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Abstract

Childhood nutrition is an important element of lifestyle research, since the regularity and nutritional content of our meals as children, and the way in which they are eaten, determine our physical and mental health throughout our lives. Prior to 2018, there was no basic interdisciplinary research on this topic in Hungary, thus to fill the gap, an interdisciplinary research group was established in 2018 at the Institute of Ethnography, which carried out nationwide research. The present study is based on fieldwork undertaken by the author in two schools — the János Lenkey Primary School in Eger (formerly Primary School No. 1) and the Tamás Bolyki Primary School in Ózd — as well as a large amount of information gleaned from questionnaires and interviews. My research was also extended in terms of a historical and geographical perspective: I studied archival sources and expanded the field of my investigations by including Salgótarján, a research location familiar from my earlier research, which provided a vantage point alongside Ózd and Eger, as a third city typical of Northern Hungary. Public catering for children has undergone significant changes in the last six to seven years, although prior to this it had appeared relatively uniform, in line with the ingredients available at the time. The obligation to provide public catering and the general obligation to work, which began in the Rákosi era and culminated in the Kádár era, significantly changed family eating habits. Traditional elements typical of a particular locality disappeared as the globalization efforts of socialism were accomplished. The ever-decreasing amount of time devoted to preparing, cooking, and consuming food moved society in the direction of canteens, fast-food restaurants, and later, after the regime change, global fast-food chains. Education on proper nutrition is not currently part of academic teacher training, thus for want of a better alternative, teachers organize children's school meals based on their own experience and socialization or following the school's regulations (where they exist), without having a unified concept. The number of meals eaten at home has been reduced to light breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, with families mostly sitting down together at the table for dinner, when they often consume ready meals. Lack of contact with foodstuffs and with the person preparing the food has a negative impact on children's psychological development. Relying on extensive basic research and participant observation, and through the joint efforts of specialists from several fields of the social sciences, a significant improvement could be achieved in both public catering and education on healthy nutrition.

Open access

Abstract

In Hungary, about half of the 3–18 age group has regularly used school food service. This paper focuses on the operation and social embeddedness of school canteens and the at-home eating habits of the families involved. My conclusions are based on the findings of my interdisciplinary research group. Ethnographers from the RCH Institute of Ethnology and dietitians from the National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition have been studying school food from 2018 to 2023. We selected a few model settlements: in addition to the capital, Budapest, three smaller towns, and two villages. Through questionnaires, interviews, and fieldwork observations, we investigated cooking, serving, meal courses, meal time, eating habits, preferences, as well as the nutritional knowledge of students, teachers, kitchen staff, and parents. Our goal, among other things, is to collect best practices and facilitate communication between participants. Some examples from our research highlight the special role of the centrally regulated school food in local food culture, and difficulties with social and historical roots can occasionally hamper school lunches in becoming a socially accepted model of a healthy diet. The school canteen works best at sites where cooking takes place within the school premises. There is a strong connection between the kitchen staff and the teachers, and they work together in the interest of the children. The value of food and its appreciation is demonstrated by how it is treated and how it is talked about. Communication about food in the canteen should be based on food preparation at home, where parents and children work together. The operation of canteens has become particularly problematic following the measures introduced during the coronavirus pandemic. A sustainable, enjoyable canteen can only be realized through the regular communication of schools and school kitchens, as well as children and their parents. Our findings are presented to our respondents, along with providing them with a comparison of different examples.

Open access

School Meals on the Menu

Studies on the Practices of Children's Catering

Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Author:
Anikó Báti
Open access

Abstract

This article traces references to nature and naturalism (understood as an attempt to ground and legitimize art in natural phenomena) in Ligeti's writings, but also in selected aspects of his oeuvre. The references to nature recur here in various manifestations, with romantic depictions of nature appearing alongside more recent, modernist approaches. The concept of nature is associated with the romantic setting for human emotions, with the discovery of scientific laws, with listening to soundscape, with phenomena of auditory perception and with the spectral explorations of sound. Although nature is not a central, strategic concept for Ligeti, it remains a constant, even if hidden, context for his work, a point of reference.

Open access

Abstract

Sándor Weöres's poetry was a life-long passion and source of inspiration for György Ligeti. This article explores the role Weöres played in Ligeti's early development as a composer by providing insight into the genesis of all of his 13 early settings of Weöres, including the unpublished choral works Hajnal [Dawn] and Tél [Winter], the incomplete song “Nagypapa leszállt a tóba” [Grandpa descended in the pond], and the unfinished oratorio “Istar pokoljárása” [Ishtar's Journey to Hell], and by making some analytical observations on them. Ligeti's early settings of Weöres were composed in three periods. The first stage in 1946–1947 was his compositional discovery of Weöres's poetry, which seems to have acted as a fuel and a challenge for him, triggering something of a musical self-liberation. His Weöres settings in 1949–1950 may be seen as a sign of solidarity with the poet effectively silenced by Communist state authorities, while in 1952–1955, Weöres texts seem to have served specifically as material for Ligeti's experimentation with static music and serialism.

Open access

Abstract

Children are a vulnerable group in terms of obesity: nearly 20% of Hungarian kindergarten and school-aged children are overweight or obese. School catering plays a decisive role in shaping children's nutritional behavior. To support the prevention of obesity and to increase the quality of children's diets, legislation passed in 2014 included provisions on school catering. This paper provides a qualitative content analysis of a roundtable discussion on the school catering system that took place at an interdisciplinary conference, with the aim of identifying the most important messages about school meals conveyed by the discussion. During the qualitative analysis of the roundtable discussion, seven main categories emerged: factors supporting the acceptance/implementation of public catering; factors hindering the acceptance/implementation of public catering; everyday problems in the implementation of public catering; the task of caterers and public catering; the transformation of public catering; cooperation among parties with an interest in public catering; and factors helping children to cooperate. The co-occurrence network of subcategories and values can be broken down into one large component and several separate, small components. Thus, it can be concluded that the majority of subthemes and values are grouped into a coherent system. The results point to the key role of school catering in healthy nutrition and nutrition education, and the importance of close cooperation among parties with an interest in school catering to promote the social acceptance of catering and the prevention of childhood obesity.

Open access