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French School Lunch Compared to American School Lunch Day 28

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Creative Commons License photo credit: bennylin0724

Almost to the end, only 3 school lunch meals left…where should we go today?  How about Fort Collins, Colorado and Albi, France?  Fort Collins, great place, so…it should have a great menu? Right?   Albi, located in the south central part of France, a beautiful city known for its cathedral.  Here are the menus for these two places: 

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO

Big Daddy’s Cheese Pizza or Chicken Patty Sandwich on Wheat Bun or Turkey Cheese Wrap

Green Beans, Leafy Greens, Baby Carrots and Cucumbers

Melons and Pineapple Chunks

Served with half pint of milk

 

ALBI, FRANCE

Lamb’s Lettuce with Apple Cubes in Vinaigrette

Fish Filet with Hollandaise Sauce (1) and Wheat Salad (2)

Soft Cheese

Fruit Salad served in its own Syrup

Served with slices of baguette and water

 

(1) Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of butter and egg yolk with a bit of lemon juice, salt and white pepper. 

(2) Wheat Salad is whole grain wheat, usually pre-cooked and resembles rice or risotto.

Fort Collins has a diverse menu filled with healthy light side dishes including salads and fruits.  There is no heavy dessert, only fruit.  The milk that is available in Fort Collins schools is from local cows which are all rBST free.  The main course includes a vegetarian option, the cheese pizza…and this is marked clearly on the menu as vegetarian. 

If children in Fort Collins elementary schools actually take all of the side dishes and eat them, then overall this meal is balanced and healthy.  For Albi, the menu is also équilibre (french for balanced).  Funny though, on Fridays, as much as you see pizza on the lunch menus in America, you see fish being served as the main meal in France.  France being a primarily a catholic country and so Fridays is fish day.  Lamb’s lettuce is called “mache” in French.  It is a light green lettuce that actually does resemble lamb’s ears!  In Albi this mache salad is served with apple cubes, but something equally yummy is lamb’s lettuce served with cubes of cold cooked beets and chopped walnuts (with a vinaigrette of course!).  But, there is no vegetable served with the fish, although I guess the salad counts as the veggie.  Perhaps one solution to add more vegetables to this menu is to prepare the wheat salad with a veggie, like cooked tomatoes for example. This tastes good and the “ble” or wheat end up taking up the taste of whatever you put in there, so that putting in tomatoes makes the wheat have that tomato taste.  Can you buy whole wheat grain in the states?   In France it is called “ble” at is primarily produced by a company called Ebly.   It is very good and is an interesting twist on what you would normally serve for the starch during the meal.  The wheat cooks up nicely in 10 minutes as it is precooked.  It comes out like a risotto rice texture.  We cannot forget the French serving that obligatory slice of baguette with cream cheese after the meal…and fruit for dessert.  Your thoughts?  Two great menus?  Looks like we are going to finish these 30 days on the upswing!  Buon Appetito!

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