Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Double pasta!

Since my blog became well read we have had a special visitor at school who wears a white coat and hair net. She looks at my food when I am walking away from the queue. I think she stays there and looks at everyone's and then she looks at what goes in the bin when serving has finished. Not much went in the bin today!

I asked if I could have a dessert and soup and they said yes, maybe because there was a lot of soup left. The soup was carrot and I ate half of it but then stopped because it was too hot! I finished my soup after I ate my pasta and before my yoghurt. I didn't quite finish my pasta because it had a lot of onions in it. I've called my post double pasta because Dad made spag bol for tea at home!

Food-o-meter- 9/10
Mouthfuls- I did count but I've forgotten!
Courses- starter/main/dessert
Health Rating- 7/10
Price- £2
Pieces of hair- 0
Wristband- Orange
Mary's Meal Total-150 children fed for a year or 20% of a kitchen, thanks!

I got this fantastic email yesterday from Canada (British Columbia 17 seconds!)

'Hello VEG!

I've enjoyed reading your blog very much and wanted to share the wonderful food that my school's cafe produces with you. I teach at a highschool in Invermere, British Columbia, Canada. The school goes from grades 8-12. We have an excellent program at our school that prepares students to be cooks/chefs and they are the ones who produce our snacks/meals on a daily basis.

Their teacher, is an inspiration. She is dedicated to local produce and fresh product. All of the green that are served in the cafeteria are grown in the greenhouse next to the school. We even enjoy fresh lettuce in the winter months!

Today, I enjoyed the Rocky Mountain Bowl (with grilled tofu) and a piece of pumpkin cheesecake. My rating:

Food-o-meter: 10/10! (Yes, it was THAT good!)
Mouthfuls: Sorry! I was too busy enjoying!
Health Rating: 9/10
Price: $3.50 + $2.00 = $5.50 (Canadian dollars) £3.44
Pieces of hair: NONE!
Type of Meal: Main/Dessert

I can't say enough about of wonderful cafeteria... Teaching kids to cook healthy food at home is a great way to help the next generation.

Thanks and keep up the excellent work on the blog, I tune in every morning...


I think this is the best dinner I have seen so far and its made by students at the school! We are building our own greenhouse in our playground out of old 2 litre plastic bottles. Maybe when we finish it we can eat from it too.



  1. I'm really glad to see that your servings at school have become more generous and healthy - see how powerful one voice can be, especially when it's as mature and articulate as yours, Veg! I think it would be nice to see some more colours in your lunch today, some green veg etc, but it looks like a pretty balanced meal nonetheless. Glad to see your charity appeal is going strong too. Best wishes and keep up the great work!

    1. No wonder today's wristband color was orange, huh? ;)

  2. Hello, was reading your blog and came across something I wanted to reply to in one of your older posts. I'm not sure if you'll see it there so I'm posting it here.

    Most Indian schools don't have school lunches (maybe some of the new fancy ones do), children eat from their own lunchboxes or buy food from school canteens (snacks mostly, not very healthy). Government schools have free lunches and they are vegetarian more often than not and consist of staples - rice, dal (lentils) and sabzi (vegetable curry). I don't think these meals are cooked very well considering that lunch in the hostel in my university consists of the same things and is usually quite disgusting (very thin dal, mushy vegetables).

    I wish our schools (and universities) fed us as well as yours do.

  3. Hi Veg,
    I just thought I'd comment to say I love your blog! I think it's great how honestly you post about your food and I'm very pleased that your lunches are looking better than when you first posted!
    I'm also very impressed with how you are raising money for charity as well, keep it up!

    Bunny xx

  4. Both of those lunches look good. Was the yogurt dessert or did you get something else later?

  5. Hi Veg, I think it's interesting about the new lady who monitors food waste. When I went to middle school the local council had an annual competition among the schools to cut down on food waste from meals served (we all got free, cooked, lunches in Sweden). I think it was for a week or two per year where all food waste had to be weighed and the school with the least waste got a prize (or maybe just the honour?). I believe some schools still runs this scheme in-house between classes/houses if dining separately. The aim is to teach awareness both of the value of food and the eyes vs tummy dilemma when serving oneself, we self served from about age 9 though protein was sometimes restricted (eg. 10 meatballs but as much sides as wanted). If you want to maybe your council would like to do something similar? Of course it's not fair if the student can impact the amount of food given to them.

  6. This is definitely progress! Portions look better, and for a wonder, there's not a jacket potato just in case there isn't enough starch in the pasta. Carrot soup and carrots are redundant, but since you requested the soup, that's not the school's doing.

    I still have to wonder who thinks fat-free yoghurt is necessary for growing children, though.

    1. Sandy, there's a part of me that really wants to agree with you about the fat-free yoghurt. But then since some of the lunches are quite high-fat (and not "good fats"), perhaps the fat-free yoghurt makes a bit of sense.

      One example was Veg's lunch of a hot dog (probably not the more expensive low-fat variety), and two (fried) potato croquettes. I was actually rather glad to see fat-free yoghurt on that tray.

      And, if you ask me, far better fat-free yoghurt than ice-lollies! :)

      I just do wish, however, that the kids were given milk to drink with their lunches, rather than water.

    2. I don't know if British schools are the same today but when I was Veg's age (about 13 years ago), we had a little bottle of milk at morning playtime (I was always milk monitor!). Do they still do that? I certainly hope so...

  7. Hello Veg! I love your blog. I'm very glad to see your lunches are getting a bit better, but I'm still very sad to see that they're not giving you very many tasty fresh fruit and vegetables. That boiled carrot looks a bit sad, and it seems very careless that they gave you carrots on the same day as a carrot soup.

  8. Hi Veg,
    Glad you had a good lunch today.

    here is a linq to my blog with what we had today.

  9. You are doing a great thing here! I am from northern California and I went to a very small school that did not serve meals to its students. Everyone was responsible for their own food and I know a lot of us didn't get the nutrition we needed, either because rushed moms bought convenience foods, or as older students we were just lazy and had soda and candy (yikes). So I am glad to see how pro-active you are - not only making sure you get a full meal of nutritious food, but fundraising so that children in other parts of the world can have the same! Well done! :)

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  11. Hello from Switzerland !
    I really love reading your blog! ;)
    Here's my blog address :
    Have a nice day,

  12. Thought you might be interested in this! Its about school food in France

  13. lol i literally come to your site everyday :D but this is the first time i commennted even though i read all your post :P.

    My site :P

  14. Are you really building a greenhouse from 2 litre pop bottles??? Please provide some picts and the details!!!!

  15. Brilliant! I wish you the very best in all you do in the future, whether food-related or internet or anything else.

    Bill Dixon, Science Teacher, Switzerland

  16. Reading your blog I can now see why the Council is worried. I doubt they are used to being chivvied and afraid their shortcomings will become too apparent. I doubt they like your queries on the origins of their chickens and sausages as I expect it's a closely guarded secret.

    When they read the post from British Columbia they probably felt decidedly inferior.

    Ladies in white coats who don't cook, serve or search for nits are an ominous sign.

  17. Hi,
    I am just wondering - why to they give children fat-free yoghurt?
    It is well-known, that milk-fat is one of the essential ingredient of all dairy products. And a they should give the to children, like you just healthy food. You are still in development and as much healhty food you take, the better for your body.

    Non-fat dairy products (or with reduced amount of healthy ingredients) is like eating colorful+artificial flvoured garbage. Your body has no benefit from that.

    btw. greetings to you and your dad from Slovakia :)

    1. I agree! Full fat milk products are very healthy as so many essential vitamins are stored in the healthy fats. If excess calories are a problem cut sugar not dairy.

    2. mtm... Dairy products contain Casein and are known to be the cause of some cancers. You should really read up on this topic as most impartial/objective food experts would recommend reducing dairy to less than 5% of your diet (watch "Forks over Knives" movie - it is very enlightening!). More information about casein is available at: where you can see the study done with rats/humans that showed the correlation between casein/dairy and cancer...

  18. Fair comment, I'd have thought. Both praise and criticism: well done!

  19. Hi Veg, well done on a great Blog, shame the powers that be seem scared of the truth, might even be against your human rights to ban you from doing a brilliant job so keep at them and dont give up , most of all have fun doing it.
    Craig (43), Cameron(7) & Adam (9)

  20. I'm not surprised. They are following the government's example of banning any news or publicity about anything negative in order to be able to announce that "everything is fine here, no reports of anything untowards". Surely, if she had paid for the school meal, she owns it, and if she owns it, she can do whatever she likes with it, including photographing it.

  21. It's fabulous that you are raising awareness to food. Shame that some don't realize that we actually do live in a free country with free speech.

    I'm still shocked that hot dogs are on the menu; I really got inspired by Jamie Oliver's show in the US about school meals and have since watched "Forks over Knives" and am now about 95% vegetarian... and eating some of the most delicious food and recipes I've ever had in my life (the recipe book "Appetite for Reduction" is particularly excellent)...

    Great work and keep on blogging!

  22. Love your blog, Martha. I wish my students were as enterprising, honest, and good at writing as you are. Keep your independent spirit intact, and good luck in everything you set out to do.
    Warmest greetings,
    Håkan Friberg
    Teacher of Chinese in Stockholm, Sweden

  23. Keep up with the blog! Just don't wind your school up by taking photos of the dinners. Instead you'll have to give us a proper description. Argyll Council should be ashamed of themselves.

  24. Freedom of speech, human rights, openness, transparency...bring it on, "sunlight is the best disinfectant".

  25. Keep up with your blog Martha! Don't let somebody else tell you whet to do. Just because their scared. Hej då from The Netherlands.

  26. It is a sad reflection on today's social trends in the UK that a local authority should be so vulnerable to comments about the food that it directly or by tender provides for our schoolchildren that it feels it necessary to hurt a small child to stifle her remarkably talented efforts to document and constructively enjoy an aspect of her school life. However this is wrapped to make it 'feel nice' for her, she will feel slighted and this experience will never be forgotten.
    That kitchen staff feel endangered by her efforts is nothing whatever to do with the truthful, accurate descriptions of her experiences but more to do with paranoia or even well-founded guilt.
    You must trust and respect decisions that you may not fully understand, yet. However, those who use authority to suffocate talented and conscientious efforts of children in state education should really look to the statement that precedes all matters in which they involve themselves professionally - "In the best interests of the child(ren) ...."
    I sincerely hope that your talent will be recognised and encouraged, perhaps even by the incredibly silly people who made this decision and then, upon review supported it.
    Your efforts should be encouraged and nourished so that they can continue to sparkle. Good luck!

  27. Pardon me but.. Here is a can of petrol for you...

    Article 10 clearly states that you have the right to do this and for your school and local education authority to stifle this right is not only a breach of this convention but also an illegal act on their part.

    You should ask for your school to put in writing the request as a verbal request is just that verbal. You should continue photographing your dinners and any attempt to stop you should be first reported to the press and if they try to take your property without your consent should be brought to the attention of the police as your school will be discriminating against you as well as confiscation of property that belongs to you, they simply do not have the authority to do what they are doing, they can only request you refrain from this activity.

    Stick it to them and keep up the good reporting.

  28. Absolutely disgusting how Argyll Council should ban you from taking photos of your school meals, I think everyone should email Argyll Council and protest, it’s good to see young children taking an interest in what they eat and more importantly understand what is healthy food and what is not, especially when the government are so concerned about obesity in children, not to mention the fantastic fundraising you are doing.

    Keep Going Veg, one voice can make a difference, it always has.

    Best regards

    G S Marshall

  29. Hello Martha. Your blog is brilliant. It's original, it's fun and it's informative. I hope you can keep on blogging in some way. You're a natural. Good luck.

    Oh, and I hope your arm gets better quickly. :-)

  30. Glad the Decision was Overturned' they should be ashamed of themselves......Good luck and Keep Going....

  31. It's a shame when the council take to bullying a little girl when there's bigger fish to fry out there! such a well written blog from someone so young! as my partner said, you write better than me, Keep it up don't let the pencil pushers get to you!

  32. Hi Martha

    I was so incensed by the ban on photographing your school lunches that I had to write and complain to your council.

    What you are doing is educational, healthy, funny, and interesting. It's a great pity the pusillanimous people at your local council can't support you in their efforts.

    Best wishes,

    Jules, England.

  33. Hi Veg, just heard the ban has been reversed so it's not GOODBYE - it's a case of Carry On Veg! Just goes to show the power of the net and is a credit to you and your Dad. I just looked at the hits counter and it's going bananas, clicking over several times a minute! Fantastic! Keep up the good work and best wishes

  34. I was pleased to read that the Council has reversed their decision to ban you from taking and publishing pictures of your meals. I think they made the right choice. I also think you, and your father have handled this entire situation brilliantly. Your father seems a good man, young lady, I'd keep him if I were you. As a "writing project" I would have to say your blog is an unqualified success and if recent history is any indication of your future then you have a spectacular life ahead of you. There's an American idiom that applies well here, you go girl!

  35. Martha Keep blogging its your right we are suppose to live in a country of free speech.

  36. Your blog in Amazing, I was so happy when i heard that the council was backing down and allowing you to continue. Although, it has to be said that your school lunches look a lot more appetising than what i used to be given in Secondary school, which frequently consisted a plate of plain pasta, a sachet of Ketchup and a chocolate bar! Keep up the amazing work! :-)

  37. Keep up the good work so glad to see your story has hit the headlines and your page reinstated as I'm sat here typing your hit counter is whizzing along good luck.

    Martin M Bournemouth

  38. I'd just like to say well done for blogging about your meals at school. I only found out about your blog today because of the news stories about the council banning you from taking the photographs, but I'm pleased to hear that they have changed their minds and you are allowed to carry on.

    I hope that your blogging not only helps improve the meals at your school, making them tastier and more healthy, but also inspires pupils in other schools to do similar things.

    Good work.

  39. well done..I hear your back. Brave girl keep up the good work XX

  40. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to you continuing. I especially enjoyed learning about school meals around the world. I must get my son to send pictures of his school meals in Belgium. (Not Chocolate and chips!)

  41. Good on you Martha. I can't imagine having been thrust into the politics of school lunches at such a young age simply by doing something you found fun. I'm sorry it turned out this way. :(
    Maybe you could and be sure to ask your dad first, but maybe you could *draw* your food and instead of taking pictures of it? As it seems that it's the "photographs" that have the school board (or your Scottish equivalent to what we have on the other side of the pond) upset. Even though, if you do that and they then find something else to restrict you on, then you've definitely struck a chord. Then you (and dad) will need to decide if you'll want to learn to play a proverbial musical instrument or not.

    By drawing, you would still be able to enjoy your blog, continue raising money for "Mary’s Meals" and get across your insightful commentary. You may also find that you enjoy drawing and could become quite a good artist in the process!

    Whatever path you choose, best of luck to you.

  42. Hello Veg,
    I have just been looking at your blog, big thanks to the news. I don't leave comments but I thought you deserved support. I hope that your brilliant idea transforms dinners for children everywhere.
    I realise school kitchens are under a lot of pressure from all different areas. It was a very poor move to contract workers to be involved in any service be it health, education or forces. I feel we need more staff, giving more employment and a sense of pride and control in their profession. I was lucky enough to be at school in the 70's, we had good, wholesome, cooked from scratch dinners with a huge choice.
    I wish you good luck in all you do and please keep going with it, if nothing else it is an education to see dinners from other countries, maybe parents could use the information to be able to choose their school as opposed to league tables.
    All the very best mazza

  43. I think that is the BEST looking school dinner I have ever seen!

  44. keep strong and keep writing, dont let the council bully you...

  45. Hi there VEG,

    Good to see that the big frys have let you continue,boo hoo to them.Keep up the good work - I like your photos,as an ex cameraman they look top quality

  46. My grade school would lock me in a padded cell all day and ocasionally I would get a bag lunch with a rotten apple and 2-3week old sandwich so your meals look quite appatizing in comparison...

    1. That would explain the spelling gaffs, then, wouldn't it?

  47. Hi Martha. Brilliant blog! I read on the BBC website about you and also read that they are lifting the ban very soon! Congratulations! I am very happy for you and for myself too because I can continue to read and see photos on your wonderful, wonderful blog :)
    Emi from Japan

  48. You're writing a great blog. Keep it up. You're far brighter than the council.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Brilliant Martha! I bet your teacher thinks you're amazing... I would. I've loved reading about your school dinners not because they sometimes appear a little iffy but because of your comments. Keep going... please.

  51. Martha: What excellent work! I hope your school English teacher will recognise what a super job you're making of this. OK, so the subject has caused a bit of an uproar, but let's not also forget the benefits to you of being this creative. I very much hope someone sees this as a wonderful demonstration of your personality, ability and smarts. Do you think you might become a writer/journalist?

    Good luck!

  52. Hi from jake ! great Blog !

  53. Adelante, pequeña, eres valiente y nadie podrá detenerte. Sigue, que los burócratas no triunfarán.

  54. Hi Veg!!

    I just discovered your blog from all the social media whirlwind surrounding the ban on your photos. I want to say CONGRATULATIONS on the ban being lifted, and BRAVO! To you (and your supportive Dad) for fighting to get healthy, filling food to growing kids! Nutrition is SO important for growing minds and bodies and I am extremely excited to see you fighting for that cause! You have made a ruckus girl, in a wonderful way!

    I'm really enjoying reading back through your posts and wanted to comment on this one in particular because I absolutely love the photo from Canada! I hope that many more schools head in a direction like they are- teaching kids to cook and eat healthy, and how to grow foods themselves.

    You are a marvel! Keep standing up for what you believe in, you have support from all across the world! Big hugs from New Hampshire (tiny little state in New England, USA) :D


  55. I suppose I should be grateful to Argyll and Bute Council for this ban, because without it I wouldn't have known about this delightful website (and I suspect I'm not alone by the look of your hit counter)! Hopefully they'll come to their senses soon. In the meantime congratulations and good luck. You're a star.

  56. hi from Italy!
    all our solidariety to you;
    what happened is the fascist decision of an de-brained headteacher.
    So sorry, I wish you can TweetPic your meals all over the web again soon!

  57. You go girl! You are doing a great job making people aware of the value of eating fresh and nutritious food.

  58. Well done Argyll and Bute. As the council leader said, it's always good to change your mind (that sounds like every council member I've ever encountered !). I hope he meant when you know you're wrong.

    I was hoping that every school meals customer in the land was going to flood A&G's email with a pic of their meal. That would have slowed the council's servers down! Luckily it wasn't necessary.

    Well done, Martha. And well done for the fundraising.

  59. Good for you! I'm in Virginia in America and you keep up the good work. Don't let anyone get you down. I wish I had a photo to post for you - perhaps another day.

  60. Excellent job Veg! Healthy food at school is a necessity and a right so thank you for shedding light on its importance!
    Paty, Lebanon

  61. Now that the ban has been lifted, can't wait to see photos of Monday's lunch !!

    Strawberries and champagne per chance? Well, perhaps strawberries and orange juice will be okay?

    Good on ya, girl. Keep blogging.

  62. That Canadian lunch looks amazing, and what a great idea! I wish kids (and adults too!) everywhere got such great opportunities.

  63. Well done, Veg. I'm glad that at least all the fuss led me to your excellent blog. It's a great thing that you are doing.