Tuesday 4 February 2014

10 million!

Wow, 10 million hits! That's brilliant because that's 10 million thinking about kids and food. I am still working away quietly trying to raise money for Mary's Meals. Together we've raised £131,666.79 so far and I know the total is going to jump because last week I got told that Lidl are donating £7500 as part of the Young Fundraiser award and there's a big lump from my book! Keep an eye on the total to see how much it jumps!

I have been asked to talk at lots of conferences. I find it hard. I always ask my dad to help. Last year I went to Copenhagen to talk at the MAD food conference. It was an amazing experience. It is organised by Renee from Noma and his friends. I learnt loads from the other speakers. Roy Choi spoke about feeding communities in America and I ate food cooked by ladies from a souk in Lebanon cooked by ladies with different religions. When it was my turn to speak every one cheered and my nerves got me.

Martha Payne: "Changing the World, One School Dinner at a Time" from MAD on Vimeo.

I was very glad my dad was there to help. Sorry Renee!

My whole family has also signed up to join the Scottish Food Family!

It's brilliant. It's all about better food lessons in school, improving school meals and being really proud of Scottish food! There's also going to be a Scottish food day. I love growing food. I've got my very own sheep now and she is in lamb! We've loads to be proud of in Scotland. Scottish food isn't just haggis even if it is one of my favourites! You should make a haggis lasagne....it's awesome!

It's great getting 10 million hits. Shows how important food for children is both in Scotland and around the world.


Friday 4 October 2013


October is the month for surprises I think! Last year I was in Malawi at Lirangwe (video) visiting the kitchen we are all supporting with Mary's Meals. This year I was in London helping Mary's Meals when this happened...

You can read all about it in the Mirror newspaper. Jamie is brilliant and I am so glad it was him that surprised me. It was all filmed as well so you will see how surprised I was. ITV came to film at Mary's Meals and at my house but I thought it was for a documentary and I didn't know anything about the Pride of Britain awards.

I have been quietly busy helping Mary's Meals and school dinners all year. There's lots going on. Mary's Meals is feeding more and more children a free school meal every day. I can't wait until we can say we're helping 1 million children a day! In England children will get a free school meal starting next September for their first three years at school. What a difference that will make. I am waiting to hear what will happen in Scotland. I hope it will be just as good and maybe better than England. There is so much you can do in a school with a great school dinner.

I am looking forward to London at the weekend. I think it will be good for Mary's Meals and school dinners. My whole family is coming. I know my family are proud of me but it is amazing that Jamie and the Pride of Britain Awards are as well and that has made me smile. I will tell people about everyone that has supported me and about the children we have helped. If you watch the programme on Tuesday, ITV 8pm, you will see me say thank you and I mean it for everyone that has helped raise so much for Mary's Meals.

Thank you,


Thursday 25 April 2013

Join me

The Sunday Times has a new campaign to improve school food and I love it!

Some school dinners are amazing. It would be great if all dinners were amazing. The campaign wants to make sure all school meals are healthy and tasty so more of us want to eat them. The best thing is the campaign is starting with a competition so anyone between 7 and 18 can send in their review of their school dinner. There's a fantastic prize to go for lunch in London at Bruno Loubet's restaurant in London. If you don't live in London you'll get help to get there and stay. I promise if you win everyone will joke with you about writing a review. It happens everywhere I go still!

So please join me and be a school food reviewer! Send in your reviews to the Sunday Times Campaign website. You don't have to have great food to win the competition just write a great review!

Good luck,


Sunday 24 March 2013

Meeting Madam President Dr Banda of Malawi

On Monday I travelled with my dad to Edinburgh to speak at an event organised by the Scotland Malawi Partnership. Because Presidents are so busy when they visit other countries we weren't sure if Dr Joyce Banda would be able to come to the event. She did and she was wonderful.

M- I started my blog NeverSeconds as a writing project to show people what my school dinners were like. I know how important school lunches are for children in Malawi too. My grandpa is a Mary’s Meals volunteer and we often talked about how a school dinner can bring kids to school and give them the energy to learn.

D- Overnight Martha’s blog became popular and people responded from around the world. Adults remembered their school dinners, children sent in photos of theirs and a debate started about the quality of school food.

M- Someone commented on my blog that ‘I was lucky to have food at all because some children have none’. I decided the best thing was to write about Mary’s Meals and try and raise some money to build a school kitchen in Malawi. When my blog was banned it was terrible but I was very happy that people supported me by making lots of donations.

D- We found ourselves in a media storm. Journalists from around the world wanted to talk to the nine year old girl who had beaten the ban. All Martha wanted to tell them about was the kids in Lirangwe and the kitchen that was going to be built. Martha practises her friendship skills every day in the busy playground at her school and it was only a small jump for her to name the kitchen ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’. When we were invited to visit the kitchen I was worried it was a long way. Martha was worried she’d be too tired to make new friends!

M- I made brilliant friends in Malawi. I spent a day with Ben who is my age. His home is different to mine but we do so many similar things. His family grow food like mine. We both have to do jobs and I think his are harder. I tried to carry water on my head but I kept spilling it. Ben started to spill his because he was laughing at me! We went to his school together and had lessons and played games. Ben shared everything with me and I will remember him always.

D- It was great watching all the kids together. They don’t worry about language or clothes they just care about smiles and fun. Since 2005, more than 200 Scottish schools have established partnerships with Malawi. Each of these educational links is underpinned by mutual respect and understanding, by friendship and solidarity. Each year, hundreds of young Scots and Malawians get the chance to visit their partner school, experiencing a new culture, a different way of life, and cementing the friendship which has existed between our two nations for over 150 years.

M- - The head teacher in Lirangwe School was so like my head teacher. She was really proud of her learners and her school. It made me nervous to paint the ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’ kitchen sign because I know they will all see it every day and I wanted it to be perfect for them. I helped to share out the Likuni Phala. Everything went quiet as all the children ate their lunch and when they finished it became extra noisy just like at my school. The biggest difference is my dinner ladies don’t sing when cooking my school dinner!

D- Our family has made strong bonds with Malawi through our new friends. These are friends we could only make because of the existing bonds between our countries. 85,000 Scots and 148,000 Malawians are linked through partnerships and all our lives are enriched as a result.

M- When I started my blog, I thought my own school food was the most important thing about it. I now know the most important thing is the friends it has brought together and the help we have given each other. I think about my friend Ben often. I think about him and his Mary’s Meal, about him carrying water and about how he wants to be President when he grows up. I don’t want to be First Minster when I grow up but I do want to be Ben’s friend.

Thank you.

I really enjoyed the event despite being nervous. Afterwards I spoke with some senior girls from Leith Academy and I hope I will be doing as much as they are when I am their age. There are lots of people in Scotland thinking of their friends in Malawi. It is good.

Madam President and I had a chance to talk at Edinburgh Castle with Alex Salmond the First Minister of Scotland. He invited me to blog my dinner and I will. It was a very special evening.


Friday 8 March 2013

and finally my favourite

This isn't just my favourite. It's the most important school meal I have ever seen.

It was cooked by a Mary's Meals volunteer at one of their under 6 centres in Blantyre, Malawi. It is nsima, which is made from maize flour, and fish from Lake Malawi. I didn't want to try it because it was for the children but the volunteers were proud and I didn't want to offend them. It was delicious.

Food-o-meter- 10/10
Mouthfuls- I only tried a couple
Course- main
Health Rating- 10/10
Price- I think less than 10p
Pieces of hair- 0

I miss my friends in Malawi and think of them often. It's a special year because it's the 200th anniversary of David Livingstone's birth. He was a Scottish explorer and the friendship he made between Scotland and Malawi is still special today. There are lots of celebrations and if I make it to some I'll tell you all about it!

thank you and I hope you enjoyed International School Meals Day,


Staying in Japan......

This is one of my favourite posts. I love all the different meals and how people dress and prepare them. I even guessed the winner!

Thank you Doni.


Hello everyone. Doni is here.

Thank you very much for deeply-appreciated message.
Arigato gozaimasu. And I'm sorry for my terrible at English. I was a student with poor English. As you might know, my best subject was the lunch time at school.

Our School lunch menu for Thursday;

Rice, Simmered Chicken and Konjak with Miso. Deep Fied Chicken, Boiled Japanese Mustard Spinach, and Milk. The above Mustard Spinach is grown at local.

Food-o-meter- 8/10
Health rating- 8/10
Bites- unknown
Courses- Rice, 3 sides
Price- JPY234yen (Approx. US$2.9 £1.8 )
Pieces of hair- 0

Today another school dietician who is my friend sent me a picture for Martha’s Project.

Cooked Rice Chinese Style, Vermicellifine Noodle Soup (Soup of somen noodles and various ingredients in a soy sauce broth), Meat Ball with White Sesame, Grape Jelly, and Milk.

Our school served a lunch for 188 days a school year. It is hard work to menu which is concerned balance of nutrition, calories, like and dislike of children and more.

School dietician should to raise a child to become a healthy eater. It is big challenge for them. Dieticians are thinking about what children liked, what they didn't like, what kindthey liked and what they didn't mind but would rather not eat.

Yes, Dieticians are checking kitchen waste every day, and they peep in to see what children are doing at lunch time. And so dieticians develop a game plan.

OK. Today, I introduce school lunch contest in Japan. It is called Kyushoku Koshien.

(Opening ceremony of the school lunch contest)

This tournament is designed to encourage local production for local consumption and that through the tournament to compete on behalf of the regional dishes are offered in school meals across the country to educate about healthy eating. This year the seventh contest will be held at Tokyo in December.

I usually cosponsor this contest to sneak into the contest room.

Contestants are 12 school (included central kitchen) representative of 6 region of across Japan. Players are School dietician and cooks in pairs.

(Immediately before the final, Contestants check their own uniform)

Criteria of the contestants are as follows;
-Menu what you have previously provided as school meals before the date of the finals.
-That according to the Ministry of Education Reference Intakes for school meals.
-Local products to be a menu that uses local products, taking advantage of the features that.
-It has been used as a teaching tool, live food education
-Nutrients and amount (in the case of elementary school students and volume for middle grade) that is correct
-It is the menu that nurture children love joy regional
-Cook 6 meals servings within 60 minutes
-Cooking and sanitation management process to follow standards of school meals and health management
-The application form attached a picture of the menu.

I think it is so hard to cook 6 meals within 60 minutes.

But they do that. OK, I show you all lunch menu of final contestants in 2011. I bet you will be surprised with them.

1) Iwate

2) Ibaralki

3) Fukushima

4) Gunma

5) Toyama

6) Wakayama

7) Nagano

8) Kagawa

9) Kochi

10) Kagoshima

11) Okinawa

12) Gifu

Please guess who won.

Ah. These menus are special for contest. Please don't believe menu like the above is served every day.

Bento Boxes- Japan

I am not listing these top ten in any order but I love the look of Japanese food!


Dear VEG and VEG's Dad,

I'm from Tokyo, Japan. Your blogs interested me very much. And I admire your activity for Mary's Meals.

Since about "bento" has become the topic of comments, I would like to present two photo for Veg's blogs readers.
Bento is being used in various situations in Japan from former times. For trip, picnic, of course for school lunch, and also Hanami(cherry blossom viewing), Sumo viewing(Sumo is the traditional Japanese wrestling), and Kabuki theatergoing(Kabuki is a traditional theatrical drama).

One photo is the most traditional old style bento-box which was made of gold lacker in 18th century. This contains four lunch boxes, a equipment box and two bottles for Sake(rice wine).

Another one is a bento for Hanami. This cuisine style is carried out today in Japan.

Best regards,
Tadami Yamada