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Jamie Oliver last night


Val_2

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Saw this was on and couldn't resist a little watch, however after half and hour I was so disgusted I went to bed. HOW has it come to this when all those kids ate was 100% pure rubbish,are found to be constipated more and more by the medical sector due to so much refined junk food and their parents do nothing about it except encourage them to eat it. I can't even get over the fact that they didn't know what a leek,stick of rhubarb or an onion was either.I still can't understand why people spend a fortune on rubbish food when fresh veggies and meat cost a lot less. Did anyone else see this too?
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Yes, I watched this with some interest. There are two things going on, it seems. One is the retreat from anything but processed food - did you hear the kid say "I don't like food"? Meaning 'real' food, presumably. So many families now eat only processed ready meals - did you hear the parents who didn't know how to cook simple things? And the kids whose dinner the night before had been chips and gravy? You can feed them cheaper if you go to Iceland, though, Val. You have to cry when a kid thinks that a leek is a kiwi fruit, though.

The other is the terrible decision made under Mrs T to remove nutritional standards and force schools (they didn't have ANY choice) to put their school meals service out to tender and then take the lowest bid. At our school the dinner ladies tried to bid but as they wanted to keep on with 'proper' cooking they didn't stand a chance. The company that got the contract was eventually thrown out (after 2 years of complete rubbish) but the replacement was almost as bad.

The good news is that there is the beginnings of a campaign by MPs to do something about it:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4311027.stm

The bad news is that it is too close to the general election for anything effective to be done.

And what about the boy whose behaviour and concentration improved dramatically when his mother started cooking real food?

I saw an article comparing UK and French school food (can't remember where) which made all of the same points.

Edit - Jamie Oliver has his own wesite about this at
http://www.feedmebetter.com/

and the article is at
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4298245.stm
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“terrible decision made under Mrs T to remove nutritional standards and force schools (they didn't have ANY choice) to put their school meals service out to tender and then take the lowest bid.”

I too remember this well. Sadly, it coincided ( in our school at least) with the the removal of Home Economics from the curriculum unless it was studied as a vocational course.

I hope Jamie has talked to the school cook in Nottinghamshire who, after the ban on beef was lifted, wanted to be sure that what she offerred to the children was of good quality. She made a deal with a local producer of organic beef which was such a success that she went on to similar deals with locally grown vegetables. Nothing the children eat comes from more than 50 miles away from the school which is now providing meals for OAPs and sandwiches for a local business. It can be done, but we have had something like twenty years now of our children eating rubbish.

Perhaps we could then start on the removal of vending machines from schools.

Hoddy

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Makes me wonder if resolving the food issue would resolve other issues too. I was amazed by the child who became calmer when eating real food and his almost immediate reaction when re-introduced to processed food.

When my children were at school I calmly informed the education authorities that I'd be asking for the school to be shut down on health and safety grounds as water was not freely available for the children. The drinking fountains were broken and the school dinner providers only sold fizzy drinks. It was quite amazing how quickly jugs of water were available and within three days money was sourced for new fountains. Work started on these within the month.

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The water supply problem used to be more common than you would believe - but now there seems to be a general acceptance that kids work better when not actually dehydrated, and so water coolers are very widespread.

There was a research project a couple of years ago (I think in Co Durham) which seemed to show that 'proper' food in the right quantities at the right times made a huge difference to kids' behaviour and performance. I'll try to dig up the details.
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I thought that the MD of current service provider seemed to think that "customer choice" was more important than feeding children properly, that really sums up the commercialisation of school meals, profit first quality second.  The Government must ensure that minimum dietary requirements are met, and stop selling the rubbish.

Regards

Simon

 

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You're absolutely right - did the MD ever consider that schools are places where children (sorry, 'consumers') are educated? But all the government can do is set the nutritional standards (now some signs that they will tighten these up again) - the provision of the meals is down to the local education authority.

The Co Durham research site is at

http://www.durhamtrial.org/

but they don't seem to have published their findings yet, except in a BBC documentary.
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It`s not just kids that are ignorant of varieties of fruit and veg. I used to train staff on the checkout and it amazed me how many mature ladies (and gents) didn`t know what a sweed ,grapefruit or green bean was.

I have a friend and her 6 year old son who came to stay with us ,sat on our terrace having breakfast(cheerios....he brought them with him) he asked why were were growing apples in a tub......they were peppers!  as the week went on I lost patience with this child as he refused to eat any of our cooked meals(pork chops, lamb with rice ,carrots Oh I could go on) asking instead for cheese triangles on bread or marmite on toast(ok not all bad but ...) His saving grace was that he enjoyed the burgers we have here ,which are 100% beef and would eat cucumber. But on his last night here Mr O made his usual wonderful pasta sauce(all kids like pasta ..don`t they?  he refused a bowlful and opted for bread and butter!   When his mother had nearly polished off her bowlful ,declaring how wonderful it was and asking if there was any more ,he asked for a taste and said rather bashfully that it was nice ,could he have some. No it had all gone!!!   His mother admitted that his poor eating habits were down to her as they don`t sit to table and she buys finger food!

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Mrs.O - we had a family staying with us like that. First the experience of actually sitting at a table to eat had to be explained. Then mum would ask the child, do you like this? And the answer was usually no. Eventually the child condescended to eat a little chicken or smoked salmon. How we managed to keep shtum I don't know. Of course this child has bowel problems at age 6. They brought her own packet of cereals for breakfast and the parents ate nothing! I also think that behavioural problems in children are connected to diet, not just because of the rubbish ingested, but the actual deprivation and starvation from lack of nourishing food and dehydration from lack of fresh water. But the fast food industry is big business, and who can take them on? Pat.
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I can't subscribe to the choice angle in schools either, I don't give my son much option over what he eats, because as a parent I am in charge of his wellbeing.  If you say to any child fishfingers and tomato ketchup or chicken and salad guess which they will choose.  kids may be consumers, but they should not be treated as customers in the same way as adults are.  Whatever happened to loco-parentis?

Regards

S

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What I would like to know is why school meals have to be a choice of more than one dish. I was eating school dinners upto the mid-70s and there was just one meal and one pud plus jug of water or milkshake once a week for a treat and everyone either ate the food or went without.The same at home, eat or go without and food sense was instilled into all the kids of probably upto the 1990's by their parents who learned as I did. Surely if there was no choices then the kids would eat the food and healthy nutritious food has to be cheaper to buy than all that processed rubbish,surely? I can't get over that kid either with three chocolate bars and a bag of crisps for a packed lunch -must have cost a fortune whereas a real cheese sandwich would have been better and cheaper.
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What I would like to know is why school meals have to be a choice of more than one dish?

Isn't it all part of the tyranny of Choice and Rights. As is often shown in the discussions in the UK education area of this forum, adults don't know best and children are allowed to develop rather than being told what to do. So they must be given freedom to choose what they want to eat, and following yesterdays ruling they will no doubt have the choice what to wear.

It is clear from comments made about the restrictive French system that many parents have bought into this doctrine. Friends of ours "prepare" four different evening meals for each of their children to allow for individual tastes. Incidentally I won't say they "cook" four different meals , and I think thats where the trash food comes in.

Oh and returning to choice, if schools don't provide choice, then the majority of kids will just wander in to the town centre and buy their bag of chips from the local chippie. Long gone the days of detention for leaving school during the day.I did  read that he government are considering giving schools the right to require pupils , sorry customers, to stay on school premises at lunchtime. I expect that it will be ruled out on the grounds of Human Rights.

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"Oh and returning to choice, if schools don't provide choice, then the majority of kids will just wander in to the town centre and buy their bag of chips from the local chippie."

This isn't universal - I know at leastone comprehensive school where parents have to write to say why their children need to leave the premises at lunchtime and where they will be. Not that the food they get is better than the local chippie !

Hoddy
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I don't know where the choice thing came from, but kids will vote with their feet nowadays - which causes all sorts of hassle for the school, especially when parents support them in breaking rules about not leaving the premises. You have to have a 'vegetarian option' in the UK these days, and sometimes an option for Jews/Muslims if the main meal is pork, so that can be 3, and then there is the culture whereby you have 'main meals' (ie those 3 dishes) and then 'snacks' (hot dogs, chips etc.). It ends up being very elaborate and a waste of effort.

There is also a differential effect, some families (often better-off ones) have different expectations, and those are the kids who take the salads, fruit etc., though this was changing somewhat.

Once, as an experiment, we bought nice (plastic) tablecloths etc and tried to make the dining area a pleasanter place to be for the kids. The mid-day supervisors refused to have anything to do with that, and steadfastly refused to clear any tables with cloths on, and as the dining area doubled as the main entrance foyer it was a wreck.

Also distressing are the numbers of kids who eat with their fingers - not just finger food, I've seen kids eat baked beans with their fingers - and those who wander around eating, dropping food and litter as they go, which we don't see on the J Oliver programme. The standards of some kids are pretty disgusting, and they are learned, of course.

Back in my day we all sat at a long table (8 at a time) with a teacher or prefect and one person was sent to get the food (no choice) and it was dished up and eaten in a civilised way. I don't see what was wrong with that.
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At the otherwise excellent primary school my daughter attended in the UK before we moved to France, everyone got all excited when they could at last offer hot meals twice a week, brought in by an outside caterer (the school has no kitchen so children previously have to bring packed lunches). But I said no way when I saw what was on offer: Turkey burger or veggie burger, followed by chocolate crispy cake, to quote a typical menu. All served appetisingly in a McDonald's style polystyrene box to be eaten with fingers.

Of course at their new school in France, things couldn't be more different and they eat some fantastic food- no choice, no complaints.

I went out of my way when they were very little to ensure they had a varied and fresh diet and now my girls are good eaters (and not overweight!). I never buy "children's food" because beyond the baby stage there should be no such thing. Feeding my daughter's friends when they came for tea was a nightmare because they are so used to processed pap that they don't know what to do with a home-cooked casserole. And we have French friends whose children are as bad with food as some British ones, incidentally.

Hooray for Jamie!

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My daughter-in-law gets praised for her well behaved 2.5 year old. How does she keep her under control, why does she not scream and shout, how come she swims so beautifully and does not make a general fuss etc etc. As far as she is concerned, she was lucky enough to be able to breast feed for 9 months and then made all her own babyfood from their meals - which are nutritious, good and freshly prepared - and she HATES cooking. The difference between my elder granddaughter and her friends is frightening and Emma has not developed a sweet tooth either.

It all starts early. When do you ever see a TV program where a woman is breast feeding (well apart from a request for 'Bitty' :w00t and why is every baby shown with a bottle in its mouth? Cows milk was not developed by nature for humans and should only be used when a woman cannot feed a child herself. Jars of babyfood full of 'natural sugars' are a hoot - what is unnatural sugar - cane sugar?????

Ah well, perhaps it will all change - but then again, I wonder just how many health problems the UK will incur due to the short sighted 'money saving' ideas of both leading political parties. Add to that the 'superbug' problem in hospitals caused by the same mean streak and I despair.

 

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Di - don't get me started on sugars. I am diabetic and I used to eat a lot of Muller Lite yoghurts - they are low fat and WERE sugar free - then completely unannounced they put sugar in them - to the extent of 13g per 100g, which you can think of as 13 sugar cubes in single yoghurt. That is terrible for anybody if they eat a lot of them! I find it very difficult in France as the food labelling is much laxer than in the UK (where I read that there is a 20% error rate anyway). Kellogs have announced that the sugar content of Frosties is to be reduced (yes, reduced) to 25% by weight. They claim that this is less than a banana, but of course the banana is unprocessed and it is based on a small (30g) portion of cereal.
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I don't think anyone can claim that diet is responsible for all badly-behaved children, or that a good diet alone turns children into angels, but I'm sure that good diet and good parenting often go together.

I totally agree re breastfeeding. I fed mine for 12 and 14 months respectively, much to the shock of my French in-laws, who don't know the first thing about breastfeeding and did all they could to discourage me! One friend even breastfed her own daughter after seeing me do it, realising how easy it was and noticing with amazement that you don't have to remove all (or any!) clothing. So few babies are breastfed here that I sometimes feel I'm on a one-woman crusade to promote it. Few of my female French friends have mothers who breastfed (unlike me), so have no family source of advice or encouragement. Such a shame. I' m sure it sets babies up for better health, if they continue to be fed good food of course!

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I also breastfed my 2 for 11 months each (even through a nasty bite after teeth appeared!!!).

I bought the March edition of Sante magazine yesterday (French). Surprising there is an extensive article in it about Cantines Scolaires, the headline being "Nos enfants sont mal nourris - il faut que ca change" (excuse lack of accents).

Haven't had chance to read the article yet, except that they say that €1.50 would be the minimum to produce a healthy meal, but it is estimated that around €0.80 is spent on average. They chart some example meals (no choice: hors d'oeuvre/plat principal/garniture/fromage/desert!!) and state that some are too high in fat/sugar or lacking fibres.

Personally, I am very happy with the menu that my children bring home at the start of each month, it is varied and seems healthy (they even indicate whether the food is frozen, fresh or preserved). There are items on the menu that you wouldn't even see in a restaurant in England let alone a school cantine. For a monthly 'forfait' of around €30, is good value too.
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Hoddy mentioned Domestic Science lessons - I can't help thinking that all those questions I had to answer like 'write a menu for a group of Boy Scouts after a hike' or 'think of an appetising lunch for your elderly aunt and toddler' and give reasons for your choice, had a purpose.

Todays young mums seem to know little of nutrition and cooking has become a 'hobby' or a spectator activity.

At school I had to take stewing steak or mince and would cook a main dish which I would then take home (on my bike, for goodness sake )to be reheated for the family dinner.(in the 60s) By the time my dauhter got to school,(early 90s) meat dishes were not prepared as it was felt some families could not afford it.

Surely to improve the nations health in the long term we have to go back to basic cookery and nutrition ?
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Gay - when I first started teaching (AD1973) the school actually had full-scale flats in it. All 5th year girls (sexist? Nous?) had to spend a week looking after themselves (cooking, cleaning, shopping etc) and they had to invite people for lunch, and as their tutor I was invited. The practice died out pretty soon after, but the girls loved it. I think it was the thought of extending the practice to the boys that led to the change...

It did mean that some people eventually got very well-equipped offices!
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Hmmm- my good old Sec Mod, (now a comp) was opened in 1963, I was in the first in-take. We had two DS rooms for cookery with a range of electric (solid hotplates and radiant rings)and gas cookers to get experience of, and one room had a little dining room all done out with new Ercol furniture, table, chair, sideboard, trolley etc. This was to help us learn 'presentation'........in practise it was where the DS teachers (all 3 of them) enjoyed their tea & coffee and entertained the other 'technical block' teachers.

We also had a sewing room very well equipped with a selection of sewing machines, straight stitch and that new fangled thing called 'zigzag' ! I don't sew now, but I could....and I have in the past.

Just before we left we gave a staff party, cheese with pineapple was considered rather 'nouveau' then (Luckily my party food repertoire has improved !)
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I went to the local Secondary Modern school at the very end of the 60's and it was wonderful. We too, had a flat for domestic purposes and three fully equiped domestic science rooms which were full every day as it was compulsory to do cookery then,even a few boys came over from the boy's school to take it up as well. I used to walk 3 miles home up a 1.6 hill many times with gravy dishes slopping about in my wickerwork basket which was then re-heated for our tea. I have a local breton friend here who used to teach cookery in the local collège until it was dropped from the curiculum in the 80's. There is definately something good in learning the basics of cookery along with the theory as to why and it should be re-instated as it does not cost the earth to do anyway.
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Well, I must be doing something right! Last week, my two daughters (aged 10 and 11), took over all the cooking/shopping/menu planning for a week and thoroughly enjoyed themselves...the menu was a secret until it hit the table and I didn't get a choice. Nor did I complain once, not even about the state of the kitchen. Eldest daughter arrived for lunch on Sunday (and she's a good cook) and enquired which bits they'd made:

Quiche/Prawn Coctail

Roast lamb with sliced potatoes, redcurrant gravy, yorkshire pudding and broccoli

Cheese

Crème Caramel/Rice Pudding

I had to admit they'd bought the cheese...

Apart from that, I had a lovely Sunday morning drinking coffee and footling about on the Internet!
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I left school in the late 70s . Talking about domestic science lessons has brought back memories with a smile . I too had a long walk home from school,trying to keep my chocolate eclairs presentable whilst carrying a shoulder bag.

I went to a secondary and we had a fantastic kitchen area where we too had a chance to prepare a meal for our `favorite` teacher!  The boys also had to do a spell in the kitchen ,but could opt out to do woodwork and metalwork(girls were also given this oportunity ) and I made a key ring and a coat hanger for my efforts. We also had a sewing room where we had to make a dirndle(sp) skirt, cant remember if we had boys in this lesson.

But back to the DS, It is realy more like lifeskills isn`t it when you think about it,learn what is good for you,which foods provide what for your body and food hygene ie which meat can be eaten undercooked and which cannot.

Am I right in thinking that Domestic Science is not part of the school curiculum in the UK now? and is it taught in college in France? Mrs O

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