The Ed Wonks link to a British story on school lunches around the world. Chef Jamie Oliver has been running TV shows ripping the lid off school lunches, which treat “finnicky five-year-olds as powerful consumers whose demands must be met in case they take their spending power elsewhere (ie, down the local chippie), writes The Telegraph.
So far we have endured a rollercoaster of high tragedy (a 13-year-old girl who identifies a stick of rhubarb as an onion) and low farce (the revelation that schools spend 35p a head to feed a growing child).
Perhaps even more chillingly, parents across Britain have been introduced to possibly the two most depressing words in the English language: turkey Twizzler. But are Britain’s children being given a raw deal (as well as an overcooked, nutrient-free meal) compared to other countries?
The French spend twice as much on school lunches. “A typical menu might comprise a starter of grapefruit followed by grilled chicken with green beans, then a cheese course, with rice pudding for afters.”
In Spain, it is not unusual for children to bring home a list of their school meals at the beginning of each week. Every meal is broken down into fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamin and mineral content and an approximate calorific value is given. More astonishing still is the additional suggestion of what the child should be given for its evening meal, to ensure the whole day’s food intake has been nutritionally balanced.
The Finns announce school menus a month in advance.
Today in Helsinki, 50,000 Finnish schoolchildren will be dining on ham and potato casserole, cabbage casserole and mashed lingonberries. Vegetarians will eat root vegetable casserole with coconut milk and beetroot casserole.
In Japan, the principal and teachers eat the same lunch as their students.