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Lunch lady slammed for food that is 'too good'

6 Oct 2012, 15:04

Published: 06 Oct 2012 15:04 GMT+02:00

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Annica Eriksson, a lunch lady at school in Falun, was told that her cooking is just too good.

Pupils at the school have become accustomed to feasting on newly baked bread and an assortment of 15 vegetables at lunchtime, but now the good times are over.

The municipality has ordered Eriksson to bring it down a notch since other schools do not receive the same calibre of food - and that is "unfair".

Moreover, the food on offer at the school doesn't comply with the directives of a local healthy diet scheme which was initiated in 2011, according to the municipality.

"A menu has been developed... It is about making a collective effort on quality, to improve school meals overall and to try and ensure everyone does the same," Katarina Lindberg, head of the unit responsible for the school diet scheme, told the local Falukuriren newspaper.

However, Lindberg was not aware of Eriksson's extraordinary culinary efforts and how the decision to force her to cut back had prompted outrage among students and parents.

"It has been claimed that we have been spoiled and that it's about time we do as everyone else," Eriksson said.

She insisted, however, that her creative cooking has not added to the municipality's expenses.

"I have not had any complaints," she told the paper.

Eriksson added that she sees it as her job to ensure that the pupils are offered several alternatives at meal times.

The food on offer does not always suit all pupils, she explained, and therefore she makes sure there are plenty of vegetables to choose from as well as proteins in the form of chicken, shrimp, or beef patties.

From now on, the school's vegetable buffet will be halved in size and Eriksson's handmade loafs will be replaced with store-bought bread.

Her traditional Easter and Christmas smörgåsbords may also be under threat.

Story continues below…

Parents and pupils alike find the municipality's orders distasteful.

Fourth-graders at the school have even launched a petition in protest against the decision to put a lid on Eriksson's passion for cooking.

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Your comments about this article

15:46 October 6, 2012 by byke
I agree with the unhappy students and parents.

But it also says even more about the Swedish education system and Swedish politics.

Now, what can we learn from this story?

Oops .... silly me .... It would be unfair to learn something.
16:37 October 6, 2012 by StockholmSam
This is pathetic to the point of being outrageous.

Katarina Lindberg, head of the unit responsible for the school diet scheme who is responsible for this decision, should be removed from her post immediately. Instead of telling someone who excels at her job to make it more like those who are performing poorly, perhaps she should find out how Annika Eriksson is able to successfully carry out these menus without significantly impacting the school's food budget and then get the others to pick it up a notch. THAT is in the best interest of the students.

I suggest that Annika Eriksson is more suited to Katarina Lindberg's job than Lindberg is. At the very least, Lindberg should take some advice from Eriksson.
17:55 October 6, 2012 by Helgi
What a f..., Sweden? Are you going out of the crisis or you prefer to commit a suicide? If hard-working and creative people are told to work as mediocre employees (all in the name of notorious equality), then the entire country is in trouble. This story is the best case for anecdotes about Swedes.
18:39 October 6, 2012 by JohnnyAppleseed
We wouldn't think of requiring the other schools to try to raise their service to the standard this great lady is setting, would we? No. It's much better to drag her down.
19:37 October 6, 2012 by Svensksmith
If you follow that logic, all school meals in Sweden should be no better than what kids eat in other parts of the world....Ethiopia for example.
19:48 October 6, 2012 by texaslass
Wow, I am impressed with such a devoted school cook, wish I had that kind of cooking when I was a child. This must be the Jantelagen that I have heard about, where Swedish people are penalized for being free thinkers, intelligent or creative.
20:56 October 6, 2012 by Keith #5083
15 vegetables? Home baked bread? This woman should be put in charge of ALL school meals in Sweden!

What the parents (and pupils) need to do now is object to store-bought foodstuffs that contain preservatives, additives, flavour enhancers. They should take the education authority to court requiring them to prove that their 'theoretical dietary program is healthier than that which Katrina is serving.

You mean, this woman actually gets children/young people to eat vegetables? She should get a knighthood (or the Swedish equivalent).

I'm with you StockholmSam
21:00 October 6, 2012 by e1zorro
Here's a thought - why not actually use Eriksson's obvious passion and talent ( it's not easy to cook good, nutritious food on a budget, especially when you have such critical customers ) and learn from it.

Perhaps implement a training scheme to bring other schools up to such a good example.

...no...easier to just crush it before it gets popular
21:20 October 6, 2012 by eurobloke
Here is the original article, for those;

21:23 October 6, 2012 by Flutterbye
Yet another example of how the lunatics run the asylum.
21:29 October 6, 2012 by jhpackard
Government enforced equality of results. Obama's vision for America, or as he would write, Amerika.
22:17 October 6, 2012 by Nora
municipality's orders are not distasteful, they are nonsense and are based on ignorance.

Hey, here's another treat to be considered by the municipality: put everyone's salary on the municipality equal to the lowest one in order "not to be spoiled and that it's about time you get as everyone else"!
02:17 October 7, 2012 by Beavis
typical- this comes from years of social democrat brainwahsing, particularlt in the education sector. THe communist/socialst rhetoric that would should all get/get the same.. There IS a better way as this brilliant cook has shown. Maybe this is why many Swedes thinks its ok to eat such bland food all of the time?? Wouldnt want to be having better than the neighbours now would we!
02:21 October 7, 2012 by Eric1
So everyone can't be rich and happy, so let's make everyone poor and miserable. Everyone can't be handsome or beautiful so let's make everyone ugly. Ain't socialism great.
07:46 October 7, 2012 by MichaelZWilliamson
The real question is, Why are the other schools substandard?
10:50 October 7, 2012 by procrustes
Sweden in a nutshell.
10:59 October 7, 2012 by Decedo
So this is about stiffling creativity in the lunchroom. I'm afraid to see how creative teachers are treated in the classroom, let alone creative students. The strive for mediocrity is very disturbing. I have a son that will be entering the Swedish school system in a few years, I really afraid of the education he'll be coming out with.
11:50 October 7, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
Haha, this is so Swedish. Aim for the lowest common denominator. My wife gets this at work. "Please don't put your qualifications after your name on your business cards and correspondence. Some of your colleagues aren't as qualified and it makes them feel uncomfortable".
12:16 October 7, 2012 by Keith #5083
#11 jhpackard FYI - a municipality is not the government. It's kinda like Texas or Arizona.The difference here is you don't get shot for disagreeing and, as you can see, the majority of the population do not support this 'little office worker'.

As an example which may profoundly shock you, the Gov a few years ago told muncipalities/health authorities they were not to treat sick illegals.To which most of the HA's replied 'F.U. We'll treat them first and argue afterwards'

I believe you have the reverse of this system,yes? But I can see you wanted to try,try, and make a spurious political point about the current American politics/system and highly respected President.
13:23 October 7, 2012 by Sven-Ingvar
"Haha, this is so Swedish"

too politically correct and too values-neutral
13:25 October 7, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
A heinously and bafflingly idiotic request to stiffle a passion for excellence. The petition should be to get that imbecile Lindberg fired immediately, at the same time as it insists on allowing Eriksson to resume providing excellent lunch fare. Grocery store bread???

However as written, the article raises and then fails to fully address one point:

"Moreover, the food on offer at the school doesn't comply with the directives of a local healthy diet scheme which was initiated in 2011, according to the municipality."

Come on The Local, any discerning reader will want to knowthi WHY this school's food allegedly does not comply with the healthy diet directives, when we have been given every indication thhat a wide selection of carefully prepared food and freshly baked bread is being offered. This is like you writing an article that says Boeing is being told to cut down on safety initiatives, while also saying that Boeing does not meet safety requirements.
14:50 October 7, 2012 by szaulo
Only in Sweirden
17:09 October 7, 2012 by gooch mango
Harrison Bergeron.
17:22 October 7, 2012 by Delparc
I mistakenly thought that we in the UK were crazy; nice to know that we are part of the EU syndrome!
17:59 October 7, 2012 by pjca
"Christmas and Easter"?

In the US she would get fired for uttering those "offensive" words!
19:03 October 7, 2012 by StokeyBob
Maybe she now needs a job in the private sector making, "store-bought bread" for all of the schools.
19:30 October 7, 2012 by Investor612
Excellence? Nope, can't have that. We must have uniform mediocrity or we're all not equal.
20:08 October 7, 2012 by bdowner60
Reminds me of a comical movie of the future where everyone with exceptional skill had in some way by the government be hindered due to upsetting the unskilled and or untalented individuals in society. They would take a dancer and force them to wear heavy weights on there feet after they would surgically operate on them to lessen ones mobility , or a high IQ individual and give them a small precise lobotomy and bad eyesight to hinder that person. In this case why not train the mediocre cooks to up it a notch in there skills.If they refuse I hope that the skilled individual will learn to stop caring since having such good ability to work there is a waste of there time and work where there will indeed be wanted and needed along with a better quality of life. THERE I SAID IT DUE TO IT NEED TO BE SAID!!!
05:13 October 8, 2012 by Cromulent
These are just the wages of progressivism. Its not a bug, its a feature.
05:36 October 8, 2012 by för30årseden
gooch mango is absolutely correct

for those of you who don't recognize the reference:

"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General."

read the whole story at:

06:44 October 8, 2012 by Alexey-nsk
en fråga: var finns sunt förnuft? Vrid Sverige till Nordkorea. :-(
07:15 October 8, 2012 by Borilla
It appears that the only ones who do not find this story bizarre are the ridiculous bureaucrats who are the cause. This is one of the worst comments in recent times on the Swedish mentality. Rather than inspire someone to excel, they are directed to "dumb down" their actions. What do the students learn from this? Excellence is NOT rewarded. Working hard and creating a good product is not rewarded. Standing out from the crowd by doing a better job will result in punishment. The highest achievers in the class must be the least capable and incompetent. No wonder the Swedish educational system is falling below the level of many third world countries. But robotic idiots do make good voters. Just ask the moderates.
13:14 October 8, 2012 by nolikegohome
Dear Sweden, please dear sweden do not kill creativity use it for the benifit of the general population. If this cook is so skilled and smart and creative, why not let her hold courses to teach the other not so skilled and creative cooks to do something nice and useful for the kids in other schools. Hello! i dont think it could be that difficult. In fact it could benifit all the kids in all swedish schools. Eller Hur!

(For gods sake the kids are eating veggies in her school)
16:52 October 8, 2012 by Big Kahuna
In America, we call it "no school lunch left behind." It reminds me of a note a teacher sent home to a little girl's parents here in Fairbanks, Alaska: They were asked to stop using the "Hooked on Phonics" home reading program because the grade schooler was getting to far ahead of the other children.
17:04 October 8, 2012 by Thomas Jefferson
so in other words, she was able to provide a lunch that not only was tasty but was able to do it within the budget. This is what she got fired for. The other schools are angry that she was able to do something she was not.

aka, someone won't get their kick back this year!
17:44 October 8, 2012 by Ulvenkai

What a joke :/
18:54 October 8, 2012 by vangoghic
As if Wallander was not enough, now this. Couldn't the Swedes just agree to commit mass suicide now in order to eliminate a long slow death?
18:56 October 8, 2012 by jeepman
This is typical of a socialized society. Everyone has to be equal or else someone will be offended. I say whoever made this a problem should be penalized to have to eat in the worst school cafeteria for the rest of their days.
17:52 October 9, 2012 by darkstar
Having lived in Sweden, I have a different take on this story, unlike the knee jerk reaction ("how stupid can the Swedes or Katarina Lindberg be?") displayed by the writer and most of the comments made. I found Swedish society to be far more empathic than American society, or most other societies around the world. It showed where I worked, at Ericsons, in that Swedes have a deep concern and regard for the feelings of their coworkers and those around them. Far more decision making is done via group processes and consensus building than I have ever found in American corporations, and ever present was a deep concern for the feelings of all involved. It showed in the meetings I attended, and was a big surprise to me as an American use to the "every man for himself" attitude so prevalent in our society. What I want to emphasize here is that this empathic desire, for the most part, does NOT come from the top down (i.e. from government and managerial edicts, like many Americans and their misguided propagandist's fear about socialist governments) but rather from the bottom up. It is a feeling I found ingrained in most of the Swedes I met.

Yes, I agree that Katarina Lindberg went overboard, but given the context of the society she lives in, I do understand her intentions. Most likely, she simply did not want other co-workers to feel hurt, which shows a great deal of empathy on her part. And again yes, a better decision would have been to help the rest of the cooks in these school systems do a better job and use Annica Eriksson example as a means of showing the way. But I don't think Katarina Lindberg is quite as stupid as everyone is making her out to be.
19:03 October 9, 2012 by Murgo
Darkstar's comment on 17:52 October 9, 2012 is a prime example of how to foster mediocrity. In short, make sure no one's feelings gets hurt. There is something to be said of being civil and such, but to suggest for someone to be less energetic and proactive so others do not feel upset is absolutely, positively evolutionarily counterproductive. I could see it now in prehistoric Sweden:

"Gorg! Put down that chisel and rock! Always trying to invent something, like the wheel. Don't you know you are making Blarg and Snurg feel sad and inferior!"

LOL! Pathetic!
20:32 October 9, 2012 by darkstar
Murgo comment #43 - With all due respect, it is you who is doing the Neanderthal thinking! The Swedes fully recognize the need to reward creativity and are cognizant of the need to balance capitalistic drives against socialistic care. They do a far better job of this than we Americans do. The BEST social/economic systems will balance these two forces and NOT pit them in BLACK AND WHITE terms of capitalism versus socialism, good versus evil. BOTH socialism or capitalism, carried to extremes IS abusive and undesirable. Sweden KNOWS this and is trying to achieve a desirable mix of the two. YOU CANNOT label Sweden as simply a socialistic system, it is BOTH and does foster rewards for individual/creative success.

America is FAR more in the camp of worshiping capitalistic forces and many people denigrate socialism without a true understanding of it. Case in point is you yourself by making such a snide comment about is, as you did above. Open your eyes if you cannot see the devastation done to this country(U.S.A) by unfettered capitalism in our banking, environment and social services. Because we are unwilling to see the value in socialism and how it TOO can contribute positive value to our society, we have gotten ourselves into one heck of a mess.

DO NOT MOCK empathy and those who are willing to set aside SOME (NOT ALL) of the rewards for success, in order to help out the less capable and less fortunate. Do not mock a society that encourages such caring for others. We should ALL be so human and humane, having empathy and ACTING on it is the most noble of all our characteristics, and we humans should strive towards displaying more of it.

The Swedes do NOT discourage innovation and do provide some rewards for achievement. But how much reward is enough? Do you really think it is OK for someone like Bill Gates to amass BILLIONS of dollars, and the power that goes along with such wealth? NO ONE can contribute that much value to our society alone, and only by domination and cornering of a market can such wealth be garnered. We did NOT elect this man (or others like him) to make decisions that affect ALL of us on a level that is equivalent to, or more powerful than our own government! Yes he is to be rewarded for his contributions, but we desperately need some socialism to balance his greed against the desires and needs of ALL THE REST OF US!!

And for goodness sakes, look at want a small GREEDY cabal of bank tycoons did to our economy, all in the name of unregulated, unfettered capitalism! You are a complete idiot if you do not see the need for socialism along with some empathy in order to prevent such a disaster from happening again in the future.

Now who is the one with a "pathetic" attitude?
13:26 October 11, 2012 by Ken Frost
In the real world competition often improves the quality of services or products that people receive. However, in Nanny's world it is easier to simply hold people back from doing their best; because Nanny doesn't want to (or can't) make the effort to improve.

As I have noted many times before, councils (wherever they are based) are the enemies of the people!

20:33 October 12, 2012 by james7
Sweden, you need to stop looking at America because you have become exactly like American bureaucracy. You are not the nation you once were, a small creative, industrious nation that produced the finest steel in the world and two of the best cars in the world. Wake up Sweden, before it is too late!!!!!!!!
09:46 October 13, 2012 by Ron Edge
Darkstar: You only prove that you're as idiotic as the one/program/ideology you defend. What do you think is occurring as your rationalistic culture meets the deterministic culture that is Islam??

Why, you excuse, excuse, excuse their depredations on your Western Culturistic weaknesses, don't you, until....

What? You are overcome, you think??

I'm as 'giggly' as any of you concerning this... what?... nonsense?... but, listen...

Those of us anti-Leftists who defended you against the Communist Menace will be long-gone, soon.

Who will defend you then?? Your peers? Not-a-chance, Dear: you'll be on your own against the implacable Islamist who is determined to either enslave you, kill you or die trying in the attempt.

You willing to to do what...


Good luck. You're going to need it...
12:51 March 21, 2013 by janeway
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