Mrs. Frum (aka @dcrittenden1) introduces the Huffington Post's new global lunch project:
Every weekday morning at 7:45 a.m., I make my 11-year-old daughter's school lunch. It is something I generally complain about doing. My daughter attends a public elementary school in Washington, D.C., at which a hot lunch is served everyday. She won't eat it. I insist she's being too fussy.
Each month a menu comes home in her backpack. I survey the offerings provided by a food service company contracted by the D.C. school board. We're now in the post-Michelle-Obama school lunch era, and school boards are no longer able to get away with classifying ketchup and French Fries as "vegetables." Thus the menu itself reads like something from a trendy farm-to-table restaurant:
Rotisserie-style chicken, whole wheat roll OR whole-wheat spaghetti with Marinara and mozarella cheese. Local collard greens. Chilled peaches.
Or how about this, which was served earlier this month, on the caterer-declared "South Korean Embassy Day!":
Korean Bibimbap Marinated Chicken w/brown rice (with a marinated tofu vegetarian option); Korean-style mushroom, carrot and cucumber salad, with seasoned broccoli and a fresh tangerine.
"I would love to eat this food!" I tell my daughter. "What is wrong with this food? It sounds delicious -- and certainly better than anything I throw together for you. "
She takes the menu from me and examines it with the disdainful air of a defense attorney before placing it down on the kitchen counter.
"Mother," she says, "the food is nothing like this. They just write it this way to fool the parents."
In response, Danielle has organized a study and photo montage of school lunch options from across the world.
We wish to create a forum in which we can swap stories, share ideas, and start tackling the problem together -- not simply as "societies" or "governments" but as communities, mothers, fathers, experts, and yes, you too kids. This project will run across HuffPost's international sites -- in the U.S., Canada, UK, Italy, France, and Spain -- where we hope to start the conversation locally as well, in whatever dialect you happen to speak.
To kick it off, HuffPost worked with the data research company RIWI to produce the first "High School Lunch Index" -- which surveys the attitudes of high school students towards their school lunches in six countries. You can read about what students think here.
And if you're wondering what DO students in those countries typically face in their cafeterias each day -- click on the slideshow below.
The takeaway is no surprise: you want to go to school in Italy.