I’ve called Folkets Madhus home for some time now. Its name translates to "the people's food house." My job description and the company itself is sometimes hard to describe due to the vast array of gastronomic activity going on around here, but here are just a few:
-Børn Mad – production of schoolchildren’s lunches for the municipality of Copenhagen.
-Private Events – catering for weddings, birthdays, and special events. One of my favorites is corporate team building cooking classes.
-Butchery – wholesale fresh meat and charcuterie production.
I want to give you a glimpse into Børn Mad – the real workhorse/backbone of Folkets Madhus. Though the name sounds like a bitter 80’s hair band, it's pronounced “bourne-me.”
The Børn Mad crew is responsible for 700-800 meals each weekday. At maximum capacity, the kitchen can crank out over 1600 meals per day. Every morning, the team arrives around 5:45 AM to begin the day’s work. Over the next eight hours, they prepare various healthy meals and individually pack them into lunch boxes. Then, these freshly made lunches are delivered to schools around the city.
What kind of healthy stuff? Hummus, beetroot salad, liver pâté sandwiches, pasta, and fish cakes. Sources of vitamins and fiber are always included. Fresh fruit and vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers top off each box. Once or twice a month, the school kids get freshly baked pizza – but not the kind that comes out of a Dominoes or Digorno box. These pizzas are topped solely with tomato sauce and pesto.
Healthy, right? Over 90% of the ingredients used in Børn Mad are certified organic.
The Danish school children have it pretty good. I remember school lunches from my childhood – mostly unpleasant memories of “mystery slop.” My late grandmother worked in the lunchroom so you know I’m being kind. She always complained that the government shouldn’t feed that crap to kids.
Children’s food should be the starting point when tackling America’s obesity problems. And our great country definitely has problems - about 40% of the American population is considered obese. Compare that to Denmark’s average of 14%. What are they doing that we aren’t?
Danes don’t feed crap to their kids. Let’s start there, America.