Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nude Food

Hurray, the sun is out and the humidity has dropped. Living near the ocean in Sydney means that normally even on the hottest days we have a breeze, so dealing with high humidity and the feeling that one is encased in damp and dripping hot cotton wool is an unusual experience. We rely on ceiling fans to cool the house – and normally feel smugly ‘green’ and akin to characters in a Somerset Maugham tropical story as the blades of the fan creak slowly through the air. I do admit to some nervousness when husband turns the fan over our bed onto full as it rotates with such vigor that I have visions of the next day newspaper headlines referring to the unfortunate decapitation of couple. Over the past week however we abandoned any kind of environmental credentials and resorted to looking longingly at other people’s air conditioners whilst spending an inordinate amount of time hovering around places with efficient aircon such as bank foyers or the local fruit shop.

School dining rooms just don’t exist as a concept in Sydney. Students buy lunch at school canteens or predominantly bring in packed lunches and then sit and eat outside or under verandahs. Despite a heavy investment in cookbooks dealing with 10 top packed lunch treats and ways to make your offspring’s packed lunch the envy of the playground I have to admit to abject failure, not to mention boredom in this area. I think in the past the Drama Queens’ packed lunches have caused a different kind of sensation in the playground. On one notable occasion DQ no.1 pulled out a loaf of bread that I had mistakenly crammed into her lunch box having tenderly placed her packed lunch in the bread bin. DQ no. 3 also came home recently announcing bitterly that when she had shown her friends the contents of her lunch box “they recoiled”. I was very taken by the image of 10 year olds reeling back in horror and it strengthened my resolve that from now on I am going to follow the good example of my much more organized friend, (most of my friends fall into this category) and get the DQs to make their own packed lunch. So far, so good, we are into week 2 of Project Hunter Gatherer and they all seem to be sorting out reasonably nutritious and sensible lunches and best of all I am off the hook on the recoiling front.

Australian schools are fantastic on the healthy eating front with the state school canteens in NSW given very strict guidelines on what they can serve. DQ no.3’s school has just introduced a scheme called ‘Crunch and Sip’ where each child has to bring in “Nude Food”, defined as raw vegetables or fruit, no packets, dips or any add ons – just the nude variety! So far it seems to have been very successful and the students really enjoy stopping for a five minute break mid morning where they eat their fruit or veg, have some water etc. I’ve also found it has had a knock on effect for the rest of the family in that I am buying more interesting fruit/veg and everyone is taking in their own snack pack.

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