Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Suffer The Children

Gawd blimey, Jamie Oliver, you've right gorn and done it now, ain't ya, and no mistake.

Regulations put hot school meals at risk

The future of school meals is in jeopardy because only half of secondary schools are on course to comply with stringent government standards, catering leaders will say today.

This could bring about the demise of hot meals in secondary schools, as caterers struggle to cope with the expensive and time-consuming restrictions. From September they will have to buy costly computer equipment to calculate the nutritional content of every meal. Each dish must meet 14 standards, including calorie content, fat, proteins and vitamins.

Caterers say that the obsession with raising the quality of school food, begun by the TV chef Jamie Oliver, has been taken too far by ministers.

Too fucking right it has!

An example of dish that would meet the nutrition requirements is a chicken and vegetable stir fry with brown rice and green cabbage. A typical portion would contain 411 calories, 6.3g fat and 20.6g protein. Burgers with chips and baked beans will disappear.

Listen sunshine, you may well be able to rustle up a nice healthy meal in minutes using only the freshest ingredients for your kids, but I don't reckon a mass-catering organisation is going to be capable of doing the same under such restrictive circumstances. We're not talking Agas and rustic copper pans here. I don't think Mrs Ramsbottom on minimum wage is going to be doing a book signing of her best kiddie recipes very soon, do you?

It's not entirely the fault of the irritating mockney twat, just another example of a good initiative taken to ridiculous extreme by public sector morons who, let's face it, don't seem to have anything better to do than believe healthist propaganda and follow it to the logical dead end. In this case, it is doubly perfect for them as some cheeky celebrity chappie they saw in Heat magazine says it's the right thing to do.

Except he didn't. He advised getting rid of the shit in school meals (too right) and providing a balanced diet. Balanced does NOT mean eradicating every food that kids tend to want to eat.

[Neil Porter, chairman of Laca, said] “We have to meet 14 nutrient standards and will have most problems with zinc and iron. Liver and spinach are the best sources but these aren’t the most popular items in school. We would be providing something that they shun, in order to tick a box.”

I love liver now I'm a 40 something, but I didn't start eating it again until I was in my 30s after poor quality examples were rammed down my throat at school, same with spinach and those stews that had meat which contained the fatty white tubes {shiver}. The competitive tendering required from school providers is so cut-throat, having to deliver wholesome meals at a tiny price, that you can dictate the ingredients, but the quality is never going to be anything like that served up to jovial Jamie's little darlins', Poppy Honey & Daisy Boo (I didn't make those names up), especially since school meal providers are quite simply not allowed by Elfin Safety to buy ingredients from the local farmers market like Jamie (the cheeky scamp) does.

Again, as we have come to expect from the health Gestapo, this is idealistic nonsense and will only serve to push kids into an equal and opposite reaction. Oh yeah, and the food will be more expensive as the overheads for the providers are pushed ever skywards.

The result, quite obviously, is going to be a mass desertion of school food in favour of packed lunches. Teens, who can exit school, will simply pop down to the local chippy. Way to go, you hectoring goons, you've just placed an unsustainable burden on school meals providers, thereby costing jobs, whilst simultaneously decreasing uptake of the 'health options' which you have arbitrarily decided should involve no option whatsoever.

So who devised these barmy rules that disagree with a modicum of 'treat' food for kids once in a while? Why, it's a fake charity called the Food School Trust, of course. Quelle surprise!

A spokeswoman for the School Food Trust, which devised the nutrient standards, said: “They are challenging but there is a very valid reason for them. It is important that they are in place to ensure we promote the health, wellbeing and achievements of children. The School Food Trust has worked with caterers from a number of different school settings. All have proved that through hard work and engagement with students they have been able to produce a compliant, appealing, tasty and varied menu.”

Firstly, if the SFT has worked with caterers so closely, why the fuck are the caterers pretty hacked off with this nonsense? Could it be that the SFT aren't listening? Perhaps, seeing as their entire being is exhibited on their web-site.

The School Food Trust was established by the Department for Education and Skills in September 2005.

It won't surprise you to learn that this 'charity' receives nil voluntary donations, yet receives turnover of nearly £9m per annum which helps fund 6 employees earning a salary of £60k or more.

Secondly, why the fucking hell is a school a place to promote health? I may be a bit of a maverick, but I always thought schools were a place for teaching kids to read, write, add up and learn stuff that parents can't teach, but that life choices and skills were up to parents to instil.

Yet more from the single-minded fucktards at the SFT. One of their stated aims (page 5) is to ...

Increase the take-up of school meals.

A laudable goal, no doubt, but hardly in keeping with removing choice from the menu, and pushing up costs for providers (and therefore end-user price) by way of unrealistic adherence to a misguided ideal. They might as well have just advertised McDonalds.

You know what would be really 'pukka' Jamie, me ole china? How about stopping these geezers in their tracks and telling them that their over-arching idealism is not what you advocated, that kids aren't lab rats, that parents should have a say in what their kids are served at school, and that your well-meaning campaign has been hijacked and is going a bit Pete Tong?

Then, once you've done that, you can sell another book on the subject, as you usually do.


Curmudgeon said...

A superb demolition - how we make kids eat less healthy meals under the guise of "health".

Anonymous said...

Does DK's fakecharities page know about the Food Trust thing? The more we can shame them the better.

Anonymous said...

Whenever my parents gave my liver and bacon I'd push it around the plate for so long that they'd get bored watching me and simply leave the dining room, having issued the instruction that I couldn't leave myself until my plate was empty.

Fortunately we had a lot of potted plants in the room so I could safely bury the liver when they were out of sight..

I can envisage pupils petitioning en masse to have their dining halls turned into greenhouses..

Pat Nurse MA said...

I got the message when one of my kids ate her liver and bacon and then threw it up back on the plate.

Anonymous said...

They will find that there will be no kids taking school meals and all of them will either be having packed lunch or going to the 'chippy'
What then ? Will school meals be compulsory and the kids be forced to eat them ? We will then have a nation of bulimics.

banned said...

"I love liver now I'm a 40 something, but I didn't start eating it again until I was in my 30s after poor quality examples were rammed down my throat at school"
That would be the grey School Dinner Liver with chewey fucking BLOOD VESSELS that I remember.

Our preferred School lunchtime option was to go to the local bread baker for " half a loaf " ( fresh crusty bread ) with the pal of choice; tough titty for the unfashionable one. If flush, the half a loaf could be supplimented with Jam or Marmite though the usual practise was to carve out the fleshy dough within the bread and chuck it at whoever seemed worthy at the time.

BTS said...

I used a similar tactic to Pat's little girl to avoid eating lasagne except that I was surrepticiously feeding it to the cat. When it was sick I happily pointed out that I was entirely justified in not wanting to eat it.

The moral of this story: Garfield is not a real cat..

Anonymous said...

"The result, quite obviously, is going to be a mass desertion of school food in favour of packed lunches. Teens, who can exit school, will simply pop down to the local chippy."

Easily solved:
1 Have the staff frisk the lunchboxes for "danbgerous" items and
2 Stop the children leaving schoool at lunchtime. (Health and Safety, in loco parentis etc.)

Both have been used recently to make sure children really do have an enjoyable, healthy lunch. And they have several people paid at £60k pa to devise this ...?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, beware careless spelling dandgerous = dangerous

Curmudgeon said...

And so schoolkids look at their compulsory plate of vile Jamie Oliver filth, decide it is inedible and either throw it away or throw it over the "dinner ladies" - sorry, politically incorrect term, "school meal operatives" or whatever.

The result being kids left unfed between breakfast and teatime. What a result!

Steve Brown said...

I was in a boys-only boarding school for a couple of years, 1965-66. Our Cook (always with an upper-case 'C') fed us well. She was a most imposing Mancunian lady who believed firmly in feeding us well.
Breakfast was porridge or cereal with golden syrup or sugar as the case may be, followed by scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage or just on fried bread. Lunch was a single-plate meal, almost always meat (cold, hot, stewed, fried) with potatoes, a green veg and lashings of gravy.
Dinner always started with a soup that was thick enough to stand a fork up in, the the main meal was meat (stewed, fried or roasted), potatoes (mashed, roasted, chipped or boiled) with more greens.
We wolfed everything down! Each table of twelve boys was limited to two loaves of bread per meal, each door-stop was lathered in butter.
And we all lost weight whilst at boarding school! Why? Because we were so bloody active, sports, gym or just walking about. We were never still in our free time.