Your memories of lunch room cafeterias, like mine, probably revolve around mass produced “beef” patties, unnatural-looking vegetables in industrial steam trays, and…um….sturdy looking women hefting ladles that could double as truncheons. Lunch time was something you endured rather than enjoyed. (I still remember something that they called a “Mexican Pizza” that would probably be considered a culinary hate crime today…) You’re probably glad those days are long over, but for a group of kids in Falun, Sweden, they are only now beginning.
School cafeteria Head Chef Annika Eriksson is guilty of nothing but making sure that her little customers had the very best meal that she could provide: fresh-made bread, wide selections of vegetables, and meats of all sorts. Sadly, no good deed goes unpunished, and now school district officials have instructed Eriksson to stop cooking her scrumptious spreads in favor of a district-wide meal plan. Officials feel that it’s unfair for the students at Annika’s school to get such great meals while other schools comply with the food plan, and unsurprisingly, they’d rather Eriksson to take her meals down several notches instead of attempting to make the same delicious food for the other children.
While I can’t comment on what the school lunch system is like in Europe, it is a big business here in the United States, and like any business, it’s about the bottom line. Big Food corporations win contracts by supplying low-quality produce and meats at cut-rate prices, with little thought to the welfare of students and their individual health requirements. Hopefully, Falun’s meal plan won’t involve such a thing.
In any case, I feel for you, young people of Falun. Skip the Mexican pizza.