Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Kid's 'Specials'

Say what you will
School dinners make you ill
Robin Hood died from shepherd’s pie
All school din-dins
Come from dustbins
Out of town.


…or something like that. It’s been a long time since I sat down for school meals.

English: Corner of Market Square, Stow-On-The-Wold
English: Corner of Market Square, Stow-On-The-Wold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
People of my generation will have you believe they were scarred by their dining hall experiences, but it wasn’t all ‘cannonball’ peas, solidified gravy, and insipid potatoes. There was a passable toad-in-the-hole, the occasion roast which included clearly identifiable meat. And of course, the puddings. Who could forget the chocolate sponge with chocolate sauce? Indeed, it's harder to let the hideously pink trifle slip from my mind, than it was to lift it from the dish. Still, I confess to a time when my eyes were bigger than my belly and, unable to finish the hard-won ‘seconds’, I was instructed to stand on my chair for all to ogle. Our head teacher, a fearsome Welshman, brought everyone’s attention to bear upon the “grreeedy boy!” with a diction sharp enough to pierce custard skin.

What tales will the pupils of the Swell Primary School in Stow-on-the-Wold tell their children and grandchildren, about school meals? Currently, all 40 of them walk to their local pub, The Golden Ball Inn, for a cooked meal, once a week. It’s a great solution to the problem of offering a hot meal, prepared off-site. And I’m certain that it’s an initiative that wins the approval of my blogpal, Alan Burnett. What do you say, Alan?
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12 comments:

  1. I totally agree Martin. Local pubs can make a great contribution to the wider community : as post offices, old people's drop in centres, community meeting places etc (I am being serious here). We really do need to rethink how we view (and tax) pubs to allow them to fulfil their potential.

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  2. A couple of years ago, our village pub closed. It languished for months, until some enterprising 'spark' took it on, refurbished it and brought it back to life. Now it's doing really good business, having introduced a fine menu and more 'family friendly' atmosphere. I was encouraged from the start, when the new landlord announced, "we want to make our pub the hub of the village." Good man, is all I can say.

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  3. school meals in a pub? Now there's an interesting idea!

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    1. It certainly is, Juliet. A simple idea that could be rolled out across the country, for small schools that have no catering facilities.

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  4. This isn't a new idea you'll not be surprised to hear Martin. Wilts and Dorset are famous for having many 'small schools' one of which was where I started my career as a Primary School Headteacher. Having pre-cooked dinners arriving by van was far from ideal, but at least we privided them as we had a 'servery' of sorts. Other schools had to be much more creative and I'm sure my memory serves me correctly that more than one or two relied on the local pub's services. Often the publican's children attended the school and there was a good relationship with the community.

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    1. The provision of cooked school meals is patchy among 'small schools'. It doesn't surprise me that some head teachers have explored the pub route. Although I am surprised that some 'job's worth' hasn't stepped in with an objection. When I was at Primary School, we had meals cooked on the premises, and there were only 42 people including teachers and cooks! Times have changed.

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  5. i have nothing to contribute on this topic because our schools in the Philippines do not offer school meals. we have to bring our own food that we would eat during recess period, or buy food from the canteen and nothing being sold there are cooked meals.

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    1. Odette, many of the children who have their meals at school in the UK, actually bring packed lunches. The menus and nutritional value of what's offered by the schools have been contentious issues in recent years. So much so, that we've had celebrity chefs dictating on diets.

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  6. I come late to this post but in the light of today's confirmation that horsemeat has been served up in schools, I think you must be a bit psychic...

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    1. Never too late, jennyfreckles. A bit of a psychic eh? I didn't see that coming!

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  7. We don't have school dinners in Australia but I went to school in Hazlemere in England for 6 months when I was 9 and I loved the school dinners - mainly cause they were hot, and it was so bloody cold!

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    1. I had no idea that you'd spent time as a child, in England, Gabrielle. Yes, the school dinners were always hot, weren't they? And the winters are just the same as ever, I assure you.

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