Sea urchin, radish salad and fish fluff

Sea urchin, radish salad and fish fluff

My heart was touched today. I was privileged to visit Nishikasai Elementary School just out of Tokyo. The Grade Four students sang and danced to entertain their overseas guests and then we sat in their classroom and ate lunch with them. 99% of elementary schools provide lunch for their students and today this consisted of rice with kelp and fish fluff (very fine fish shavings) , grilled salmon with miso, radish salad, miso soup, fruit and milk. It was divine. All students sit at their desks and eat together and a catering company prepares the meals onsite. The kids were so excited to have us sitting at their desks and it was truly amazing how much two cultures can communicate when they have absolutely no language in common. Despite no English these 9 year olds knew what a kangaroo did ! Our Indian friends on tour with us explained their lunch program which is free and provided to 130 million children each day. Our Australian team couldn’t really explain to the other countries why we do not have a lunch program. Any explanation didn’t seem adequate next to 130 million meals per day! What if we could though? Each school meal costs parents $2.00, it ticks all the nutrition boxes and no home preparation, what an innovative and progressive idea. Each school has a nutrition teacher who may also be a Dietitian on their staff full-time, they are truly advanced in this area and their long term vision inspiring. Around 10% of children here are overweight and only 4% skip breakfast. Statistics to dream about in Australia.

4 thoughts on “Sea urchin, radish salad and fish fluff

  1. I hope Kevin’s reading this. There’s good justification for having both breakfast and lunch provided at schools, or would our population sprawl make it impractical I wonder.
    Your description of the school lunch was quite tantalising, and very removed from the oily meat and vaporised vegies we used to get at school in the UK. No wonder I starved instead!

  2. It really does make you wonder. With our child obesity levels in Australia, the resultant health issues and cost to our health system, why on earth aren’t we looking at something like this. Obviously and sadly we’re not really serious as a nation about addressing the problem.

  3. Is it free or $2 per meal? Even at $2 that is amazing value. Jamie Oliver tried his best in the UK, and it may have worked for a while, but the meals on offer at school are still uninispiring and governed by local councils. Plus if your child wants a particular food on offer, there are no guarantees they will get it. Even if they can see the tray of food, it is often kept back for Key Stage 2 pupils (age 7+). I wish they took it more seriously and actually asked what the children want, or ask for parents feedback.

    1. Yes, $2.00 per meal in Japan but free in India! It is so frustrating to think about what we should be doing…..

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