Saturday, 5 September 2015

Return to School

Cormatin school
There is a very French phenomenon called “La Rentrée” – literally translated as “the return to school” but it means so much more than that. It marks the end of summer and summer life and back to the grindstone and for us back into winter mode.

But with all the talk of the rentrée I started thinking about how different schools are in France and in England. No uniforms, academic subjects on only fours days week just to mention a couple of  things, but passing the school a few days ago I saw on the school notice board what must be the biggest cultural difference.

School is all about preparing you for life and part of that preparation is cultural and what is more ingrained in French culture than food?

UK's idea of a balanced meal for kids
Everything centres around food. No decent meeting or gathering of any nature is complete without some good food and for the adults a glass of wine. Yet as I look around I don’t see a nation of overweight adults and that is because they learn from a young age to eat correctly and appreciate good food. Check out UK school dinners, these days kids can stuff themselves with burgers and chips every day and when they get home they are fed factory-made ready meals, this is no preparation for life as a food connoisseur.

French school dinners
So let’s look at the offerings for the coming weeks at Cormatin’s infant and Junior school. The menus are designed by a dietician to give a balanced diet but more importantly they include all the elements of a “proper” meal, a starter, meat or fish, vegetables (which includes rice, potatoes and pasta in the French definition), cheese and dessert. No wine, but they are only 5 years old!

These kids will be well prepared for their lives as little French citizens, not only will they learn to read and write, but they will learn to eat properly as well.

Maybe the UK could learn a thing or two from this approach, teach them young and they will take it with them through life.

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