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wow... something to think about Wednesday

Posted Mar 17 2010 9:25am
Good morning all!
In my efforts not to get all antsy and actually rest this week, I came across two very interesting blogs. I've written about the Japanese way of eating before on the blog, and these two blogs represent exactly what I mean.

The two blogs are Fed Up With Lunch , and Mr. Ferguson's Classroom . Fed Up With Lunch is written by an American teacher about the deplorable condition of American school lunches for kids. In contrast, Mr. Ferguson's Classroom chronicles school lunches from a Japanese elementary/pre-school. The differences are astonishing.

I can actually relate to Mr. Ferguson's blog. I went to a Japanese pre-school and I remember my lunches being absolutely delicious. Though I don't remember specifics, I do remember the ceremony that went into lunch. Lunch was eaten in the classroom together with all the kids and teachers. Lunch would not start until everyone was served, and everyone had said "Itadakimasu," which is a ceremonial saying proclaimed prior to each meal, meaning something like "I graciously accept." The lunches were cooked on premises each and everyday, and I think it was different everyday too. Never were we ever served "mystery meat", "unidentifiable veggies", or "strange squishy things." Though not as pretty as Mr. Ferguson's lunches, my pre-school lunches were very tasty.

In elementary and middle school, my mom actually made my bother and I lunches every single day. Thanks mom! I loved loved loved all the food she made for us. We had cute little Obento Boxes, Thermos Bento boxes, cold bento boxes, you name it. Japanese bento boxes are really detailed and cute: I remember my mom would slice apples to look like rabbits, sausages to look like an octopus, onigiris (rice balls) to look like a princes, cute little toothpicks... kind of like this
Bento box of a student in Mr. Ferguson's blog . (Image source)

In High-school in Japan, I went to an American School, and we had a cafeteria, as well as a "kiosk" that sold Subway sandwiches, KFC lunch boxes, bagel sammies, Omigiris (rice balls) and certain snacks like ice cream, brownies, yogurts, trail mixes, fruits, etc. The Cafeteria food was also very good. We had Daily Specials along with regulars. It was all a la carte, served on silverware, and handmade. We had Ramen Noodles (NOT cup noodles), Curry Rice, Meatballs, spaghetti, Chicken Katsu, Chicken noodle soup.... etc etc etc. Though both of the above mentioned schools are private schools, I have been to public schools too, and the food is not inferior to ours.

AND OMG! I can't believe students get so little time to eat in American schools, and get so little recess! My school had a full hour devoted to lunch every single day, sometimes even more. We got 3 recesses every single day too, on top of regular Physical Education classes. I can't IMAGINE giving a kid only 13 minutes for lunch! OMG!!!!

Food from Mr. Ferguson's school in Japan. (Image source)

I've never been to a regular "American" school other than University, so I can't speak on American schools. I was very fortunate to go to a University that cares a lot about health and food, so our Dorm Food was actually very yummy. But looking at the food displayed in Fed Up With Lunch .... wow. I would feel Fed Up too!
Lunch from the American School in Fed Up With Lunch (Image source)

OMG ew. That looks worse than airplane food. Ew. I wouldn't want to eat that. I would rather go hungry than put that slimy yellow burnt thing in my mouth. And I bet those veggies are way overcooked and bland. Ew. Nasty.

I know School Food is a big topic right now, with Michelle Obama's efforts and Jamie Oliver's new show. Growing up in a different country, I had no idea what American school food is like.

I think school and food are emotionally charged topics and I definitely don't want to offend anyone. But it did give me a lot to think about; one of them being "Glad I grew up in Japan." And, wow. I hope Michelle Obama's plans work. Soon. I hope the American kids get more time to eat and then go to recess. I hope things get better.

What was your school food experience like?
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