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Wednesday 30 March 2005

School dinners - why? [Lurks]

Jamie Oliver pulled on his do-gooer mockney slippers once again and this time hatched a show to demonstrate how poor school dinners are. I never saw the show but given that the budget for these children's meals was thirty seven pence, it's not difficult to see why it largely consisted of a slice of bread and two spoonfulls of beans.
It would appear that his campaign/publicity stunt (depending how you view it) succeeded in getting £280M extra pledged to raise the quality of kid's meals at school. All cracking stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.
I don't though. Why? Well, when I went to school you brought a packed lunch. Mine was a sandwich, box of raisins and mini carton of ribena. Sometimes I swapped my stuff with the other kids. I note also that the packed lunch concept is also prevalent on the continent as well, so why is it exactly that we need to be spending money to poorly feed our school children at all?
Why the fuck can't parents take responsibility and do it?
Near me, the local primary schools are all packed out and you've got no chance of getting your kids into them and yet significant space is given over to the 'school dinner' rooms and kitchens etc. Shouldn't this space be classrooms instead?
I'm baffled by it all quite frankly.


  1. If you look at the BBCs report on worldwide school dinners, packed lunches are preferred in some countries, but certainly not all. The problem in countries that rely on packed lunches, is that some parents are either so shit that they give their kids toss food, or they just don't bother at all. School dinners here also provide for poorer households by ensuring the kids get at least one good meal a day, often for free.
    I think it's worthwhile that we get our population eating healthy as early as possible, and school dinners are a good place to start. If it makes us all happier and healthier and less of a burdon to the NHS later in life, then great. I don't think the problems isolated to school dinners though, parents need to sort their kids before they get to school.

  2. Well, since their 'report' consists of looking at four countries, I don't think it's particularly comprehensive. It's interesting to see what the French do though - they pay a fortune on school dinners.
    If its one thing a Frenchman will tell you about the English it is that we have apalling food in general and perhaps that is a direct result of low-expectations from the outset?
    I do admit I hadn't given the one-square-meal-a-day issue much thought. There's obviously some milage in this for the poorer households but there's just no way a 37p meal counts as adequately serving this goal.
    I suppose we ought to be grateful in some sense; reading about the situation in the US where the kids revolt if they try to cut down on fried chips, made for pretty grim reading. No wonder they're all such obese bastards.

  3. That's it for me, just look at the problems the usa has with adult health and look back to see where it begins. We actually notice a difference in our kids, they do eat healthier after they start school because our schools here have healthy meals and food education. 37p though? No wonder its shit.

  4. They showed it here yesterday. Thing with it was that they served hotdogs and burgers. Of course he tried to make some fine cousine shit with arty presentation. Needless to say most of the kids stayed with their junkfood :)
    Over here we got proper food in school, or rather had proper food. Now its all pizzas and burgers. They had to do it (to make sure it´s relatively decent nutrition etc in it) since kids went to pizzerias and bought crap by themselfs. Ah, i remember when i was in school, we had to eat horrible stuff that was good for you but tasted like carpet. And not the good lesbian one.

  5. Oliver could really have done with talking to some parents who's kids didn't eat shit for recipie ideas. There's stuff we give ours that doesn't look like heathy food that they'll eat. Stealth healthy type stuff.

  6. That's what they're saying happens in the US. Soon as the kids are old enough, they're down McDonalds.

  7. My problem with packed lunches was highlighted on the show, that if parents don't give a toss what their kids eat/fail to grasp basic nutrition concepts, then they will get a packed lunch of shite... cos their kids "won't eat anything else". So you get kids with, at best, a carton of dairylea lunchables, which is some godawful ubersalted/sugared processed cheese dip, slices of reformed zero meat content 'ham' and some highly salted bread sticks. Fill it out with a bag of crisps and a can of pop and bob's yer human timebomb.
    The standard of school meals radically shifted when I was at primary school, we went from a mixed-age designated-seating table system with traditional food to a free choice for all with lots of chips and you sit with your mates sytem. In the original system an older pupil was table head, responsible for plating up and seeing the younger pupils managed/ate up. Then in my last year at Primary (aged 11) they switched to your classic queue up with plastic trays and get your chips with everything sort of meal. Even then we knew it was crap quality with the word soy/soya protein bandied around but we didn't really know what that meant.

  8. Not sure I buy this. If it takes some fat-tongued mockney twat to come along to point out how shit school dinners are then clearly parents didn't give that much of a shit as it was. At least if they were making the food for them every morning they might take a little bit more interest in it.

  9. The parents are already fucked up see? They already eat pizza and chips every night and white bread processed shit sarnies plus crisps for their dinner. Schools the oppertunity to break the cycle and teach decent nutrition. The parents dont give a shit because they haven't a clue themselves.

  10. I remember the good old days when you used to get half a pint of milk to drink at primary school at break....and the mass-produced sponge pudding was top! the only other feature of highlight was that brussel sprouts was always on the menu ;)
    Although my folks weren't poor, when my dad raised me on his own I only really had 2 solid meals a day and was wafer thin. If I didn't have school lunch, i wouldn't be 6'2" ;(

  11. I'd love to know what makes the crap food so attractive to very young children. A toddler will want a chicken nugget over chicken breast.
    How? It's not exactly old enough to have been programmed by the advertising moguls. We're by no means perfect with our two, but they get wholemeal bread, olive butter type spread rather than white & full butter.
    Food has never been cheaper or more plentiful, so why do we insist on feeding ourselves and our offspring the absolute cheapest shit possible?
    We bought some silverside a week or so ago for a relly coming round for dinner. Guy says "it's 7 quid mate" like I was going to rip his throat out utterly outraged. It was dirt cheap ffs, fed5 adults that night with enough left over for another meal the next night.
    People do need some education on food, but christ you'd have thought with ALL the cookery shows on they'd learn something. With the nanny state in full flow, are people now used to being told what to do? Without govt guidance they're unable to make an omlete?
    There's no denying its hard making kids eat decent food, but it's got to be worth the attempt.
    All credit to Oliver though, he's done sterling work on this and deserves all sorts of awards and recognition.