Can you say La Cantine?

The American cafeteria style school lunch is going through a transition right now as people are becoming more health conscious. We touched on this last week. Rhonda thought it would be interesting to relay a little bit about the culture in which Sandrine grew up to give our American readers a different perspective.

In France, elementary school lunch is served in courses in La Cantine. The children sit down and eat at a leisurely pace. There is about a half an hour of play before lunch, and lunch lasts about thirty minutes. Then, before returning to their desks, the children play for about an hour. The school day is longer so there is ample time for the midday break.
As children age into middle school and high school, they serve themselves cafeteria style. There is a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert. The entrée would consist of chicken or fish or another protein along with a starch like pasta or mashed potatoes, and vegetables. Appetizers might be soup or salad. Dessert would also be something on the healthy side like cheese and a piece of fruit. Sometimes, flan or yogurt with a couple of cookies would be available. What do the children drink at La Cantine? Water is the only beverage served.

The school day, and the cafeteria experience, is different in France than it is in America. Next week, we will talk about the overall food culture in France.