Food and Fun Turku festival menu at school lunch

City of Turku is hosting Food and Fun festival October 1st to 5th, 2014. As Finnish free school lunch has reached all students in Turku already before it was obligatory at year 1948, it has self-evident role in Food and Fun Turku festival.

I interviewed kitchen staff and teachers at one elementary school in Turku about having street food for school lunch.

Refreshing change for school lunch menu

To comply with the Food and Fun theme, the school lunch menu transformed into street food. Burgers, nuggets and sandwiches are definitely something Finnish students haven’t seen on their school lunch tray before. The regular menu consists sauce with pasta, rise or potato, casserole and soup type of dishes. 

Kitchen staff told me kids feedback had been very positive for taste and demanding for more. The kids enjoyment obviously empowers the staff. Despite the challenges serving more than usual components buffee style for street food, kitchen would be ok serving street food again in the future.

Teachers told that compiling burgers and sandwiches at the buffee had not made significant difference in time getting from line to table. Older kids serve themselves at buffee as they do every day but younger kids got assistance if needed from teachers and kitchen staff. Eating food without fork and knife seemed to go by routine. Probably kids get plenty of experience of that outside school time.

Food caterer was thanked for inventing new theme into school lunch alongside seasonal, organic and local food themes. Teachers confirmed that school lunch really is very important part of student’s school day and theme days increase better attitude towards served food. 

What about the taste?

Today Food and Fun menu at school lunch consisted pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and tomato. This school offered also chili sauce to go with it, which I heard kids saying both “not hot at all” and “my mouth is burning”. Chili sauce was self served, like the rest of the menu.

When teacher asked who liked the food today, all hands flung up. Another teacher praised marinated red onions made by kitchen, when having second helping of them.

I was invited to have a taste too and I have to say the taste was real pulled pork sandwich. I was a bit too greed with the veggies. My eating was a lot messier than kids eating. Having a chance to fill in the sandwich myself was nice so it was not wet as it would have been if it had been standing at the buffee ready made.

Teacher told that self serving is challenging with students. You get less waste, but girls might skip meat totally and boys are skimpy on veggies.

Was street food food and fun?

The food caterer Arkea serving school lunches for the city of Turku schools serves street food for three days during Food and Fun Turku 2014 festival; White fish patty on rye bread served burger style on day one, chicken nuggets, and country potatoes with fresh veggies and dip on day two and Pulled Pork sandwich with coleslaw and tomato on third day.

Teachers informed me, that in this school, students had liked most the meal with chicken nuggets. Teachers were a little worried if students are left hungry with hamburger and sandwich type of meals when school days are long. Nuggets and potato wedgies had been more filling. Every day the buffee had included also the usual fat free milk and for supplement rye cracker with margarine. I saw a model portion set out informing two sizes of buns for bigger or smaller taste. And kitchen said it was prepared for serving seconds.

The consumption of fish burgers had surprised the kitchen stuff. Waste was mostly due to eating with hands. Obviously the burger was better vehicle to feed fish to students than having the fish patty served with potatoes. For back ground information I mention that street food theme actually was just a new form for local food. The White fish patty and rye bread had all ingredients produced close to Turku.

The Finnish school nutrition recommendation states that one third of student’s need of energy per day should come from school lunch. In addition to that other nutrients are estimated by calculating levels of key nutrients per energy unit as an average of four to six weeks. Well planned street food can fulfill Finnish school lunch recommendations and most of all fulfill the summons to listen to students requests for school meal.

Menu was written with Turku accent that compares to Texas accent in English; Outsiders kind of understand it but it makes y’all smile.

So it’s my pleasure to report seeing and tasting
Food and Fun at Finnish school lunch.

Please watch a video and read also about when the nine international Chefs cooking during the festival in nine restaurants at down town Turku, got a chance to be catered by Finnish school lunch professionals. The story is in Finnish but with help of google translator and some imagination, you should be able to feel the Food and Fun. 
Read also School Meals in Finland -investement in learning (pdf) by Finnish National Board of Education
Model portion

Street food challenges the buffee with more components than usual.

Chili sauce added spicy excitement to the Food and Fun


Elementary school lunch menu in Turku by Arkea
Sept 29th to Oct 3rd, 2014,

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti