We all know that food is very important in Italy. But did you know that lunch is the most important meal for Italians? My lunch is completely different here in Italy than it was when I still lived in Holland. There it’s normal to eat a few slices of bread with various toppings. For sure I never ate pasta, rice, meat or vegetables for lunch like I do now that I live in Italy! It got me thinking of lunchtime for kids in Italy. Esther Schouten will give us some inside information on this matter….
Lunch time, I love it! I just love to eat and luckily for me the Italian cuisine is one of my favorite. Unfortunately, my little boy doesn’t agree with me. He’s not a big eater and doesn’t like a lot of things. But I guess parents from all over the world can recognize this problem, right?
In Italy the importance of food begins already very early. When I went to the pediatrician when Alessio was 7 months old, she gave me a complete description of how to prepare the first porridge. It seemed so complicated but in the end it was a piece of cake! To give you an idea of how I should prepare the porridge:
- Cook the vegetables (carrots, zucchini or pumpkin). After cooking the veggies, put them into the blender/mixer.
- Add meat like beef, chicken, rabbit meat or horse meat. (I never ate horse or rabbit meat to be honest, but this to show you how normal this is here in Italy even if the baby is only 7 months old!!!)
- Instead of meat you can add cheese (parmesan cheese or mozzarella)
- The finishing touch is to add a bit of olive oil and the baby’s meal is done!
Of course now you hope that you’re baby eats everything…
As I said before, unfortunately Alessio is not a big eater. When bringing him to the playgroup for the first time, now two months ago, I was a bit worried. While in Holland there is no specific menu for lunch, here in Italy there is a menu that changes every week. In Holland, the teachers prepare for them slices of bread with what the child likes. Cheese, ham, peanut butter, etc. There are various toppings to choose from. They normally drink a glass of milk and have some fruit in the morning. It’s simple but in Holland we’re used to it. In Italy it’s completely different. The lunch is either handled by a catering company that brings the lunch every day (this is the case at Alessio’s playgroup) or some playgroups have their own kitchen where they prepare the lunch. Even though the menu changes every week it always contains a:
- Starter (pasta with tomato sauce, risotto, lasagna, pizza or minestrone soup)
- Main course (chicken, a large variety of meat or fish)
- Side dish (mashed potatoes, vegetables or salad)
This all is served with water and bread. They end lunch with fruit and sometimes even a cake!
I’m very happy with this menu and the way they care about food. Even though Alessio is difficult when it comes to food, he always gets the chance to try something new. And for now, I don’t have to be the kitchen princess anymore, at least not for lunch time. I’ll surely do my best for dinner time….