How French Kids Eat: During tasting week the lessons are in the menu.
This week in France it is La Semaine du Goût (or in English Tasting Week). This is a seven day national event that encourages the French population to discover new tastes. It is a movement to teaching young and old how we grow, cook and eat food with emphasis in taste education.
La Semaine du Goût workshop activities and lessons are supported on a local level within the context of school lunch menus. This connection between taste education week and school lunch meals can carry positive messages on food education, taste and healthy eating.
Eating new foods and supporting taste education during school hours is a opportunity within a safe environment to explore new tastes and encourage a varied diet for our children.
In this article I will show you an example of the school lunch menus for this week in Pau, where I live. I think this school lunch plan is a perfect example how fresh, local, varied meals can encourage children to taste, enjoy and discover new healthy foods. I hope this gives you inspiration as a parent or professional working with children to encourage children’s taste education.
French School Lunch Menu During Tasting Week
(from Pau, France)
Here are menu highlights for the week, translated into English:
- Salade verte aux agrumes: (Green salad with citrus pieces)
- Purée à l’artichaut: (Mashed artichokes)
- Yaourt fermier aux myrtilles: (Blueberry farm made yogurt)
- Emincé de poulet sauce Jurançon doux (Chicken pieces with a sweet Jurançon, a local wine sauce)
- Brebis et confiture cerise: (Sheep cheese with cherry jam)
- Pomme (Sud-Ouest): (Apple from South-West local region)
- Rix 3 couleurs : (3 colored rice)
- Saute de porc fermier au piment d’Espelette (Farm raised pork with Espelette spices)
- Tourte nature des Pyrenees (Quick bread dessert from the Pyrenees)
- Steak hache de canard (Minced duck meat)
- Piperade (Basque dish made with green peppers, tomatoes and Espelette spices)
I don’t know about you, but these dishes look really delicious!
This is the menu during Semaine du Goût, but it is typical for what is served for most of the year. You can see that there is an emphasis on adding taste (Espelette spices, sauce with sweet Jurançon wine) with offering unusual foods (artichokes, three-colored rice, minced duck meat). I also like the fresh fruit and salad courses and the variety. And the added bonus: there are a lot of local choices such as use of duck, local apples, Basque country piperade and sweet white wine made 10 minutes from Pau (no worries, the alcohol is burnt off in the wine for the final sauce). The downside to menus in French school lunches is the lack of choice. Kids are not allowed to bring in packed lunches. For children who do not like certain foods, there is no other option to substitute with another food (with exception for religious reasons), like in America.
Therefore, French children are ‘encouraged’ at a young age to taste, try, appreciate because there are no substitutions with something else they might like better.
And in my experience, when French children sit down at noon and they are hungry, they eat the food that is offered.
Do you think we have some things to learn from the French way they encourage taste during this week at school? Do you feel it is possible to emphasis taste and variety better in American and other country’s school menus while keeping the choice option that is common in the American culture?
Would love to hear your thoughts and tips on how you encourage your children to taste new foods.
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