Yes, this is sad but true: What most Polish children usually take to and eat at school is pure rubbish. The tradition of homemade school lunches (or rather "second breakfast," as it is called in Poland)—some sandwiches, an apple or pear, maybe some home-baked cake—is dying.
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We don't have set lunches or cafeteria's over here. We have canteens, which mean that kids buy what they want off the menus each day. You can also do "lunch orders" (normally only in primary school), where you or your parents write exactly what you want on a brown paper bag and it's then delivered back to your classroom just before lunch....
These days they serve them lots of "comida criolla," or local fare such as rice and beans, lasagnas, pepper steak, and even "pastelones," which are Puerto Rican casseroles made sometimes from sweet fried plantains or mashed potatoes. They also offer lighter fare, such as sandwiches, wraps, or even hot dogs, if that's considered light. There are some salads, but if the kids say they will not eat them, they will not give salad to them—as if kids really know what's best for them!
In India, school lunches are usually provided by loving mothers, not school cafeterias! In fact, this love of home-cooked food has given rise to a unique type of food-service worker, known as the dabbawalla, or literally, "person with a box." What might one of these boxes hold for Indian schoolchildren? Find out!
Given all the negative light that's been shed on school lunches, it's great to see FoodCorps come along. The program, which launched today, is sort of an "AmeriCorps of food." In fact, FoodCorps, whose founders began planning its future this week, operates under the aegis of AmeriCorps.
Last month I visited Seoul, South Korea, Here's a look at something I ate from my trip. For more, check out the rest of my Snapshots from South Korea. "There's a place nearby that serves food like you'd find in a school canteen, but a little more upscale," said Terry Rah, my friend and food guide for the morning. "Do you want to check it out?" Back in the U.S., I don't think the prospect of eating at a restaurant that served food akin to a school cafeteria's would ever appeal to me. I'm still haunted by the Aramark-made pizza, nachos, and sandwiches from my high school cafeteria. But Korean school food is a different matter, certainly not reminiscent of...