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And even in schools, kilometer zero is chosen

Between kilometer zero and the desire for tradition, the desire for typicality prevails in school canteens. With an eye on the eating habits that parents pass on to their children, then read vegetarian and vegetarian articles, a total audience of more than two million children who use the service.

Thus, it is surprising but not too surprising to observe the guidelines put in place by regions and municipalities, under the banner of “the city you discover the dish you find”. Pesto in Liguria, meat in Piedmont, risotto in Lombardy, etc. Among the novelties, however, is the use of water, increasingly coming directly from municipal sources. And again, more attention to organic and the so-called short supply chain. An example? The menus of Milanese restoration, which at Zero Km offers beef and pork, carrots, organic rice crackers, vegetable broth extract, caciotta, crescenza and mozzarella cheeses. The Municipality of Turin has also introduced novelties by requiring a minimum percentage of 50% organic products for vegetables, fruit and meat at the time of the call for tenders. Liguria – which also focuses on the traditional Easter cake – has published the document “Guidelines for preventive nutrition” which also concerns school nutrition. Samir Giuseppe Sukkar, director of the Departmental Operational Unit of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition of the San Martino Polyclinic Hospital in Genoa and signatory of the document, has clear ideas about nutrition and school. In an interview with Il Secolo XIX, he said he was convinced of the educational role of the school canteen, “as long as the parents do not get up because there are chickpeas on the menu and not pizzas and fries”.

And it’s a theme. Because the relationship between parents and schools and therefore the menu has experienced intense years with the so-called legal dispute around the “homemade sandwich”. Ovvero, la libera scelta dei genitori di far mangiare ai figli ciò che si vuole, senza vincoli legati al menu e senza per questo essere costretti a “mangiare da soli” in aula e non in mensa, almost if pit in castigo, ma assieme ai friends. From Tar to the Supreme Court to the Council of State, the result is that self-infection is not a right, but a legitimate interest.

Aya Yamamoto: “My dream is to see onigiri in school canteens”

by Nicoletta Moncalero

Between rights and interests, at the level of legal language, there remains a fundamental fact: despite the recognized role of school in spreading good eating habits, only one in two children (49%) has access to the canteen service, with peaks reaching 67% in southern Italy and the islands. Indeed, only 29% of school buildings have canteens, with large territorial disparities: 46% in the North, 21% in the Centre, 15% in the South, 17% in the Islands, according to a recent survey by Elior, a leader catering, commissioned La Maison Européenne-Ambrosetti on the occasion of the reopening of schools.

The theme of school canteens was also discussed on the occasion of Terra Madre – Salone del Gusto, mainly from a pedagogical point of view: “Policies concerning collective catering and school canteens can have a positive impact on the whole food system”, says the president of Slow Food Italy, Barbara Nappini. “Slow Food works to ensure good, clean and fair food for all: the global character of our commitment is perfectly expressed in school canteens, where young people from all walks of life share the same table”. Overall, adds Claudia Paltrinieri, president of Foodinsider, which publishes the ranking of school canteens each year, “we are talking about 380 million meals a year, provided in schools by companies that win calls for tenders held by local administrations” .

But here’s how to eat in the different regions


Pizza is offered once a week for primary school children, space for using foods like tofu and soy in the kitchen, and again Torino breadsticks twice a week instead of bread. These are just some of the characteristics of the food choices of Piedmont, where rice is not lacking and, in winter, appears the past of lentils and cannellini beans with Bra pasta and simmered beef meatballs, in respect for homemade products. Meatless and meatless and fishless variants are offered. In this case, make way for the hard-boiled egg with mayonnaise, primosale cheese, raschera Dop, Bra Dop and Piedmontese Toma Dop.


There is no shortage of Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, Parma Parma DOP Ham and IGP Balsamic Vinegar on the tables of Emilia-Romagna students, whose menus include tortellini. A portion of cereals per day in rotation, egg or stuffed pasta every fortnight; soups and broths once or twice a week, as well as meat, alternating white and red. Once or twice a week there is fish, while Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padana are added to the first courses. Little room for charcuterie: once every fortnight, instead of meat, choose between raw and cooked ham, bresaola and lean loin.


In the guidelines prepared in collaboration with the ASL 10 and the Italian Federation of Pediatricians., At the request of individual institutes, the menu for one day of the last week may introduce rice or cold pasta; stuffed pizza or flatbread; pie or fruit. The “Fruit a snack” project provides for fruit, delivered at lunchtime, to be donated for the snack of the day. Wide range of menus: dairy-free, tomato-free, pork-free, meat-free, fish-free, egg-free, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian. Among the curiosities, the corn polenta with tomato and cecina, or the chickpea flour cake.


Could pizza be missing from the menus of schools in Campania? No, and in fact it is offered – simple and traditional, with tomato and mozzarella – once a month to students. On the other days of the week, the carbohydrate intake comes from pasta (with beans, courgette cream or pesto, for example) while on the latter we alternate meat and fish, with one day per week devoted to earth: spinach with parmesan or zucchini omelette, to name just two examples. Once a week, rice also appears on the tables of school canteens, preferably with pumpkin.


Large space for fruits, citrus fruits in particular, always respecting seasonality. The Sicilian guidelines go in the direction of respect for the territory and tradition. The main indications are: daily pasta, bread or substitutes; as well as fruits and vegetables; fish one or two days a week, as does meat, while cheeses and eggs appear one day a week. Always a week, a unique dish based on cereals and legumes. Fruits: lots of citrus fruits and the ideal fruit salad recipe: pear: 30%, peach 40%, pineapple 15%, cherries 8 and finally grapes 7%.


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