Italy is nothing if not the land of food. It's pretty well-known, well-loved, and there is not a man, woman or child of our acquaintance who cannot exhibit their passion for palatable meals with lengthy, mouth-watering discussion. So one day last month, while enjoying my morning cappuccino I happened to be perusing a local publication and came across the school lunch menu for December, and it just highlighted once again how tasteful the bel paese is when it comes to cuisine.
Let's take a gander at some of the samplings, shall we?
1)Pasta con melanzane (with eggplant); Robiola or Stracchino cheese; Bread; Steamed carrots; Fresh seasonal fruits
2) Minestrone with mixed beans; Stuffed Zucchini (with lean meat, baked); fresh bread; Fresh seasonal fruit; Fiordilatte gelato
3) Spaghetti with white fish; Baked Sole; Spinach with a drizzle of olive oil; fresh bread; Banana.
Nice, huh? What the heck, let's look at one more:
4) Pasta e Fagioli; Frittata; Beet Greens with a drizzle of olive oil; fresh bread; Fresh Pears
Sounds pretty darn good. Looks well-balanced; I mean, you've got your primo, your secondo, your vegetable, your fruit, and some crusty bread. Every Friday features fish, as is still the custom throughout Italy regardless of religious affiliations (or not).
Looks typically Italian, is what I concluded. The dishes we eat regularly, either at home, at friends', or in local restaurants. It seemed so normal that it took me a minute to register, this is a school menu. And it sure isn't like school menus in the US. I looked online at my hometown's school menus. Brace yourself.
Mini corndogs. Pizza. Hot dogs. Chicken nuggets. Sloppy scoops (which I assume is a Sloppy Joe?) And something called Bosco sticks, which I've never heard of and I'm not sure I want to know what it is. For "healthy" fare they have a taco salad one day. And vegetables. Mashed potatoes with gravy. French fries. Canned peas, canned green beans. Fruit? Mixed fruit cocktail, which I can assume is canned, or applesauce.
Both menus are for elementary school children. Gives you a little food for thought, no?