In our second episode on School Lunch, we take a hard look at how the metaphor of a Melting Pot to describe the necessary assimilation of American immigrants, might be a little problematic. The school lunchroom is the place where newly immigrated children were (and still are) introduced to the “American diet”. Where classrooms taught U.S. history and civics classes, the lunchroom taught that stew and cow’s milk was what you consumed to fit in. In evaluating these food choices, we look at food sensitivities across nationalities and how dairy specifically does not fit well into most children’s diets.
We also look at some personal stories of the lunchroom drama that immigrant children have had to deal with and the various reaction their parents had when requesting Lunchables over sticky rice.
There is a quick introduction to school lunch and how an American-born, European immigrant began the first lunch program in his German factories.
We end the episode by giving Darryl a short quiz on school lunches across the globe. If you would like to take a similar quiz and see how you do, you can find the same images he was describing at this website: Name The Countries These Lunches Were Served
Sources for E18. School Lunch Part 2
Public Schools in the Twentieth Century: The “Melting Pot” for Immigrants
Dietary Assimilation among Mexican Children in Immigrant Households: Code-switching and Healthy Eating across Social Institutions
Eating while immigrant: The bitter taste of assimilation and the joy of ‘stinky’ food
Being Bullied About My Lunch Made Me a Better Person