrots, ranch dressing

Sausage pizza is a new one. Before it was “pepperoni” pizza, which referred to not large circles of pepperoni, but small squares of….who knows. (Click here to examine all the school lunch pizza I have eaten).

I ate everything and went on with my day. It’s not the worse lunch I’ve eaten and it’s not my favorite. There is nothing more to say. I plan on avoiding eating pizza at school permanently come 2011.


Recently many twitter followers notified me that on Sunday Morning there was a segment on school lunch. I clicked over and watched it here: France’s Gourmet School Lunches

I suggest you watch the whole thing. I was blown away and got choked up around minute 3:50, which was a weird place to get a lump in your throat as the chef was talking about fish stock and not wasting any part of the fish. I think it was the cumulative effect of everything they do for kids’ nutrition and all the lengths that the French people go to to feed their students in a way that is completely foreign to our way of eating.

At minute 5:30ish the American mom displays the menu for her son (attending French school) and calls it “a work of art.” Yeah, let’s see. They do it better over there. It’s kind of like they are living on another planet where they care and respect food AND the small people who eat it.


Tomorrow the Child Nutrition Act expires. Please do try again to notify your member of the House and suggest somebody do something. Is there something wrong with our country? Will an extra 6 cents per meal even help?

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18 thoughts on “Day 115: pizza (and French school lunches)

  1. Wow, that's amazing. It makes me so angry that this is supposed to be THE land of opportunity, yet other countries seem to be looking out for the best interest of their people more than here.

  2. Hi Mrs. Q!
    I've been following your blog for some time already, as food has always been an interest of mine but being a student myself school lunch is especially significant.

    Your entries of American school food certainly do seem from another world compared to what my school serves. I live in Finland, but I go to a private international school so I cannot give much insight to the lunch offered at the public schools. We are a K-12 school who share one cafeteria and we are catered by the international Sodexho.

    For lunch we have a sandwich bar, where students can construct their own sandwiches from an array of available ingredients, a green line, this is relatively large salad buffet with the daily soup, and an orange line, where the main meat course is available along with a vegetarian option and its own salad bar. We pay 4.20e for a buffet lunch. From what I know of the public lunch system they have two meal choices and a small salad bar (this really depends what school you go to). Sine schools make everything from scratch even with organic ingredients while some use cheaper ingredients but offers more variety for the students.

    Recently Finland has agreed to have a vegetarian day once a week in the Finnish public schools. This is to encourage students to eat vegetables and fruits. In my school we only have it once every two weeks. This is probably influenced by the fact that we have about 40 different nationalities represented here and they all have their specific dietary needs.

    Sodexho also operates a small kiosk next to the cafeteria from which students can buy pastries, smoothies, sandwiches, yogurt, etc. They have a campaign called the Healthy Snack Pass, which is a 15e snack pass valid for 10 snack meals. The snack menu changes everyday and can vary from pancakes with milk to a filled cracker with a fruit and juice.

    Sorry for this very long comment but I thought it would be interesting to share!

  3. An extra 6 cents is not going to help. Other measures in the Act may. Did you read Ed's article? Any way the whole thing is shelved for now. The House Speaker has said it will not be voted on before the fall recess. Notice they get a recess the kids don't.

    I still think we need to scrap it and start over.

    I did watch that Video. I had seen others like it. Remember the one about the schools in Rome?

    What you will find if you go to France is that the French find meal time special, very special. You take your time. You eat slowly. You have real conversation.

    Also, they would Never feed those children ANY LOW FAT FOOD, in fact you would be hard pressed to find a fat free or low fat yogurt or milk in France. Unless of course you went to that McDonalds they showed.

    They are very disdainful of how we American's "gobble" our food and will tell you to your face you are "fat". (happened to my daughter's French teacher)

    My daughter is going to Europe with a group from school next Summer and every once in a while she comes out with nuggets of information that astound me and have made an impression on this child who wants to go to college and become a Biomedical Engineer…"Mom, did you know being a waiter is a career in France?!"

    Different. We are different. Some aspects of other countries are better and some aspects of America are better. I would never give up our freedoms and the choices we have here in the land of the free. I might like to eat like the French do though, and I often do. (full fat even and I've lost 16 lbs.)

  4. 6 cents a meal will make a difference. If you watched the video, the small village only had $2.50 per student to serve them lunch and they did almost as good as the school lunches in Paris.

    Currently, schools get in the US get $2.72 per student. And costs of food in the US is less than France.

  5. At least there was a little more color variety in this lunch. 🙂

    The video on the French school lunches was very interesting. We need to get back to the basics of making our lunches IN THE SCHOOLS, not having them shipped in bulk and reheated. We pay more attention when we make it from scratch.

  6. exactly….i think you are so brave to be doing this AND to eat that crappy looking pizza…no wonder you are giving it up…thanks for the link, i've posted it on my FB page…

  7. Anonymous @ 0724:

    So our current system cannot generate the same quality of food as the French even though food costs are lower here and we have an extra 22 cents per student, but everything will be better if we had an extra 28 cents per student?

    Throwing money at a problem is like throwing water at a fire. You need to know what you're doing and have a plan. Just flinging it around is likely to make things worse.

    Given the current budgetary environment let's look at reforms that don't cost anything. My two suggestions:

    1) Potatoes are a starch, not a vegetable. My mother never let me get away with that garbage growing up (or today), I don't see why the USDA gets to.

    2) Require that all food served to kids be cooked within 6 hours of being served and prepared within 48.

    3) Make recess a required part of lunch, give the kids an opportunity to burn off some calories and energy.

  8. I've been reading your blog for quite some time, and though I have enjoyed pretty much all of your posts, I especially enjoyed the bit in this post about French food.

    I'm a huge francophile, have been to France several times and I have always loved their attention to food. Even on my flight to France on Air France this summer, the airline food was tasty! A five course meal. Leave it to the French to not let any meal, even a simple meal like an airline meal, be anything except tasty and nutritious. 🙂

    Another big difference between French and American schools: they take up to 2 HOURS for lunch: you either stay there in the cafeteria to eat the food, or you walk home to eat, since most kids go to a school close to their homes (no such things as school buses in France like we have here in the US, as far as I know). And you can't bring your own food to the cafeteria either; you must eat what is served or you'll go hungry.

    Then again, France is a smaller country and doesn't have as many children to feed as we do in the US. Not saying we shouldn't have something like that here, just that in a smaller country, certain things are easier. :-/

    That's my two cents. Enjoying the blog! 🙂

  9. Amazing. Shows us how lazy we are in America. All of our processed prepackaged food. I admit, that used to be me too, when I worked, and then had to come home and feed my husband and three kids.
    I am a stay-at-home mom now, and I cook from scratch every day. It's cheaper and the food has been so much better for all of us. It takes more time, but it has been worth it to me. We all feel so much better.

  10. Yes, but look at we're serving. 6-cents going to the same, excuse me, crap isn't going to help anyone but the companies who sell that food to the schools.

  11. Tacomamana … very interesting! Thanks to everyone who takes time to comment. I read them all and enjoy them so much. Have a great weekend!

  12. My SIL spent a year teaching English to primary school French children in a public school in the Burgundy region of France. She came home with stories of amazing food for lunch and 45-60 minute lunch periods, truly stupendous. She was in a small village setting, so I don't know how that dynamic would have changed in a large city, but it is good to know that this is still possible in the First World.

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