It’s back-to-school and for many American kids that also means back-to-school-lunches. It’s no secret that US cafeterias aren’t known for great meals (although after last year’s push to meet new federal standards for nutrition, some improvements have been noted). With such a low bar, imagining a mouth-watering school lunch may seem impossible, but as the saying goes, impossible n’est pas français.
Set your imagination free with the French School Lunch Project. Don’t worry, this isn’t just another “the-French-are-so-much-better-than-us” blog. Its creator, Karen Le Billon, is the author of French Kids Eat Everything, and she researched the project — for which the last entry is dated September of last year — by traveling to cities and villages all over France and posting weekly menus from a school in each place. After reading about sautéed chicken with artichoke sauce and beet salad with vinaigrette, you may be inspired to try some of these ideas at home!
In addition to surprisingly mouthwatering menus, Le Billon provides a detailed overview of how school lunches are organized in France. Highlighted is, of course, the way that a distinctly French respect for food and for mealtime is taught through their lunch program. But just as interesting is a section about the drawbacks of French school lunches, where issues like a refusal to provide halal meals, and a system that gives priority lunch spots to families with two working parents.