Saturday, 10 October 2009

Packed or Bought?

I remember school dinners to be rather unappetizing when I was a nipper. In my primary school there was never a choice, you ate what you got or you went hungry. In high school it was slightly better where we had a limited choice of mainly chips, when occasionally they threw in sausages and beans together with the odd vegetable, but at least we could choose what we wanted with our chips. I don't remember ever taking in a packed lunch, perhaps I did and my memory fails me but I have vivid memories of standing in a queue with classmates, discussing what excitement awaited us behind the deep fried aroma of cooking fat. These days however, things seem to be slightly different in so far as the choice being rather more sophisticated than it was in the 80's. Ciabatta bread, wrap and panninni's feature high on the menu, together with side salads and a variety of vegetables, not to mention the different puddings on offer like chocolate cakes and apple pies, fresh fruit cocktail and flavoured whips. And all served with juice, should that be your preference over water. At £2.05 a day, for a two course meal with drink, I think that's quite reasonable. If you eat it all and get your money's worth of course....

But typically, after three weeks of school dinners and choice, it has come to light that my faddy-filly has been leaving more than she ate, unless the food in front of her was a pudding of some sort. And so it's back to packed lunches. She tried her best but I guess it's the way I butter the bread. But I was quite enjoying the freedom of not having to think about what to put in a packed lunch every day, hoping to give my star pupil a bit of variety. She likes carrot sticks and apples, chocolate mousse and crisps, and if I'm lucky, she'll eat a ham sandwich. I want her to enjoy her lunch, feel full for the afternoon and not lacking in energy so it's important to me that she eats it up. Having just done an online shop at ASDA I had to wrack my brains for variety; my question to Amy of "what would you like in your lunch box for next week?" was replied by, "chocolate, crisps, err, don't really know." Err, great. Another job for me then!

25 comments:

  1. Troy Junior had school lunches (£1.90 here in Suffolk) until they had a bring a parent to lunch day. The meals were excellent but I saw that TJ was only eating about 30% so we changed him over to packed lunches. I would happily go in myself most days for a £1.90 school lunch. Infinitely better than when I was at school.

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  2. I'm so happy that all mine are now in High School where packed lunches would be too, too immature. They do have a wide range of choices and I hope they choose well!

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  3. I see many school dinners thrown into the bin by small children (lunch time job at school) and I always think that it is such a waste and wonder whether parents know that they are throwing the money straight down the drain.
    They tend to be very small portions where I work and some children have asked for seconds and they cannot have any more.

    Packed lunches seem more substantial.

    Nuts in May

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  4. To this day I prefer a packed lunch over buying lunch out. I don't know what crisps are?? Even with microwave ovens and refrigerators available at work, I prefer a sandwich and an apple with milk. It must be left overs from my Parochial school days where there was no choice but to pack a lunch.

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  5. i did right a comment on this but it turned into a essay, feeling stresses as been working all weekend(unpaid ) to do something nice for the kids, that they really wont appreciate, why i bother i dont know but my comment to this that turned into a post is here
    http://twelvemonthsofmayhem.blogspot.com/2009/10/school-meals-pisses-me-off.html

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  6. we just went through this with Logan...he like to pack unless it is pizza day...and i usually go on that day as i still have a thing for school pizza after all these years. but he was eating the snacks and not the real food, so we have had to cut down and only give him real food until he shows us he will eat it. he may still throw some away, but it seems to be working.

    hope you have a great weekend!

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  7. The schools here provide so much choice for the kids that I've never packed lunches. Lucky, I guess. Good luck with yours!

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  8. Bev - thanks for that response, very insightful, giving a different side.

    Thank you for your comments, CJ xx

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  9. I must have been one of the few people that used to like school dinners (circa 1975-1980), apart from when it was liver and bacon or toad in the hole.

    I loved lumpy mashed potato, that violently green overcooked cabbage and the water it came in, pink sponge and matching custard!

    I remember being really disappointed when my mum decided to give me packed lunches. Suddenly it was all fish paste sandwiches, a packet of salt and vinegar squares and a creme fraiche yoghurt thing.

    I used to swap with my friends and give them my little box of goodies, and wolf down their cold cauliflower cheese!

    How times change!

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  10. I usually ate @ school for the first 8 years. Then we could leave and go to the local hamburger joint, NOT a good idea. But my parents religious beliefs didn't let them eat pork. OK their public beliefs, if my mom wasn't around and nobody could see my dad would eat anything. We had to eat two things on the plate to have recess or get up from the lunch table, no exceptions. One day we had beans, sauerkraut, and pork hot dogs. I sat there for an hour. I didn't like sauerkraut (read could not force it down my throat) and couldn't eat the pork.
    Hopefully with you packing her lunch Amy will eat 1/2 way sensibly?

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  11. Wow! An elementary aged student can purchase lunches at school. What luxury! That is unheard of here in Ontario. When I was a child I went to a one room school. In my red tin lunch pail my mother put a tongue sandwich, two burnt cookies held together with jam and an apple. Every day was the same. I vividly remember the texture of those tongue sandwiches. So gross!

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  12. I loved my lunchbox when I was a kid, I hated school food!

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  13. I went to private school that had no cafeteria, so everyone brown bagged it. I went through phases: peanut butter, ham & cheese, bologna...But we did also have special "hot lunch" days where you could get a particular hot meal like a meatball sandwich, slices of pizza, or a helping of baked ziti for a few dollars.

    Ah, school memories. Thanks, CJ!

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  14. I have so much trouble with school lunches, and with three kids I have to make sure they get a variety, but I like them to have something healthy and something like a treat...often the fruit comes home so I am looking into that!!! I also always pack way too much!!

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  15. I used to get free school dinners and had one of those "I'm a poor kid" vouchers. Hated it, but loved the actual food.

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  16. Our school dinners were pretty dire - I can still smell the pea soup 45 years on!

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  17. I'm sure a friend of mine bought a 'cook book' that was packed full of ideas specifically for packed lunches. I'll e-mail and ask her.

    C x

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  18. I live in Menorca, Spain and my son finishes school at 1.30pm. He has the option to stay at school for his lunch and some play time. He usually stays twice a week. They get a typical spanish meal, 3 courses then play. He's not too keen on the food but he's trying a great selection of food he just wouldn't get at home. The schoolrule is the same as mine. Try everything. Once you've tried it you can decide if you want to eat it or not. But they have none of this I don't like it, I'm not eating it without trying some talk.
    It's a real social thing for him too and he gets to take a toy. Oh the things he'll do to take a power ranger to school.

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  19. Wendy - I really like that idea! Taking a toy to school could be an excellent bribe!!

    Mind you, I have to say that Amy has tried most things on the menu. I do believe it's very good food, it's just not to Amy's taste.

    Thank you for your comments, CJ xx

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  20. I also had a heck of a time trying to figure out what my kids wanted in their packed lunches and even if I did, chances were they didn't eat half of it. I also tried school lunches, but the kids didn't always like them. I don't know how they survived a day in school, because they always came home very hungry. Milk and cookies weren't good enough, they had to have more food than that. Chances are that they gave their food away, or worse, threw it in the trash.

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  21. wow, the lunches they offer sound great! as for lunchboxes, i think you are quite on the top of my list of pet hates...

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  22. The school lunches over here are Awful!!! Pure Junk! I don't understand why Mothers aren't at the school getting things changed!!hughugs

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  23. I'm so glad those days are over for me. I know how much food was wasted back then. Now my younger one is working for a year before he starts a year long course. He's doing a lot of heavy lifting and is starving by lunch hour. I can't seem to pack enough lunch for him even though the package I give him would also qualify as heavy lifting. They do tend to be fickle when young.. and very wasteful.. sigh.

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  24. I don't blame Amy. There was a choice at my school, but still, I always preferred packed lunches. It's a habit I don't seem to be able to shake off. Even when working in the city, I preferred to nip out, sit on a bench outside and eat my packed lunch, rather than eating in the canteen. Bless her! :-)

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