Tuesday 21 August 2012

Hot potatoes!

Hei taas! Nälkäiset linnut ovat taas täällä! Kiitoksia kommenteista,
niitä on ollut mukava lukea. Tänään kerromme jotain suomalaisen
kouluruoan historiasta.

Suomessa ilmaisella kouluruoalla on pitkät perinteet. Ensimmäiset koulut
alkoivat tarjota kouluruokaa jo 1800-luvulla. Vuonna 1943 säädettiin
laki ilmaisesta kouluruoasta, joten vuonna 1948 kaikien koulujen tuli
tarjota lämmin lounas. Aluksi lounas oli hyvin yksinkertainen. Ainakin
maaseudulla oppilaiden piti tuoda ruokatarvikkeita (marjoja, sieniä,
perunoita, maitoa) koululle. Nykyään onneksi meidän ei tarvitse tuoda
mitään. Kunnat kustantavat kouluruoan. Esimerkiksi kaupungissamme yhden
aterian kulut ovat 0,65e! Se on aika vähän kun miettii mitä tuolla
rahalla saa ruokakaupasta. Ja tietysti tarvitaan iso joukko ihmisiä
kokkaamaan ruokaa.

Nykyään kouluruokailu on osa opetussuunnitelmaa. Meidän pitäisi oppia
hyviä tapoja ja maistamaan uusia makuja. Opettajat myös muistuttavat
koko ajan, että ruoka pitää syödä haarukalla ja veitsellä.

Tänään ruoaksi oli pestokalaa, keitettyjä perunoita ja
vesimeloni-kurkku-persikkasalaattia. Kala oli ihan ok, mutta kaikki
eivät tykänneet pestokastikkeesta. Suomessa perunat keitetään yleensä
kuorineen, joten meidän pitää kuoria ne. Kaikki eivät tästä tykkää,
koska kuoriessa voi polttaa sormensa. Tänään tosin perunat eivät olleet
kuumia, mutta ihan hyvän makuisia. Melkein kaikki pitivät salaatista ja
erityisesti vesimelonista.

Hi again! Hungry Birds from Finland are back! Thank you for your
comments, it has been very exciting to read them. Today we tell you
something about history on school meals in Finland.

Here in Finland we have long traditions for school meals. First schools
started to serve school meal already in 19th century. In 1943 passed a
law about free school meals so in 1948 every school had to serve warm
meal during school day. First the lunch was quite simple. At least in
countryside pupils had to bring some groceries to school kitchen for
example berries, mushrooms, potatoes, milk etc. Nowadays we don't have
to bring anything. Communities are covering the costs of school lunch.
For example in our town supplies for one portion cost about 0,65e! It's
quite a small amount on money if you think what you can by in 65 cents
from the supermarket. Of course there have to be lot of people cooking
the food!

Today our lunch is part of the curriculum. We should learn good manners
at least. We also should taste new flavours. Also our teachers always
remind us to eat with fork and knife.

Today our lunch was roasted fish with pesto sauce, cooked potatoes and
salad with watermelon, cucumber and peach. The fish was ok but everyone
didn't like the pesto. The fish was called coalfish. In Finland it's
quite common that potatoes are cooked with it's skin and we have to peel
it before we eat it. Everyone don't like to do it because you may burn
your fingers, but cooking potatoes with skin keeps more vitamins inside
it. Today our potatoes didn't burn our fingers but they were ok. Most of
liked todays salad especially the watermelon.

Food-o-meter: 7/10 (because of the pesto)
Mouthfuls: 33 (average)
Courses: main
Health Rating: 9/10 (the fish was covered with cheese)
Price: 0e
Pieces of hair: 0
Fishbones: 1

This is all for today! Bye!


  1. That looks like a healthy meal! I love pesto with chicken and some mozzarella cheese. I am not sure how it would taste with fish though..not surprised everyone did not like it :)
    Looking forward to more posts from the hungry birds.

  2. meidän koulussa perunat on kuorittu valmiiksi.

    In our school we don't have to peel our potatoes.

  3. Again it looks really nice!
    I like your meals ;)

    Best regards from Germany

  4. I love unpeeled potatoes, more taste, especially when roasted! Yum!

    So glad to hear Finland realizes the logic of feeding hungry minds with food so they can absorb more learning!

    All the best,
    Santa Barbara, California

  5. Hienoa lukea suomalaisesta kouluruokailusta kansainvälisen maineen saavuttaneesta blogista.

    It's great to read about the Finnish school lunch system in an internationally followed blog.

  6. The popatoes peel are the best part. I don't know why anyone would peel them.

    1. Quite easy: Potatoes have some very toxic parts. Leaves, fruits, sprouts and stems all contain a large amount of glycoalkaloid, which can cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps, and in severe cases coma and deaths.
      In the tuber - that part of the potatoe which we eat ^^ - the highest concentration of glycoalkaloid is to be found directly beneath the peel. The amount is normally uncritical, but (!) due to age and exposure to light, the amount might get higher. Usually it can be connected with the greening seen on potatoes, when they are exposed to light for too long.

      So peeling potatoes is the best way to spot those greened parts, that might be not good to Your health, if consumed in large amounts.
      And for the taste of potatoe peel.. well.. reminds me (!) of treebark ^^

    2. I agree with OssoZ, especially because almost all of the vitamins and minerals in the potato are in the peel. If the potato has green parts you can usually see it through the peel or by cutting into your potato to check before you eat it.

  7. I prefer to eat the skin on the potatoes as long as they've been washed well. That salad sounds yummy!

  8. In Peru we also eat cooked potatoes with most of our food, but we peel it after the potatoes are cooked and serve it without the skin. So, yeah, we understand how much it burns sometimes, but most of our mothers tell us to get use to it.

  9. That... pesto... looks interesting ^^
    Nothing close to the Pesto Genovese I know.. and also not like Pesto Rosso..

    Pesto (Genovese or Rosso) is real good with grilled fish.. And in Mexico, the mexican version of Pesto - Salsa sauce - is also often served with fish.

    Nice to see some fish on a plate once in a while ^^


  10. Looks delicious, not sure about the fish but would definitely try it. Always try something at least once and then again in 5 years because your taste will change. I like the skin on my potatoes because that's where all the potassium is. Gotta have the vitamins from that too.

  11. Saako teillä OIKEESTI potut kuorellisina? Meillä ne on kuorittu valmiiks ja kun ne kuorettomina kiertoilmauunissa tehdään niiden pinta on sitä hyvin kuuluisaa kumiperunaa, olkaa onnellisia että saatte maukkaita ja ei-kuivia perunoita vaikka sitten jouduttekin kuorimaan.

    In our school we have the potatoes peeled before cooking so they are always a bit dry - a "rubberpotato" is here very known name for the potatoes we get in school. :D I would love to get unpeeled potatoes, they taste so much better and they aren't dry!

    At home we eat potatoes unpeeled - with their skin - if it's summer and they have been picked up lately. Of course they have to be washed well but it's worth it, they taste YUMMY!

  12. Really really good! I love this entire Blog!

    The following remark is rather politically incorrect but I wonder how obvious it becomes through the NeverSeconds Blog that North American meals generally look significantly less healthy than those from any other country.

    They really should think about it. Jamie Oliver tried to start some changes with his Food Revolution project. Now this blog... Keep up the good work!!!

    It's widely known that obesity rates also for European Countries are growing alarmingly fast. With this blog we see great examples of "food awareness" all over the world. And it's really great to see so many great meals like this one from Finland!

    I've been to Finland many times and at one restaurant or rather sort of public canteen there was a great concept offered: instead of typical "all-you-can-eat" Brunch they served "fish soup flat-rate". And believe me, the fish soup was fantastic!

    Greetings from Berlin (Germany).

    1. I don't think it's at all politically incorrect. We're aware that there are many issues on this side of the Atlantic. I think it's mainly an addiction to convenience. We tried to highlight some of the problems when we wrote from Texas Tech. We have a lot of choices on campus, but we're still choosing "the best of the worst" most of the time. I can't even get skim milk on campus, or anything certified organic, which really bothers me. (Which is why I don't eat on campus more than 1 or 2 time per week.)

      I agree. Great awareness raising!


    2. Convenience and Efficiency! We Anericans love to do things faster and cheaper in the pursuit of having more time to be "productive," meaning more time to work! :(

    3. The funny thing is, convenience usually isn't cheaper. Yes, if You look for quality, You will have to pay a bit more. But when done right, You will save money due to staying healthy ^^

      And if You know how to do it - and there's all You need for that on the internet - preparing a healthy meal isn't that much work either.
      If You got all the ingredients needed at home, it takes about as much time to make a pizza Yourself, than to call a pizza service to deliver one. Cooking some pasta with fresh vegetables Yourself doesn't take that much longer, than to put a frozen meal into the microwave.

      Convenience is just a different word for lazy in my opinion ;)


    4. I won't argue with that. The trouble is also that the current generation of young adults had already been raised on the convenience culture, so many either don't see it that way, and some just haven't the foggiest idea of how to cook, and feel frightened or intimidated by it. I'm not making excuses, only pointing out what needs to change. And yes, often it's just plain lazy. I personally love to cook, enjoy using fresh ingredients, and I'm glad I grew up in a family that valued cooking. Also, in the cases of school food, even at the university level, when one is forced to purchase a meal plan, one will eat what's available because it's paid for already. It's a systemic issue for sure.

  13. Interesting that all school meals are free in Finland. Good that you explained they have been free since 1948. At the moment in the UK you only get free school meals if your parent's income is below a certain level. In Scotland there has been a debate about whether all kids should get them free but I think that has now stopped because of the poor economic situation. It would be interesting to hear if there are free school meals in other countries.

    65 cents seems very cheap for your meals. Does this include all the costs such as the cook's wages, gas, electricity etc. and not just the cost of the food? Does every school have its own kitchen or are some schools supplied from a central location? Do Finnish schools keep financial accounts of what they spend on school meals, so that an individual school knows the cost of each meal?

    There are many similarities between Scotland and Finland in terms of population size, climate and industrial heritage and I know that on at least one occasion Scottish government leaders visited Finland to see if they could learn anything from the Finnish education system. Don't whether they sampled the free school meals but I am looking forward to seeing more meals from Finland so that we can compare the quality and quantity with the Lochgilphead meals presented in VEG's early blogs. I wonder if VEG's cost of £2 (e2.50) was a commercial rate including profit to the catering company and whether VEG's dad ever discussed value for money with the councillors or administrators?

    1. Hi, I'm from Finland and I think I can answer at least a few of your questions. Most larger schools have their own kitchen where the food is made, but as I understand, some of the smaller schools have food brought for them from a central kitchen of some type. For example some day care centers are so small that they might not have their own kitchen and get food deliveries from a nearby school. But I think it's more common for every school to have their own kitchen, I personally have never seen one without it's own kitchen, but I've heard that may be done in smaller cities (I live in the capital).

      In the comments there has been some opinions that the food looks dull and maybe not that appetizing. I'm old enough so that I've finished school long ago and now that I have some perspective I can really appreciate the free and still nutricious meals! When we were kids we might complain about certain foods, but most of it we would eat with pleasure. I remember loving pea soup, spinage soup, spinage-pancakes with cranberry jam, minced meat sause and so on and so on, we actually had many favourites, and were excited when those were served!
      Also from reading this blog I've seen that some school only rotate their food weekly or may even have the same three options day in day out... In finland we have theme-weeks and may have a week of thai inspired food or a veggie-week, and also the basic food rotates a lot, there's always atleast a few weeks between the same meal being on the menu again, and usually the ones that come up on the menu more often are the ones that are the childrens favourites.

    2. Actually, smaller schools usually have kitchens of their own and the bigger ones get their food from central kitchen...

    3. Well I can only talk from my experience, the only schools I've known to have a central location where food comes from are small and rural ones.

    4. The poor economic situation... :-)

      One should remember that in 1943 Finland was fighting for its existance against the Soviet Union (and had already lost important agricultural areas in the previous war) so the situation probably could not have been worse (the famine was close in the spring of 1942). And in 1948 we were just out of the war and in the middle of paying war reparations to the Soviet Union (about 4 billion euros in todays money) and relocating 420 000 people (about 12% of the total population) who had been evacuated from the ceded areas.

      So Finland was a very poor country at the time, the rationing did not end completely until 1954. But maybe politicians and others thought it was important that all children had at least one warm meal a day. Priorities... and now we are leading in PISA results... But hey, we also held the Summer Olympics in 1952! :-)

  14. I also eat the potato skins. And I'm impressed that you're taught table manners in school. Having seen the decline of basic table manners in Australia I think it's an excellent idea ! I know 8 year olds that cannot use a knife or fork - horrendous ! If I'd eaten with my hands at that age I would have been sent to bed without any dinner.

    I'm not sure about Pesto on fish, I'd prefer lemon juice or maybe Salsa (as mentioned by MaikD). The salad sounds fantastic, I think I should try it !

  15. I think well, that to talk to myself somebody closely about the food of the children in the school. Since in a lot of lands one always hears resembles. The children should receive healthy food and the contrary is him fall. It must still change a lot in the food of the school children. Jamie Oliver has done the beginning and it should be taken from itself an example in it. This is a comment from Mercator Web.

  16. I'm not a fan of cheese on fish either. :)