If the spiritual powers that be were ever so kind as to give me a second turn around at this crazy thing we call life, I think I'd like to come back as a Parisian school kid.
Sure, the inner-city school environment means there's precious little in the way of grass to run on or trees to climb, but man, look at how well they eat.
In the corner of the globe that I come from, school lunches are a case of soggy sandwiches, hot pies and - if you were feeling especially gourmet - sausage rolls. And while it has been over thirty years since I was a primary school kid (that's enough sniggering from you up the back ...) I don't imagine too much has changed when it comes to culinary options for your average Aussie school kid.
But Parisian school kids? They eat like kings every day. Just take a look at the 'menu' (yes, they have a 'menu') posted outside the little school down the street from our apartment.
Each lunch is broken down into an 'entree', 'plat' and 'dessert' -- of course. A recent week's dining at the school included such entrées as "salade aux croutons", avocado with vinaigrette and "tarte aux poireaux". For their main course, the little darlings feasted on "filet de lieu au court bouillon", "sauté de porc a la moutarde" and "pavé de saumon a l'oseille". And for dessert, it was a choice between "flan patissier", "compote pomme-fraise" and that grand French classic "ile flottante". And of course, because this is France, there is a different cheese each day including "camembert", "tome blanche" and "Saint Paulin".
This is a public school - a government administered, free-to-attend, open-to-all public school.
It speaks volumes for why the French have such healthy eating habits. From a very early age, good quality food and carefully balanced meals are foisted on them even at school.
Now all I need to do is work out how I can sneak into the cafeteria each day for lunch.