School Lunch, in the day

January 16th, Wednesday:

  • Bibimpab Bowl (Pork, Egg, Carrot, Parsley, Fern Sprout, Bean Sprout, Spinach)
  • Milk
  • Miso Soup (Daikon Radish, Carrot)
  • Shrimp Dumplings
  • Kcal: 847

Carrots are the vegetable that appear the most in school lunch. They have lots of karotein, which we need for preventing colds. Eat lots and pass the time happily.

School lunch in Japan first began in Meiji 22 (1889) in Yamagata Prefecture at the private Chuuai Elementary School in Tsuruoka City, aimed at poor children. I don’t know that much about pre-war school lunch, but my impression is that a lot of students still brought home made lunches to school. After World War II, wide spread school lunch was instituted in Japan, and consisted of milk, bread, and a side dish. It was subsidized by the the cheap importation of wheat from America. Yah for spreading consumeristic imperialism!(苦笑)

In my hometown, we have school lunch too, of course. Back in the day, the education system was largely focused on teaching English to the kids born there, but to prevent cross-ethnicity worker strikes, providing school lunch for students to fraternize over was not a high priority. After World War II, however, school lunch was established and subsidized by importation of rice, flour, meat, and canned fruits from mainland America. (So we did better than Japan in we got to eat rice rather than bread.)

The goal of school lunch was, like in Japan, to give children at least one hot filling meal a day. Even today, the price of school lunch is kept down as much as possible. For students who cannot afford even that price, there is reduced and free school lunch program. The present author was on the reduced lunch menu, so I paid less than 50 cents everyday for school lunch. Pretty inexpensive, I think.



May 18th, Friday:

  • Bibimbap Rice Bowl (Pork, Egg, Bean Sprout, Japanese Parsley,  Zenmai Fern, Spinach)
  • Milk
  • Ankake Soup (Tofu, Trefoil, Golden Oyster Mushroom)
  • Salt-Grilled Trout

Bibimbap is a Korean dish in which Korean style namul and meat is placed on top of rice and mixed together. “Bibim” means to mix, and “bap” means rice.

I can’t say I have ever eaten real Korean bibimbap. When I flew Korean Airlines to France, bibimbap was served both there and back and it was spicy to the point of being inedible. However, school lunch bibimbap is not spicy at all and I enjoy the flavour quite a lot. I doubt it tastes like korean bibimbap at all, a hypothesis underscored  by the fact that one teacher whose favorite lunch is this bibimbap has no special affinity for Korean food at all.  The main disadvantage to this lunch is that since I am not a fan of meat, I have to pick out the scary pork and fat bits before I eat the remaining vegetables and eggs. I set a rather poor example for the students. Furthermore, I would like to comment on the fish.  I did not like fish in America. Last time I ordered fish at a restaurant (visiting the sunny state of California), I could not even finish eating it, it was so bad.  But fish in Japan in invariably delightful, and today’s trout was no different. I love you, Japan. By the way,  ankake soup is a soup made by thickening the broth with potato starch, in the method so commonly used in (slimy) Chinese dishes.