4/25/2016

Please Sir can I have some more?

School dinners. Like or loathe they are still very much part of school life.

Thankfully in my junior school we had packed lunch, I went into reception proudly with my Postman Pat lunchbox, I wasn't really a girlie girl, all the other girls had Care Bears or My Little Pony. The boys had He-man or Batman. These were the days of hard plastic boxes filled with - horror - crisps and even chocolate treats. This was in the 80's before the healthy eating police rummaged through your lunch time treats and said treats were contraband.


My lunchbox!!! Photo credit here
Other popular choices photo credit here


In secondary school it was NOT cool to have a packed lunch. Everyone would descend into the canteen for a plate of 'cheesy chips' followed by a Golden Wispa bar - remember them? If your mum sent you in with a packed lunch this was hastily eaten on the walk to the bus stop or as a 'snack' at break-time.

Secondary school pudding of choice, photo credit here


Fast forward to 2016 and my eldest child is fortunate to have school dinners. I say fortunate because the aromas coming from the school kitchen first thing in the morning are amazing and the kitchen staff provide delicious homemade soup and cakes and biscuits post rugby/football/cricket match always welcome after an hour stood in a soggy field.

So as part of our Sunday night routine O and I log onto my laptop and look on the school website to see what delights we have to look forward to. On the menu this week my particular culinary highlights include; 'duck breast and orange sauce' followed by 'raspberry and white chocolate blondie' and 'chicken jalfrezi' followed by 'eton mess'. Duck a l'orange? Chicken jalfrezi? I must have navigated onto the staff menu. I looked again, no this wasn't a mistake this was the menu for the children aged 4-11.

Now don't get me wrong I like a bit of variety and am the first to encourage my children to try something new but DUCK A L'ORANGE and CURRY? Really? Am I going insane? What happened to shephards pie with lumpy gravy or spotted dick with watery custard? Show me an 8 year old who tucks into duck or curry regularly? It's bonkers, surely we want to fill their tummies with normal meals so they have energy for the afternoon? Not deliver haute cuisine that a Michelin starred chef would be proud of? Who are they expecting to drop in for lunch Raymond Blanc?

Ok so maybe I'm being a little harsh, perhaps kids do have vastly expanded tastes these days? Maybe its my kids that are too fussy? Mine love nothing more than a plate of bangers and mash or fish fingers and chips. All with a serving of veg naturally. Perhaps I didn't provide them with enough variety at the weaning stage? Who knows. I know my two will always find something to eat either at home or if we are out at a restaurant. They have a balanced diet and eat fresh food but it doesn't come in fancy form with a roux or a  jus on the side and a sprinkling of unrecogniseable seasoning.


So for now my 8 year old comes home ravenous. Unless of course it's Friday and he's had the traditional 'fish on Friday' dish of fish goujons, potato fries and beans. Once they deviated from this and it was 'breaded salmon', I thought O was going to cry when he read that. At least I know on a Friday he has eaten something.

Roll on secondary school where there will be a canteen and some variety. Until then I will continue to serve up 'normal' food to my boys and leave the 'fancy stuff' to school.

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