Today, Idle Works gives us a frightening comparison of French vs. US school menus:
You get the sense that a French school lunch is considered part of the child's education. Students learn that there are many kinds of foods and many kinds of main courses. They notice that meals have a structure, and consist of an appetizer, main dish, vegetable, cheese, and dessert.
Contrast this with the American school, where the kids are fed a monotonous diet of pizza, burgers, chicken parts and meat. [...] The message American kids get is that healthy food is second-rate and tastes bad, that they should eat lots of meat, cheese and potatoes, and that eating fast food every day is a normal diet.
Food is an inherent part of the French culture, we use no less than three common words for food on a daily basis: aliment, nourriture, and the slang bouffe. Our lunch hour is sacred because a day without a good lunch is not a good day. We like to eat, and we love good food. Not that our American friends dislike good food, but eating there seems more like something you have to do rather than one of the plaisirs quotidiens.