I’ve been following school-dinner blogger, Martha Payne, with interest and enjoyment as her hideous photos of clods that claim to be sausages, and hooves that are technically burgers, embarrass her school authority into change (and I don’t think any parent would be pushing those particular burgers through the bars to protest at their children being fed healthier options).
We’re very lucky in Powys; we have a good cook in our school who has a three-week rotating menu of normal proper food. The kids are chuffed to bits when they get mini-grill, but are content to scoff the shepherd’s pie in order to get the properly-made pud after it. So in being alright Jack, I can watch and snigger from afar.
It’s always perplexed me that parents, grandparents or school authorities can offer kids any food that they wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole themselves. At an old friend’s house, the grandma would cook fantastic fresh wholesome food for her off-spring, but would indulgently feed smiley faces and chicken arse-holes to the grandchildren.
I felt that Jamie Oliver missed a trick when he didn’t feed a slab of fried luncheon-meat and a handful of sweet-corn drenched in brine to the Board when he was asking them for change, followed by a strawberry milk.
I was lucky: I loved my school dinners. Whilst everyone around me was moaning about pink custard, and liver and bacon, I was scoffing it down. My mum tended to cook things that hardened as they went off the boil (including soup and gravy), and so speed was the eating aim in our house. Therefore to savour a cottage pie that stayed a cottage pie, and then to have it followed by ginger cake and green custard was bliss.
There is one thing that Martha might savour about her dinners – she has officially earned the ability to moan about them with her mates when sitting round a table in a dirty pub in years to come: conversations that just left me feeling as empty as the ones I listen to now when people talk about ironing.
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