In an effort to promote healthy eating (and one suspects, French culinary tradition), French school officials have banned the use of ketchup on anything but French fries in cafeterias nationwide. And it's not the only lunchroom staple being told au revoir.
All fried foods, including nuggets and cordon-bleus, are being restricted to one meal per week. And the French lunch ladies will no longer put salt, mayo, vinaigrette (or the evil ketchup) out for kids to use as they please. They'll only be available "according to the dishes."
"France must be the global example for the quality of food, starting with children," French Agriculture and Food Minister Bruno le Maire told a Parisian newspaper.
Le Maire complained that school menus weren't respecting nutritional guidelines, so it was up to the government to draw up rules that forced students to eat healthier meals.
French fries (which, remember, aren't even French), will be limited to once a week.
And, while the good French agriculture minister didn't come out and say it, some are suspecting that a fervent desire to protect kids' waistlines isn't the only thing motivating the ketchup ban. Some are whispering that there's more than a little Gallic pride at play here. Ketchup, after all, is that most American of condiments...