I have been following with interest a story that has been in the news this week about school lunches, from next September all children in the first three years of school are to be given a free school lunch. This proposal follows a report commissioned by the government looking into getting children to eat well in school and to get them excited by food so that they want to eat it. The reports authors spent a year on their research visiting schools, eating in them and talking to a wide sample of people. I have read most of this report out of interest despite not having a child in the education system. I agree with parts of the report particularly on pages 35 & 6 when they consider the decline in cooking in households in this country something I have written about in the past. It was page 47 & 8 on the subject of packed lunches that made me both laugh and cry, they offer a suggested list of contents all to be made from scratch which would apparently be a Herculean task for a parent in full time work. As I am not in paid full time work I expect I am not qualified to comment, but as I am in unpaid full time mothering I had a wry smile at the list.
My husband is not a fan of sandwiches, he loathes them. His return to work means that as he walks out the door at 8am five days a week he needs to have in his hand a lunch, a packed lunch no less, no sandwiches. I have been planning our lunches for a while now but most of what I make would not work that well in a lunch box even with reheating facilities at work. So now I find myself on most of those five days providing a second lunch for him and, as I am not willing to get up at 7am to make it, I have been preparing it the night before. The first week this was a nightmare as I kept forgetting about it and felt like I was cooking for hours as I ended up making it after we had eaten. This week I am better prepared and make it up as I cook our evening meal. So to keep it simple at the moment the menu is:
- Rice Salad
- Couscous Salad
- Pasta Salad
I know, I know I have sneaked sandwiches into the list! I couldn't come up with anything else and I wanted at least one relatively easy night. I made a batch of pasties last week and stuck them in the freezer along with several loaves of bread to make things slightly quicker. The salads have had a variety of ingredients in them including, not all at once, peppers, cucumbers, chickpeas, fresh herbs, peas, courgette and tomatoes. It will be interesting to see what he does if the children and I go away!