Lunch Lady Told To Stop Cooking Delicious Food

Annica Eriksson is the lunch lady at a school in Falun in central Sweden. In order to offer students alternatives for their meals, she has been baking bread and offering an “assortment of 15 vegetables at lunchtime,” on noting that not all students cared for the foods available at lunch time. But the local government has told her stop offering meals of such “high caliber” because it is “unfair” to students at other schools, says The Local.

A cafeteria cook goes out of her way to make food that students will actually eat rather than throw away and is told she is doing the wrong thing?

According to The Local, Falun authorities are also contending that Eriksson’s meals are not in compliance with the “directives of a local healthy diet scheme” that was enacted in 2011; this scheme calls for creating an “optimal diet structure with a holistic perspective.” Said Katarina Lindberg, the head of the sector that oversees the school diet scheme, “A menu has been developed… It is about making a collective effort on quality, to improve school meals overall and to try and ensure everyone does the same.”

Eriksson points out that her cooking has not added any expenses (indeed, her cooking methods have been “generally cheaper than most“) nor has she heard any complaints. Fourth-graders at the school have started a Facebook group (“Let the students at Vikaskolan keep their good food. Stop Jante!”)†demanding that Eriksson be allowed to continue to make lunches that many of us would gladly wait in line for.

As The Local explains, “Jante” is a “typically Scandinavian value system which emphasizes the collective over the individual, sometimes resulting in the devaluation of success or achievement.” Indeed: In order to make sure there is a “collective effort on quality,” the students at Eriksson’s school†will now be given store-bought bread and the fifteen-vegetable buffet that Eriksson crafted will be halved.

It seems especially regrettable that Falun authorities have decided to tell Eriksson to cease from her creative efforts instead of consulting with her to better understand what kids actually want to eat.

Eriksson’s kid-friendly culinary abilities would certainly be welcome in the US. New federal regulations for healthy lunches have meant that portions of pizza and chicken nuggets have been reduced, if those foods remain on lunch menus at all. As the†New York Times reports, students at the suburban Parsippany Hills High School in New Jersey must take packets of carrots and apples before leaving the lunch line; most of these end up in the garbage. Some students have launched a Facebook group calling for a boycott to school lunches (because they’re too healthy, in ironic contrast to the Swedish student’s Facebook group).

In The Local, Eriksson makes a point that both Swedish and US authorities overseeing school lunches would do well to heed, namely that†”amid the struggle to enforce common standards, the needs of the children seem to have gotten lost.” There’s no question that children in the US eat too much junk food and too few fruits and vegetables and that too many are likely to become overweight, if they are not already. It’s not only that school lunches need to be “holistic” and “healthy”; they shouldn’t be chores for kids to eat but leave them, in Eriksson’s words, “happy and satisfied.”


Related Care2 Coverage

Whatís In Your Lunch? And Whatís Your Lunch IN?

5-Year-Old Autistic Boy Who Canít Talk Denied Lunch By School

Why Are Kids Eating School Lunch At 9:45?


Photo by Stiftelsen


Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

heather tinnaro
heather tinnaro3 years ago

Is anyone else reminded of "The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen" in which Sting is executed for valor that makes everyone else feel insufficient?

Fay W.
l r3 years ago

Every parent should check out this website. Karen Le Billon, author of "French Kids Eat Everything" describes how school lunches in France are designed to be wholesome and varied and kids who are "picky eaters" are non-existent. She describes how there are no "kids foods" in school lunches, instead she gives an example of a PRE-SCHOOLERS school menu: Cabbage salad, roast guinea fowl and lentils... and they do this for an average of $3 per meal.

She also has wonderful tips on how to get kids to eat practically anything healthy.

Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine A3 years ago

maybe the idea should be not to stop her but get better cooks in the other schools!!

Candace Fawcett
Candace Fawcett3 years ago

Her actions should be praised and replicated, not stifled!

Richard Hancock
Richard Hancock3 years ago

That's what happens when you out-source...

Sandra Lane
Sandra Lane3 years ago

Now my button's been pushed. During the 80's when I taught in public schools in Texas, in one of the state's largest districts, we had cafeteria workers we could only dream about today. These ladies were all jolly, kind, and damn good cooks. They started first thing in the morning with HOMEMADE yeast sweet rolls. All food was cooked from scratch and the Thanksgiving meal was better than my mom ever made. All that is gone now. In fact, I witnessed a conehead from Central Office as she dressed down the head of the cafeteria for wasting time making food from scratch instead of being efficient and just heating up the prepackaged crap they were pushing from on high. The lady was reduced to tears and ended up retiring that year. Gone are the homemade breads, enchiladas, roasts and gravy, etc. In their place we have microwaved junk food with plastic cheese. Lovely. No joy in the kitchen and certainly not much at the tables. Poor kids. These are the same kids that teachers can no longer hug, even though that might be their only hug for the day. God forbid you touch a child!

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.