Tuesday 31 July 2012

Raining in Perth.

Hi everybody! Greetings from a rainy Perth, Western Australia. I think it has been 16 degrees in Perth and Scotland today. I am pleased that it has rained as we can get a bit short of water here. My mum is relieved as we have just planted some new fruit trees in our garden. Hopefully next year we can eat home-grown passion fruit, apples, mandarins and oranges.

You were right- I called myself Pavlova after the Australian dessert, though the name doesn't sound very Aussie to me! I had a look at Anna Pavlova, the ballerina, on You tube dancing Swan Lake. She was very graceful.

Today I had leak and potato soup for lunch. I helped my Mum make it at the weekend. I had a tiger bread roll with it-our bakers call it a tiger cub! I also had strawberries, a yogurt and the rest of the cookies. It was delicious.

Food-o-meter- 10/10
Health rating- 8/10pretty healthy though we stirred some cream through the soup.
Mouthfuls- 40 and 20 slurps of soup
Courses– main/dessert and my recess snack
Price- $3.50
Pieces of hair– 0
Amount of his packed lunch my brother brought home uneaten- even more than yesterday!
Number of Olympic medals won by Australia- 4- one more swimming silver today.

My Mum thought that my brother would eat more of his lunch if we put it in the blog. It doesn't seem to be working so far!

Our school is a “crunch and sip” school. We are allowed a small tub of pieces of vegetable or fruit on our desks to crunch on through the day and a bottle of water. It is supposed to help us concentrate and encourage everyone to eat a portion of veg or fruit everyday. Today I had grape tomatoes for my crunch and sip. I think it is a great idea and stops me getting hungry in class.

Some people asked for the traffic light food lists to help us choose healthy options. Here is a link to the website.

Max sent in a picture of his lunch. He comes from Warton, Lancashire. I need practise – it took me over a minute to find it on the map! I like the sound of Freckleton nearby. Does everyone have freckles there? I've never had stripy cheese before Max.

'My name's Max and I'm in Year 3 (I’m nearly 8) at St Paul's School Warton near Lytham St Annes in Lancashire (How many seconds)?

I always take a packed lunch to school every day and here is a picture of today's.
Tuna sandwiches, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and a chunk of Stripey Jack cheese.
For afters there's a KitKat (somewhere in there) and pineapple.
Washed down with Ribena.

Food-o-meter- 10/10! (I love my Mum’s packed lunches)!
Mouthfuls- about 47.
Courses- main/dessert
Health Rating- 9/10
Price- not worked it out
Pieces of hair - 0
Pieces of eight - 0

My mum always makes sure I've got a healthy lunch and unusually for an 8 year old I love my salad and veg!
I usually eat them first and then have my sandwiches.

In summer my veg is from our garden. We grow peas, beans, carrots, onions, potatoes, rhubarb and pumpkins.

Our school meals seem to be pretty good and they have a special lunch every term that you can have. They are usually themed as to what we are learning/doing.

Keep up the good work!


I will write more tomorrow. Until then a question…Which capital city is closest to Perth, Western Australia?
Until tomorrow,

Octo-dogs at sea!

Veg here

I had omelettes at my friend's house last week. I haven't had one since school ended and I really like them so I decided to make one for lunch. I had to go down to the hens to get the eggs but I remembered to turn off the electric fence so I didn't get a shock!

I cracked three eggs into a bowl and added a splash of milk and some pepper then beat them. I also put in some blue food colouring but it mixed with the yellow and made a green omelette! I sprinkled some ham and grated cheese on as I cooked it.

You can see why I wanted to a make an omelette sea now, for my octo-dogs! Thanks for the idea Bento Mama.

Tomorrow I am making my Japanese breakfast. I will ask you all to rate it. I am enjoying Pavlova's blog but it is unfair that her Australian winter is warmer then my Scottish summer! A company wants to use my photos to make a white board programme for schools so I asked her for a donation for Mary's Meals and she gave £50. That's brilliant and we are nearly at £113,000!


Monday 30 July 2012

Hello Pavlova from Perth, Australia!

Hi Everybody! My blog name is Pavlova and I am 9 years old just like Veg. I live in Perth – not in Scotland- but in Western Australia. Can you guess why I have called myself Pavlova?
I go to Dalkeith Primary School and we don’t have a school canteen so I have to take a packed lunch every day. We all eat outside our classrooms on the shady veranda.
It is like having a picnic everyday. Here is a picture of my lunch today.

I had Vietnamese chicken spring rolls filled with grated carrot, coriander, capsicum (that’s red pepper) and the left over chicken from my Sunday roast. It was delicious dipped in chilli sauce. I had fruit salad after though Mum forgot to pack a fork so it was a messy business! I had an oatmeal cookie for recess which was tasty too.

Food-o-meter- 10/10- it was delicious
Health rating- 9/10- lost a point because of the cookie though it was homemade.
Mouthfuls- 48
Courses– main/dessert and my recess snack
Price- difficult to say as was bits of leftovers from our Sunday lunch though about $3.00.
Pieces of hair– 0
Amount of his packed lunch my brother brought home uneaten- about half and all of his fruit!
Number of Olympic medals won by Australia- 3 one of each color!

At my school we are not allowed junk food as we have a healthy eating policy. There is a traffic light system of food. Food on the red list is not allowed. This is sugary and unhealthy food. We can have food from the amber list sometimes and we must try and eat lots of healthy stuff off the green list.

As Veg said it is winter here in Australia but it has been a beautiful sunny day. It was 23 degrees. I have just checked online and it is 14 degrees in Scotland though I guess you may still warm up a bit this afternoon.

It great news that Veg has been nominated for the great Scot award. I hope she wins.

I am really excited to be in filling in for Veg this week. See ya tomorrow!


Veg's dad here We've had a great science project sent in by the William Campbell College in Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. So over to Steven who is 7 years old.

'My Australian food that I chose is Ginger Beer. My mum buys ginger beer for me and I love it.

Ginger beer is “red” food. That means you can only drink it sometimes. The main ingredient of Ginger Beer is ginger, and it tastes really good. It’s not like other beer, because it doesn't have alcohol in it, so kids can drink it too. One serving is one bottle(375ml) and it has 40g of sugar!
Ginger beer is my favourite cold drink. If I was allowed to, I would drink it every day!

Sunday 29 July 2012

Great Scot!

Veg here

It's been a great week. At last I can tell you that I have been nominated for the Great Scot Award this year! A really nice lady came with her cameras and took lots of photos. I had my Mary's Meal t-shirt on and my Mary's Meals mug with me. I don't know who nominated me but I think it's really for everyone that has supported Mary's Meals. I am visiting the Friends of NeverSeconds kitchen in Malawi when the ceremony takes place so if we win I can share the award with all the children. Fingers crossed.

You can read the article here.

I really liked all the meals on the blog this week. Thank you for sending them in. The Octo-Dogs look brilliant!

As a project I am going to copy the Japanese breakfast from Asuka. I will photograph it and rate it. I have never had a breakfast like it and I hope my family like it.

There are only 61 days until we set off to Malawi. This week Dad booked our flights. It is very exciting but I need to have 2 injections on Thursday. I have forgotten what it's like to have injections but it was ok when I was younger so I will be fine this time too.

We have been watching the Olympics. I stayed up to see the three Malawi atheletes but fell asleep and almost missed the end. Next week the blog is in Perth, Australia (22 seconds). It is winter in Australia but I wonder whether it is warmer than Scotland still. The week after, it goes to Brazil just like the Olympics!


Friday 27 July 2012

Dinner- Israel


My name is Nicole and I live with my 4-year old daughter Tal, in Israel. During the week, Tal is in full-time daycare and eats breakfast and a cooked lunch there. But Fridays and Saturdays she has a light lunch at home and then a cooked dinner.

Dinner today consisted of tuna salad (Tal’s request), rice crackers, pitted olives, cherry tomatoes, and freshly squeezed orange juice. In addition to what is in the photo, she asked for an extra rice cracker after she finished the first one, and another half glass of juice. After she finished, she ate a plain unsweetened yoghurt. The only vegetables Tal likes are cherry tomatoes, but she doesn’t seem to notice that I sneak cut-up red capsicum and cucumbers into the tuna salad – and she really likes that.

Food-O-Meter: 10/10 (Tal said “It’s yummy, this is my favorite dinner”)
Mouthfuls: about 60
Course: Dinner
Health Rating: 8/10 (I would like her to have more vegetables, and there is a bit of mayonnaise in the tuna salad, but otherwise I think it is OK)
Price: Approximately 12 shekels for her portion (£1.94)
Time spent eating: 50 minutes (and that was only because I hurried her up because we had to go out)
Pieces of hair: 0
Leftovers: None
Songs sung while eating: 3 (2 in English and 1 in Hebrew – Tal speaks two languages)

Lunch- Spokane, Washington, USA

Hi VEG! My name is Laura, and I am 30 years old, 33 weeks pregnant, and I work at a private university in Spokane, WA., USA.

This is a picture of my lunch today:

I am having two open-faced ham and swiss cheese sandwiches on rice & corn cakes, a whole avocado with lime and salt, and 1/2 c. of fresh blueberries!

I am gluten intolerant (my body cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale), and I also have gestational diabetes! I manage my gestational diabetes through diet, so keeping my carbohydrate intake within certain limits is very crucial! Also, I cannot have sweets, as I am only allowed a certain number of carbohydrates a day, so I get the most out of them by eating fresh fruit and whole grains!

Also, you can't see it in my picture, but I have a big bottle of water for my drink.

Food-O-Meter: 10/10 I pack my own lunches, so I will only pack what I want to eat!
Mouthfuls: 30 give or take
Course: Main/side/dessert
Health Rating: 9/10
Price: Probably less than $2.50
Hair: 0 (YAY)
Carb count: about 30 g. of carbs total.
Baby kicks while eating: about 10 or so, plus a couple somersaults!

Keep up the great work!

Breakfast- Tokyo, Japan


I have a 2-year-old daughter, Shiho who goes to nursery on weekdays. If both parents work in Japan, they usually fight for limited seats available in nurseries. Luckily my daughter has gone to one since she was 6-months old. Nurseries are available until they start elementary school at age 6. Great thing about nurseries is they feed kids lunches and snacks prepared by qualified nutritionist. I must admit her diet is much healthier and perhaps more appropriate for the age than the stuff I cook. Nonetheless, I try my best to prepare delicious breakfast for her (and my husband of course) when only time all three of us sit around the table together on weekdays.

Though many people prefer 'Western' style breakfast and cannot wake up without their coffee these days, my family still prefers 'ordinary' style in the morning which consists of a bit of different dishes on the table, generally. Rice and miso (soya-based) soup (seaweed, tofu & leeks usually go into this) is a must. In addition, we usually have some proteins, in this case Japanese-style omelette with bonito flakes, fermented beans, and also some baked fish (usually a type of mackerel or salmon). Grapefruits is her most favourite fruit so routinely comes up on the table.

The photo seems a bit too much for 2-year-old girl, but it is shared with my husband and myself apart from rice & soup. We have own bowls for those.
Although preparing such breakfast seems a hard work at 6 am in the morning, it is in fact quite easy. Five-minutes to grill the fish, mix the beans with soy sauce, and prepare omelette & soup in between take about 10 minutes. Rice cooker does its work before I wake up.

Food-O-Meter: 8/10
Mouthfuls: countless
Courses: Breakfast
Health rating: 10/10
Price: About $2 for her portion
Pieces of hair: 0
Pieces of rice stuck on her face and clothes: about 20.
Pieces of bones thrown onto the floor: 5

Lastly but not the least, I'm grateful that one of my friends who posted on this site the other day introduced me to this site (Thank you, RAHA!). I was amazed by how interesting looking at what people eat in different places, and also the fact that they do make it so attractive for kids so that they eat well. Hope readers enjoyed the breakfast from Asia, too, which is very much different from other parts of the world - it seems heavy, right? But nothing on the table used any oil or sugar, so keeps us feel light even after the meal :)

Best wishes

Thursday 26 July 2012

2 Dinners- Sydney, Australia & Ashbourne, UK

Hi VEG, my name is Jamie and I have a 21 month old son Mason. We are from Sydney Australia and for dinner tonight we had barbecue steaks and Mason had lamb cutlets with roast potato and salad.

Food-O-Meter: 9/10 he loves tomatoes and olives
Mouthfuls: a lot! Mas usually takes around an hour to finish his meals
Course: Main
Health Rating: 8/10
Price: around 6 or 7 dollars for his portion (about £4)
Hair: 0 :)
High chair escapes: 2

We also had apple pie for dessert and Mas had his with a cup of milk (he had water with his dinner)

I love your blog and check for updates every single morning while drinking my tea :) congratulations on achieving so much for Mary's meals and good luck for the future :) much love Jamie and Mas xo

From Sydney to Ashbourne!

Howdylydoodly everybody, my names Jessica! I live in the English countryside in a small village with my little girl Julie, I absolutely love reading NeverSeconds blog; it has given me so many ideas on how to vary my daughters dinner! Julie is 6 years old and loves baking and helping me cook the meals herself, she is probably more willing to try new things than I am! Her favourite thing to make is cranberry muffins, she runs off to her room to lick the bowl clean when we have finished making them, and I'm left with everything else to wash up!

Today for her dinner I made her Grilled Smoked Basa fish, with lots of mixed veg and a small bowl of wholemeal pasta in a some vegetable stock , I have to overcook the pasta till its really mushy because she won't eat it otherwise. I also I had to help her finish the fish because I had given her a very big fillet, her own words claim it to be 'Very scrummy!' though. Later on she had a milkshake made with milk, ice cubes and coco powder all blended up. I was going to take a picture but she had already drank most of it by the time I found my camera!

Food-O-Meter: She gave it a "8 maybe 9"
Mouthfuls: She lost count! A lot though because the veg kept falling off her spoon!
Courses: Dinner
Health rating:10/10 I tried to balance it with the food groups
Price: About £1.30 for her portion
Leftovers: Nope, apart from a lone pea!

It's an honour to be starred on such a great blog, I hope VEG never stops!

Lunch- Bristol, UK


I'm Kate, mum to Eleanor (aged 2 years). We had lunch late today because Eleanor fell asleep in the car on the way home from the supermarket but I thought you might like to see a picture of it.

We both had the same: tomato, cucumber, coleslaw, tuna mayo sandwich and some mini cheddar biscuits. We had orange juice to drink.

It's been really hot here in Bristol (UK) today, so I wanted to make something light and fresh tasting. I try to put a range of food groups on Eleanor's plate at each meal but she doesn't usually eat everything on her plate. From all the things on her lunch plate today, she ate the coleslaw and the cucumber. She also drank the orange juice. I'll probably put the rest of it back in the fridge in case she wants a snack later, before dinner.

Food-o-meter: yummy bear!
Healthy: 9/10
Mouthfuls: lots (Eleanor ate the coleslaw with her fingers, so it took a long time!)
Courses: main
Price: about £1?

Breakfast- Vancouver, Canada

Hello again!

Bento Mama here sharing one of my family’s (even French toast hating Mr.Bento!) favorite breakfasts with you! Being a full time working mom, a part time student, and having between 4-6 people living in my home at all times, I’m all about doing things as efficiently and cost effectively as possible with ideally minimal amounts of waste. I recycle almost everything, reuse and repurpose where possible, and generally find as many ways as I can to save money, and the environment. Many people have asked me if bento making creates a lot of waste with all the bread, meat, and cheese scraps. The answer is a resounding YES… and no!! While bento making creates lots of scraps, I have taken to saving them (in either the fridge or freezer) for use in different meals! This super delicious French toast breakfast casserole is an excellent example. All my sammie scraps go in a bag in the freezer for use in this budget friendly and super easy meal!

I served today’s breakfast with fresh sautéed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries) and a little icing sugar for garnish. The kids also had grilled ham and a glass of milk to balance out the meal.

Here’s today’s breakfast rating (according to my kids!)
Food-o-meter: 10/10 “it’s really yummy!!” (it started at 2 out of 10 until I re-explained how the rating system worked to my 4 year old)
Mouthfuls: Lots! Little mouths take lots of bites!
Courses: Breakfast
Health Rating: 9/10, The icing sugar brings this one down
Price: Super cheap!! This meal is made entirely out of leftovers!!
Pieces of hair: 0!
Dining time: 21 minutes and the plates were licked clean, and it would have been longer if I didn't bribe the kids with cartoons!

If you want the full recipe to make your own super cheap breakfast head over to my blog. If you’re not a fan of cooking, but still want a cheap meal, head over here to help NeverSeconds provide meals, and a kitchen with Mary’s Meals to children in Malawi! A mere £10.70 or $16.92 Canadian will feed a child for an entire year!
Thanks again VEG and Daddy VEG for allowing to me participate in this amazing initiative!
Until next time,
Bento Mama

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Dinner- Washington, DC, USA

Hi VEG and VEG'S dad!

This is a picture of Benjamin's supper this evening.

He is having ground beef with veggies (carrots, peas and mushrooms) and toast sticks, steamed broccoli, apple sauce with nectarine, and a sippy cup of water. He's 14 months old, but I think he could eat all of the dinner you get during the school year because he has 16 teeth already!

Food-o-meter- 8/10 (he isn't too fond of the apple sauce, though I am not sure why)
Mouthfuls- i lost count at 40, after he took out a bunch of broccoli, looked at it and then put it back in to his mouth... does that count as one bite or two? hmmm...
Courses- supper/dessert/drink
Health Rating- 10/10 (for grown ups, we shouldn't eat so much beef, even local/kindly raised beef, but Benjamin is a bit anemic, so beef is very healthy for him!)
Price- about $3
Pieces of hair- 0
Pieces thrown on the floor- 4

Lunch- Columbus, Ohio, USA

Hi there, from Columbus, Ohio. My name is MIMI and I am a mom to 3 kids, ages 2, 3, and 5. All of whom are rather picky eaters. I've had to find lots of ways to incorporate good, healthy, well balanced meals that are kid friendly and look appealing to my kids. That's why I almost always "sneak" the healthy into my kids food. I do this by pureeing a lot of veggies and fruits into everyday items. After I am sure my kids like a food item and have tried it several times, I always let them know what healthy items I hid in their food, that way, when I present the food to them later in it's natural form, they are more willing to give it a try. They seem to like the food and are now a lot more open to strange foods. My daughter gets upset now if I don't somehow use spinach in a food item. I've been known to sneak spinach in everything, even in brownies!

Here is our dinner from today. It is sneaky mac n'cheese muffins. Noodles, with cheese on top, but hidden inside are pureed beans, spinach and tomatoes. There are also cut up hot dogs and an egg to make it very protein enriched. I've also included carrots, peanuts and half a banana as side dishes. With a cookie for dessert and a glass of milk to drink. With preschool aged kids, portion sizes need to be smaller, and variety is key. They aren't very big kids so they don't eat as much as adults, and they need to see a food 5-8 times before they decide definitively if they like something or not. So I always put lots of small portions of different items on their plates.

Here's today's food ratings, according to my 3 kids:

Food-o-meter-8/10, the youngest wasn't sure about the mac'n'cheese muffins.
Healthy- 9/10 very healthy except for cookie, but you can't get them to eat anything without reward of cookie at end. :-)
Mouthfuls- a lot, it took well over an hour to get all 3 completely done.
Courses- Dinner/side/dessert
Price-about $2 per plate plus I have enough leftovers for another meal or two.
Thumbs up- 6

Breakfast - Brigerbad, Switzerland


Richard, Anest, Harri (4) and Anwen (3) here - you can call us RAHA! We live in France, but are on a camping holiday in Brigerbad, Switzerland at the moment - how many seconds VEG? (12 seconds!- Veg)

In France, little ones start school in the year they turn 3 so neither of my monsters are pre-schoolers anymore, but since we are in France and as there is no canteen at the school, I still get to feed them three times a day as they come home every lunchtime. There is a lunchtime option at school by an external provider, but it's expensive at 6.50€ (£5) per day even if it is starter, main, cheese, bread and dessert. Only about 20% of the school children eat there.

Anyway, this week is not about school meals...back to them next week. As I said, we're camping at the moment and here is what we had for breakfast:

I tried to keep it as Swiss as possible to my knowledge (any Swiss readers out there please feel free to comment). There was some Gruyère Cheese, a slice of Swiss Ham, 2 slices of bread (one with strawberry jam) and 2 Reine Claude Plums. In the beaker is some chocolate milk. Seconds of cheese, ham and plums were had. There was Birchermuesli (muesli mixed with yogurt) on offer too, but that was rejected. We don't normally eat a savoury breakfast and I'm not sure why as I much prefer it! It was meant to be A's plate of food, but she ate most of hers before I could take a photo and she was not interested in rating it as she just wanted to get down and play...so here is how H rated it:

Food-o-meter: Great!
Mouthfuls: we forgot to count, but if H is enjoying food it disappears in big mouthfuls so probably not that many!
Courses: Breakfast
Health Rating: H said it was not healthy because of the jam...I asked him what "healthy" meant and he said "yucky"...hmm work needed there...(I would give it 8/10)
Price: about 4 CHF (£2.60)
Pieces of hair: 0
Pieces of grass: 1

Hope you enjoyed reading...we're off to see the Aletsch Glacier this morning, hope the breakfast sees us through until lunch...then again, we are on holiday, so we may find a nice boulangerie along the way!

Thanks to VEG for your inspiration and to VEG's Dad for your hard work in bringing this to us all and of course to everyone for the superb amount of money raised for Mary's Meals so far - its amazing how so little money can go so far - keep it coming!


Tuesday 24 July 2012

Dinner- Sheffield, UK

Hello, I am Julie, mum to 18 month old Robin. We also live in Sheffield, England although I grew up in New York State, USA. For dinner tonight we had beef stew, broccoli, Robin had some cream cheese and whole wheat tortilla wrap that he didn't finish at lunch time, and a cup of milk.

It isn't really stew weather where we are right now but we had it leftover from Friday so it really needed using up! The stew had beef, onions, potatoes, carrots, and peas--you can try making it for yourself if you want to, the recipe is here.

Food-O-Meter: 7/10 (Robin eats this meal better than most but any bites of peas or onion came right back out!)
Mouthfuls: 24 that I caught!
Course: Main
Health Rating: 9/10 (I think! I find it hard to judge but everything is home-made so it must be all right!)
Price: Somewhere around 75p for this portion.
Hair: None!
Spoons dropped and chewed up by the dog: 1

VEG's Dad To have your early years breakfast, lunch or dinner featured please send to NeverSeconds@gmail.com . Slots available!

Lunch- Vancouver, Canada

Hello and welcome!!
My name is Sarah, but you can call me Bento Mama! I’m bringing you today’s preschool (and elementary school) lunch all the way from Coquitlam, British Columbia CANADA! Coquitlam is a suburb of the well known Vancouver, and is home to my beautiful family of 6… Well, we’re actually a family of 4, however we have two 13 year old international students living with us on a short homestay program from Guangzhou, China
My son is 4, and my daughter will be 3 in September, and they both attend preschool on the elementary school grounds just at the end of our street. When my kids started at this preschool I gave myself a goal of creating fun and nutritious lunches for them to take to school each day. You can read about some of my adventures in bento making over at More Than Your Average Mom. My kids are in preschool Monday – Friday from about 7:30am – 4:30pm and they eat breakfast, morning snack, and lunch there, all provided by me, and an afternoon snack provided by the preschool. This is a stark contrast to my homestay students who eat FIVE meals a day at, and provided by their school in China which they attend from 9:00am – 9:00pm Monday – Friday.
I try to follow the Canada Food Guide when making my kids lunches, incorporating each of the 5 food groups with a little flair to make it fun for the kids!

Today’s lunch is an Under Sea Adventure! My kids love these Octo-dogs, and homemade cheesy pasta shells are always a hit too. Everyone got a left over homemade biscuit from last nights dinner, as well as some goldfish pretzel crackers to go with the underwater theme. Yogurt, apple slices and a mini cheese will make up the kids snack, and the illusive 6th food group (junk food) is covered with the jelly roll! A well balanced and fun lunch on the menu today!

Here’s today’s lunch rating (according to my kids!)
Food-o-meter: 10/10 (the kids LOVED the jelly rolls and the octo-dogs)
Mouthfuls: LOTS!!
Courses: Breakfast, Snack, and Lunch
Health Rating: 9/10, the jelly roll and lack of veggie brings this one down
Price: Cheap (probably around $2)
Pieces of hair: 0!
Dining time: 28 minutes!! That’s a long time for lunch, but numerous musical interludes of the “slippery fish” song delayed us finishing in a normal amount of time!

A big huge True North thanks to VEG and Daddy VEG for letting me guest post today! I’m absolutely honoured to be able to share my lunches with you, and hope that you’ll take a moment to share a lunch with Mary’s Meals by donating over here. It costs a mere £10.70 or $16.92 Canadian to feed a child for an entire year! I hope you've enjoyed my lunch, as much as I've enjoyed making and sharing it with you!
Bento Mama
aka: More Than Your Average Mom

Breakfast- Finland

Hi! I'm mother of three from Finland. I have two sons, 7 and 8 years old ones. They are going to primary school 1st and 2nd classes when new semester starts in August. My daughter is three years old. I'm homemom for her and childminder for three other kids ages one to three. I make and serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack for these little ones every Monday to Friday. Boys get their free lunch in school like every kid in Finnish schools, other meals they eats in home.

This time I like to present you most typically breakfast for my daughter. It contains rye bread with very thin slice of smoked ham and some veggies (lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomato and pepper), bowl of fresh fruits (grapes, watermelon and banana) and cup of hot chocolate.

I tried to ask her what she like about the breakfast. She told me that breakfast tastes good, and she ate everything else except watermelon, which she don't like. When I asked is it healthy or non-healthy, she answered healthy. So I think rates could be something like that:

Food-O-Meter: 8/10
Mouthfuls: Didn't count
Course: Breakfast
Healthy: 9/10 I take one point off because of hot chocolate, 'cause I can't find the better option with less sugar last time in store.
Price: I think less than 1€ or £0.80 for her portion.
Pieces of hairs: none

My 8 years old son rates the same breakfast like that:

Food-O-Meter: 9/10
Mouthfuls: Didn't count either
Course: Breakfast
Healthy: 10/10

Best regards,

Monday 23 July 2012

Dinner- Oklahoma City, USA

Hello from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma! This is a picture of my daughter, Taelyn's, dinner. She is three years old and loves to eat! What we have is a corndog muffin (just a cut up hotdog inside of cornbread) with ketchup for dipping, broccoli, grapes, and water to drink.

Food-o-meter: She loved it...especially the grapes!
Mouthfuls: Probably about 35 (she has a little mouth!)
Health: 9/10
Price: About $8 for all the ingredients (fed a family of 3 with leftovers!)
Dessert: Yes, she got dessert because she ate all of her dinner!

VEG's DadTo have your early years breakfast, lunch or dinner featured please send to NeverSeconds@gmail.com , thanks!

Lunch- Cambridge, UK

Hi, I'm Joy. I live in Cambridge, England, but I was brought up in Scotland. I have two children, Emily who's three and a half, and Fraser who's nearly 9 months. Fraser mostly eats purees and it's hard to get him to comment properly on the food(!), so I decided to write about Emily's dinner. I also interviewed her about it.

We try to cook our meals ourselves, but sometimes it's nice to have a break and go for something easier. So this evening we had chicken and asparagus pie from the supermarket, with hashbrowns, carrots and broccoli. We had fresh raspberries for dessert. Emily also had a yoghurt (actually a fromage frais). But it wasn't in the photo as she only decided she wanted it later.

Here's what Emily said about the food:
Me: what do you think of the food (main course)?
Emily: not nice
Me: what's your favourite bit?
Emily: the pie
Me: what else do you like?
Emily: this (the hashbrown) and this (the carrots)
Me: what don't you like?
Emily: the asparagus
Me: can you rate the food between 1 and 10? (I also tried to explain what that meant, clearly not very successfully!)
Emily: 1,2,3,4,5 lots of numbers!
Emily: (the broccoli) is like trees standing (I've also attached a photo of her demonstrating in case you wanted to include it)
Me: What are you drinking?
Emily: water. But I like milk
Me: which do you like best?
Emily: milk. And water. Both
Me: how healthy is the food?
Emily: nice
Me: do you like the dessert?
Emily: yes
Me: what's your favourite dessert?
Emily: raspberries
Me (surprised): do you like raspberries more than icecream?
Emily: Yeah, both
Me: what's your favourite fruit?
Emily: orange
Me: why?
Emily: cos it is. Why? Why? Why?
Emily: you can really eat the seeds from the raspberries. Really

Fraser actually had a mashed up raspberry for the first time. He screwed up his face, said "Eeurgh" and spat it out. So prob 0/10 then.

Food-o-meter: 6/10 (hard to tell from Emily's comments but she seemed to like some of the main course and all the dessert)
Mouthfuls: impossible to count but she ate about 2/3 of the main course and all the dessert
Course: main + dessert
Health: 7/10 the pie and hash brown weren't great but could have been worse and the fresh vegetables and fruit were good
Price: probably about £1.50 when you calculate Emily's part of the whole meal
Pieces of hair: 0

VEG's DadTo have your early years breakfast, lunch or dinner featured please send to NeverSeconds@gmail.com , thanks!

Breakfast- Sheffield, UK

Mummy and Bubba here from Sheffield This is my babies breakfast from today, he is 1 year and 1 week old.

As you can see he loves his fruit! Today he has had cherries (his first try of them, he loved them!) satsuma, blueberries (favourite) and Cheerios. He likes food he can eat with his hands as he is too little to use a spoon properly and is far too grown up (he thinks) to be fed. There was a sippy cup of milk too, but it didn't get into the picture.

Food-o-meter- 9/10
Mouthfuls- millions! He eats things one at a time!
Courses- breakfast
Health Rating- 10/10
Price- free.
Pieces of hair- 0
Pieces thrown on the floor- 10

VEG's DadTo have your early years breakfast, lunch or dinner featured please send to NeverSeconds@gmail.com , thanks!

Saturday 21 July 2012

The walls are really tall!

VEG here Thank you CJ, Joy, GJB and Sunflower Gal. Texas Tech sounds like such a big place. I think it's bigger than my town. Thanks for sharing your week and supporting Mary's Meals. Our fundraising stands at £112,241.16 which is amazing and kind of you all. Thanks.

It is only 69 days until we visit Malawi. We have been sent new pictures of the 'Friends of NeverSeconds' kitchen and now the walls are really tall!

It is a bigger building than I expected it to be and that's good. I am not sure what the roof will be and I wonder if it will be thatched. We may find out next week if we get more photos.

Yesterday Mary's Meals packed 7300 backpacks into a container in Glasgow to send to Malawi. I have sent two backpacks before and helped my Grandpa pack them off. In one I put a towel, some soap, pens and a ruler. In the other I put toothpaste and toothbrush, pencils, a sharpener and a t-shirt.

My grandpa helps gets the backpacks to Glasgow from children and schools. Daniel at Mary's Meals told me they have now sent 280,000! That's like everyone in my town making up 7 backpacks to send. I hope I can see some being given to the children in Malawi when I visit because Joseph Goelo of Mary’s Meals said,

“I wish you could be there sometimes when we share the backpacks with the children. They never get presents. They never get anything new. And then they suddenly have a beautiful backpack in their hands full of new and exciting things. Shiny eyes, smiling mouths and ‘thank you’, ‘thank you’, ‘thank you’!”

I am going to make up another backpack to take I think.


VEG's Dad

Please keep your preschool meals coming in, from home or daycare, to NeverSeconds@gmail.com for next week. We'll use as many as we can before heading to Perth, Australia to meet Pavlova, our next guest blogger.


Well, today is our final post, and I’m breaking it up into three parts.

Part 1: First, I’d really like to thank all of you for reading our posts this week. We have tried to keep Mary’s Meals at the forefront of our efforts, and I’m so glad that we have also had the chance to engage in discussions about available food choices, portion sizes, what “healthy” really means, etc. It’s been difficult for a group of adults, who all enjoy different kinds of lunches for different reasons, to try to create posts that appeal to both children and adults, and we do appreciate all of the comments and criticism, because how else can we learn and improve? Everyone in our group truly loves language, and we’ve had fun using regional colloquialisms- y’all, for example- and even playing with the idea of what “American” food is. I know yesterday’s writer tried to add some humor to that subject.
We are just a handful of students at a single university who love learning, writing, and occasionally a bit of silliness among other things. I’m including a link to Texas Tech so you can see pictures of the university and its surrounding landscape. As a comment on yesterday’s post mentioned, The United States is a vast and varied land. I have been fortunate enough to have lived and studied in many beautiful cities across several states. Our landscapes, culture, arts, lifestyles, and yes, food have myriad variations. Even the members of our small group of writers have had the good fortune to meet because we came to Texas for graduate study from all over the country. I’m not sure that there is anything that is “typically American,” other than a love of individualism and diversity, and hopefully we’ve managed to bring just a small amount of that to you this week. We truly and from the bottoms of our hearts thank you, VEG’s Dad, and most especially VEG herself for allowing us this opportunity of a lifetime.

Part 2: Now, after a bit of seriousness, here is “Sunflower Gal” -who studies art, arts administration, and playwriting- with today’s food review!
Just call me Sunflower Gal, since I’m from Kansas. I’m a grad student here at Tech, and I eat on campus frequently. Today I went by one of my favorite places, the Einstein Bros Bagels location in the Jerry Rawls College of Business building, or the new BA, as we call it around here. This location has been running since the building opened at the beginning of the spring semester. I was pretty excited to discover it, because not only do I have to walk right past the new BA every day I’m on campus to get to where I need to go, I’m also a big fan of their coffee, not to mention the bagels. Usually I’m there in the mornings, getting my coffee and an everything bagel, lightly toasted with light cream cheese. That’s light as in lower calorie, not lightly spread. I even ended up buying an Einstein Bros Bagels coffee travel mug, which has come in very handy.
Today I stopped in on my way home from campus to pick up lunch. While I did buy my lunch on campus, I brought it home to eat because I’d already spent most of my day on campus at work. Once I get off work I’m ready to leave campus and get home.

I purchased a turkey, bacon, and avocado sandwich. You can have a sandwich on any type of bagel, but I usually choose the bagel thin option, wheat. I love bread, hence my love of bagels, but not a lot of bread when I’m having a sandwich. I also bought fresh fruit and a bottle of water. When I got home I flavored my water with MiO’s peach tea flavor liquid. It’s 0 calories, has 0 sugar, 0 fat, 0 sodium, and makes my water taste great. What’s not to like? The sandwich had turkey breast, fresh avocado, sliced tomato, bacon, and lettuce on it, and it was yummy!

Food-O-Meter: 8/10
Mouthfuls: Oops, sorry, I forgot to count! (I ended up saving half the fruit cup for later because there was so much.)
Course: Main
Health: Pretty healthy
Price: $10.15 (US), £6.49670
Pieces of Hair: 0
Guns Up: 3

Part 3: CJ again with one final thought. We do again encourage the readers of this blog who are able to, to support VEG in her efforts to end hunger through Mary’s Meals and the Just Giving page. We also wish to remind readers that sadly, hunger exists everywhere, and I’m including links to The South Plains Food Bank of Lubbock and the SPFB Kids Café pages, so that you all can see some of the efforts taking place where we live to make sure that no family, and especially no child, has to go hungry. Again, thank you for reading our posts, and we now pass the torch back to a group of bloggers reviewing their little ones’ lunches from around the world!
Wishing y’all the best,
Calamity Jane

Friday 20 July 2012

A week for our young ones!

VEG's Dad here

It's a great week in Texas Tech. I am enjoying the chat and debate on how our school food may influence our choices later in life. Also on our differing nutritional needs when older.

So before we're back in term time and back in primary schools I thought a week of the food we give our kids before they go to school would be fascinating. We have received many lovely emails from Mums and Dads offering to guest blog so here's your chance. Please send an email with your post, a picture just of the meal, and rate it like VEG. For this week only it's ok for the parents to write! It can be breakfast, dinner or tea. If you'd like to send your email in a foreign language I'll post that with a translation (please include) as we did for Wales. I'd really like to have 3 meals a day for next week and travel as far as we can across the globe.

One of the reasons I'd like to see what we give our youngsters is because we will be visiting a Mary's Meal under 6 feeding centre in Malawi. Mary's Meals offers these children two meals a day as 'because their young age makes them more vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition'. It costs just 6p for a Mary's Meal, that's £10.70 a year, so please make a donation and we'll show you the difference you are making when we visit in October.

Looking forward to your contributions. I wonder where the preschool tour will kick off? VEG's geography skills will be tested!


VEG's Dad


Thursday 19 July 2012


Hello, y’all on a HOT Thursday afternoon! CJ here! Today, our writer says he prefers to be called “GeorgieJoeBrown,” which is quite a mouthful, so maybe, GJB??? He studies Rhetoric, is a fellow “ginger” like me, and I can tell he had fun writing this post for all of you!

GJB here I have to admit, when I was first asked to do short bit for this blog I hadn’t the slightest clue as to where on Texas Tech’s campus I wanted eat at and write about. What started out as a mission to find a unique place to write about has without a doubt turned into an obsession that will last for the rest of my time in Lubbock, TX.

At this point it may be helpful to give a little background on the restaurant itself. COWamongus! opened in February of 2005 thanks to the generosity of a TTU/Food Tech Alumnus and is today housed inside the university’s Animal and Food Science building. What makes it unique in relation to the other dining options on campus? First and foremost, the establishment is run by the Department of Animal Science itself. It has nothing to answer to outside of the university, and is staffed by students. This is a stark contrast to the other options on campus which tend to be fully staffed and operated by an outside corporation.

What makes COWamongus! the true treasure of Texas Tech is far more exciting than merely local operation, however. Plainly put, the answer lies in the food itself. All of the meat that is served at COWamongus! is produced by the university itself. The livestock is raised on Texas Tech’s ranch, processed, and cooked all by Tech students. This is about as wonderfully American as you can get, and to jump the gun a little, the effect on the food is fantastic.

The menu holds a variety of different options. From burgers to hot ham sandwiches and salads to university produced ice cream, the restaurant can silence the hunger pains of anyone’s gut. For my first visit I chose to try something simple enough to give me a grasp on the basic building blocks of restaurant. Thus:

A bacon cheeseburger with tater tots and a coke. American enough to make you hum yankee doodle and delicious enough to make every other dining option want to go back the drawing board. I mean, what’s not to like?

It was hard to turn down this dish when I noticed the majority of everyone else around me indulging themselves in it. The beef was cooked perfectly. Juicy enough to hold the flavor, but firm enough to stop the whole thing from falling apart. And the bacon, oh…the BACON! I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I was awake on account of its being so good. Not a floppy mess, mind you, but crisp and skinny.

To be completely honest, if you’ve looking for the healthy food option, you may be barking up the wrong tree with COWamongus!, though there are a few tidbits you should consider before writing it off completely. First off, this isn’t your normal processed and shipped meat chucked full of preservatives and who knows what else. The beef is brought in fresh daily. The bacon is brought in fresh daily. Frankly, you’re not going to find a much more authentically healthy option anywhere close, unless you’re running a farm and driving cattle in your spare time, of course.

Food-o-meter: I'll give it the best just because it was fantastic.
Mouthfuls: 8-10, depending in how big your mouth is. Add 30 more for the tater tots.
Courses: main
Health: Ummmm… (pretty low…)
Price: $5.00 or £3.18 (much more reasonable than past days, at least)
Guns-up meter: 5/5. This is about as guns up as you can get.

CJ back just to wish y’all a good night, and remind everyone that with all we’ve paid on our meals at school so far this week, we could have fed three kids for about a year through Mary’s Meals. Thanks for your continuing support of VEG’s great cause, and please keep those donations coming. I hope one day the only debate we have about food is whether or not we made healthy choices, because we all have choices to make, and no one has to worry about having food at all.

I’m excited to wrap all this up for you tomorrow, and pass the torch (… seems appropriate since we all know what special event is coming up in sports next week!) to the next guest blogger! I’m excited to begin reading posts by VEG again, too! I know we all miss her! Thanks, y’all!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

A Joy-ous Meal

Howdy again! It’s CJ! I’m just writing a brief intro to introduce today’s blogger, Joy!
I've been learning so much from all of the comments, and I hope to get to reply to some of them soon. I hope I haven’t disappointed thus far. I do think the context post has sparked a really nice conversation. We’re just trying to cover a really wide variety of options available to students. Joy has lived on campus for several years, whereas I only lived on it my first year, so she offers some nice insight to how our dining plans work.
Also, just so you know a bit more about us, I’m working on a second master’s degree in Communication Studies and Arts/Non-profit Administration. I also have a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Arts from Texas Tech. Joy is also studying Communication Studies and has a bachelor’s degree and will soon have a master’s degree from Tech. We both love “Raiderland”!!!
I know there are fellow “Red Raiders” all over the world, so I did want to offer a nod to the writer from Nairobi, a fellow Tech grad!
Now, without further ado, here’s Joy!

Today’s lunch:

I feel that having been a student at Texas Tech University for six years and having lived on campus for at least four of those years that further explanation must be given for pricing and content of food choices available.

Each residence hall or dormitory has a dining hall that accompanies it. Some of the food choices are cafeteria style, some are more along the lines of fast food, and still others are available so that an individual may tailor his/her food choices to suit dietary needs (or satisfy a picky eater). The contents of some food choices on campus that are usually ready to eat are also usually very high in salt, sugar, and fat which may be a partial attribution to the “freshman fifteen” (or more). There are lots of food choices, both good and bad available, but when students enter college some of them do not always make the best choices and it can be difficult to navigate all of the available options to make the best choice. There are informational sheets available that explain many eating options and ways to make better choices which may be helpful to the students if used properly. Additionally, a vast majority of the food is priced for students who purchase dining plans with their housing so that it is all inclusive. The monetary value of the dining plan is stored on the student’s identification card much like a credit card. The students who live in the dining hall usually do not pay attention to how much the food costs since it is “paid for anyway” they just get what they want, swipe their card, and leave. For those who purchase food and do not have student dining plans the food costs even more because the student discount is not applied and the food is usually increased in price out of convenience and other costs that go into preparing it.

Today I really wanted to go to my favorite custom salad place and order the 4-day salad. I call it that because the amount of salad that I receive usually is enough to last me for one meal (lunch or dinner) for four days. The salad is custom made and usually is purchased by the pound, but due to a summer camp, the salad place is temporarily closed and an “All you can eat” food center is now in its place. So I walked over to another one of my favorite places and ordered a custom made Wok instead.

The Wok portion of the meal is a custom made dish that is prepared from ingredients that are selected by the patron and then cooked in front of you to ensure quality and freshness of the meal. A patron can choose to either have their food cooked in oil or steamed in water. I chose to have my order steamed so I ordered my favorite Wok which consists of: steamed rice, water chestnuts, broccoli heads, chicken breast, red onion, chopped celery, sliced mushroom, and a little bit of soy sauce for seasoning. I also received a complimentary fortune cookie with my order. I purchased a bottle of green tea and a bottle of water in addition to an apple. The chopsticks are used to monitor the amount of food eaten in a bite. This creates an awareness of food instead of just shoveling it in with a fork or spoon.

Food-o-meter: 6/10 (not sure how this works so rating is on the safe side)
Mouthfuls: I forgot to count (Sorry, I’m not used to counting mouthfuls.) I can tell you that there was enough food there to last for both lunch and dinner so it was almost like getting two meals for the price of one.
Courses: Main
Price: $10.23 £6.5434
Pieces of hair: 0
Guns Up: 1.5

CJ, here to sign off! This looked really yummy to me. I see there is even a fortune cookie. I think that’s an American thing. Y’all have a great day!

Veg's Dad here

It's late in the UK and when I say VEG is asleep in the tent what I mean is she's reading by torchlight and thinks I don't know! I just wanted to say how wonderful it is that Dave Brown commented on your post with the news that he and his employer have got together and donated £200 to Mary's Meals. That takes the NeverSeconds JustGiving page past £112,000, thanks Dave! At £10.70 to provide a Mary's Meal for a year to a child it means Dave's generosity along with his employers will offer a school lunch to 18 children for a whole year. That's incredible. Thanks Dave for the donation and thanks CJ and Joy for blogging.

Let's not forget how little it takes to make a difference, £10.70 a year. The cost of Joy's meal today would have meant a school dinner for a child for 7 months.

Coming up!

VEG's Dad here

I want to take the opportunity to share with you the exciting coming weeks on the blog as children guest bloggers take over.

23rd July-

30th July- Australian Primary School – No lunches provided in Australia so how do you make packed lunches appealing, interesting and healthy in a hot country?

6th August- Brazil – Big difference between public and private school dinner provision. Bloggers two primary aged boys.

13th August- Girl Scout Camp, USA. A week of open air cooking and camping from California, USA. Expect songs!

20th August- Finland- Primary school in Mikkeli. School meals provided free of charge in Finland.

27th August- South Korean Primary School (to be confirmed)

3rd September- Canada- Canadian First Nation Peoples. Traditional food from an amazing culture. (to be confirmed)

10th September- Japan- Primary School in Tokyo sharing their culture of school lunches.

17th September- United Nations International School, New York. Children from around the world bringing in food from their home countries.

24th Sept- Switzerland- School in Geneva. Pupils supported by a Geography teacher in preparation for….

1st Oct-12th Oct- VEG and family visiting Malawi to visit and meet the children receiving the ‘Friends of NeverSeconds’ kitchen. Guest bloggers invited back to ask questions for VEG to find out to help understand Malawi and the work of Mary’s Meals.

15th Oct- A different school each day from the projects Mary’s Meals supports from around the world.

Our guests will write in their own language first and English second. We'll also be bringing sound clips so we can hear our guests in their own voices!

It's going to some journey.

VEG's Dad


Options in Context!

Hello again from West TX!

I have been really excited to read the comments and feedback from everyone so far! I had never thought about my Food-o-meter ratings compared to VEG and some of the other writers from around the world. Most of those meals have included a bit of all the “food groups.” I tend to eat very “light” lunches consisting of fruits and veggies and perhaps a grain. I rarely eat a protein with lunch, because I incorporate them into breakfasts and/or dinners.

In an American cafeteria setting, most of the proteins are highly processed, or sometimes greasy or high in sodium. I try to pick the freshest thing available to me. On Monday, outside of the salad station at that particular dining hall, there was pizza, a grill (mostly fatty things like cheese steaks or burgers), stir-fried options prepared in a wok (but nothing looked very fresh), and a Tex-Mex station that had tacos, burritos, and huge “fiesta” bowls filled with high fat options.
Given my choices, I decided on fresh cut fruit. I was nice and cool with our hot weather and the freshest option available at the time. I do have a bad habit of sipping on sodas sometimes, and I don’t think in our public school system that children can choose them as an option anymore. But, it was so hot that day that nice, cool water was swapped out after the picture. (I also thought it was neat to find out that it isn't available worldwide!) The multi-grain chips/crisps are something brand new, and I looked at how low in fat and calories they were. They were really lightly dusted with the flavor, but I didn't check the carbs. I had a protein (beef) that night with dinner, because I can better control its freshness and preparation at home. Also, I couldn't eat a brownie that big in one sitting, but quartering it after diner made a little three-bite treat, and I haven’t had a bite of what was left over yet. As for Tuesday’s smoothie, I had made a vegetable scramble (eggs and veggies) that morning with some bread on the side, so having a bit of fruit and yogurt to carry me through until I went home to make a healthy dinner seemed OK at the time.

Our First Lady has been working to improve school lunches and encouraging kids to get active. Healthy choices are often sacrificed for the sake of convenience here. We also suffer from what Americans call “portion distortion.” I’m not sure other areas in the world have as much trouble with that one. Some mayors and governors in the US are even trying to get food laws passed regarding portions, warning labels for fast food, etc. I try to do the best I can on-campus, and really focus on health in what I make for myself, but kids don’t get to make those kinds of decisions, so I’m glad that many adults are campaigning for healthier options to be available to them.

I hope adding a bit of context helps. I really admire VEG for not only raising awareness about areas where children don’t have food at all, but also raising awareness of where the quality of and choices for food need to be improved.
Our prices are really high, but people that purchase a campus dining plan save a lot (20%-50%). I’m not sure that it’s worth the investment for me, because usually I only eat on campus 1 to 2 times per week, which leads me to an introduction!

Now, after maybe adding some context to American options, without me rambling anymore, let me introduce Joy, a fellow master’s degree student who is helping me to team blog this week. There aren't many grad students who eat on campus every day, so a group of us is contributing to the posts! Enjoy, y’all!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Soup not smoothie.

Hello, y’all!
It’s CJ again writing from Texas Tech University!
Today I made a REALLY BIG breakfast at home before I headed over to the campus. (They say everything is bigger in Texas… I know the portions are!)
Since I had so much food this morning, I had a smoothie for lunch, which was a nice meal substitute. Do smoothies go by different names in different countries? I never thought about that until today.
It came from a little gelato place in our Student Union Building called “Cold Corner.”
My smoothie was called the “Strawberry Safari.” (They all have fun names like that on the menu.)

It was made with: orange sorbetto, apple juice, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, a yogurt base, and ice. They put all the ingredients in a blender until the ice is smooth, like slush.
It was quite good, and since it was very hot here today (mid 90s Fahrenheit), it was wonderfully cool as well!
Here are my ratings…

Food-o-meter: 9/10 (It’s very sweet, so not 100% healthy.)
Mouthfuls: 36 (sips and gulps!)
Courses: (Drinkable) Main
Price: $4.32 US or £2.76
Pieces of Hair: 0 (unless they got blended in and I didn't know…)
Guns Up: 2!
I am so excited to see the progress on the kitchen in Malawi! I hope y’all remember to keep supporting Mary’s Meals over the summer!


Dear Calamity Jane,

I have been cycling all day. It's fun going downhill but very hard going up. I even cycled down some steps. It was very bumpy and I have mud on my legs. I had a big breakfast as well. I had fruit with yoghurt and cereal. I was hungry at lunchtime and I don't think a smoothie would have helped me get back on my bike. Here's my lunch.

It is a roll that we made at the picnic table. It's a Lancashire 'bottom of the oven' muffin and in it I had some pepper and onion soft cheese. I also had a little cake and some fruit and nuts. The grapes were very nice and not crushed in Mum's rucksack. I was still thirsty after I had finished my water.

Food-o-meter- 8/10
Mouthfuls- 41
Courses- Picnic!
Health Rating- 6/10 but I was cycling!
Price- ?
Pieces of hair- 0

I don't think a smoothie is a proper lunch. Please please please have a good lunch tomorrow. If you want to drink your lunch please have some soup.

Tomorrow I am cycling to a castle where they filmed Harry Potter.




After the technology issues I've had today, I think a good name for y’all to call me is Calamity Jane or CJ for short. In West Texas we do say “y’all,” but we don’t really say “howdy.”
I’m a graduate student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. How many seconds???
Texas Tech is the second largest continuous university campus in the United States. (The Air Force Academy is only bigger because of the runways.) Our mascots are Raider Red and The Masked Rider, and students are known as Red Raiders. We even call Lubbock “Raiderland.” Since the campus is so large, we have dozens of dining options around campus. The goal this week is to offer a sampling of what different choices our on-campus eateries offer to diners. So, without further ado, here is my Monday meal!
Today I ate at one of the dining halls inside one of our residence halls, which is conveniently close to our new College of Business building. There are many stations with many choices, and today I visited the sandwich and salad station.

I had a fruit bowl with yogurt dressing, some multi-grain chips sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon, and since I chose such healthy items, I also picked out a big brownie with fudge icing and pecans sprinkled on top for dessert. (I was too full for the dessert, so my mom- who is visiting me- and I each ate a quarter of it after our dinner.) There is a Cherry Coke in the picture, but I ended up drinking a bottle of water instead.
Here are my ratings…

Food-o-meter: 8/10
Mouthfuls: Around 37
Courses: Salad/side
Health Rating: 9/10
Price: Approximately $9.00 US or £5.75(they didn't give me my receipt, so I tried to remember what each item was marked…)
Pieces of Hair: 0 (yea!)
Grape Seeds: 6 (some of them were seedless)
Guns Up: 1

This last one refers to a gesture we make with our hands when we cheer on our sports teams. We say “Get Your Guns Up!” I thought my enthusiasm for the meal would be 0, 1, or 2 “guns up.” Today was pretty good, so 1.

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about Texas Tech! I’m excited to keep sharing with you this week!

Here is a message from another student who likes to make healthy choices:

Hello VEG!
I'm Edmilson and I study Master's in Economics in Araraquara (this
might be hard finding).
Congratulations for your blog! It's very inspiring! I'm very concerned
about eating healthy and fresh, and that our kids know it too.
I study in a public university and we have very cheap food: it's not
the greatest, but here it's good - better than where I graduated.
I don't know if you can notice, but it's a lot of food! Sometimes it's
hard eating it all.

We have a menu for every day, but usually lunch and dinner are the
same. We get rice and beans, salad, some protein (beef), some side
dish (steamed chayote), bread (optional), a dessert (jelly) and a
juice, if we bring our own cup - but it tastes so artificial I don't
drink it.

Food-o-meter- 7/10
Mouthfuls- more than I can count; sometimes more than I can eat
Courses- main/dessert
Health Rating- 8/10
Price- £0,86 (!!!)
Pieces of hair- 0 - never found one here, gratefully!

Best regards from Brazil,

CJ again!

Also… one more big congrats to VEG for her work with Mary’s Meals! I would like to remind all the readers to check out the website, and for my fellow US readers, there is a Mary’s Meals America! Keep the donations coming and assist VEG in helping to provide schoolchildren a healthy meal everyday at school!

Monday 16 July 2012

Time zones and technical glitches!

Mobile internet failing so post will wing its way from Texas in their evening. That's our midnight. I'll make an early start to get it published as soon as I can!

Great chance to say still open to offers to guest blog next week and keep your photos coming please. NeverSeconds@gmail.com

Meanwhile have a listen to this The Extraordinary Food Story of Martha Payne , you may recognise the voices!

Veg's Dad

Friday 13 July 2012



Today we break up for the summer holidays. I am going home for summer of MEAT, BURGERS and DRINKS.

There are no school lunches today but NAYK makes me cake at the end of a term if I have had no yellow slips. You get yellow slips if you cannot behave in a class and have to be sent out.

I got cranberry and orange muffins.

Food-o-meter- 10/10
Courses- dessert
Price- free
Pieces of hair- 0
Flowers- 0

Have a great summer thank you for having me.


VEG here Thanks NAH. I hope you enjoyed your cakes.

I have been very excited all day because I wanted to show you this picture of our Mary's Meals kitchen being built in Malawi. It is at the school in Lirangwe.

It's brilliant that building has started. I can't wait to see it up and cooking. The kids will love it. There will be a sign 'Friends of NeverSeconds'. I will take a photo of the children with the kitchen. I hope it gets finished before the rainy season comes.

Sheila and Rich from the radio sent me their rating of my soup. I made it from things we grow in the polytunnel. They liked it!

Food-o-meter- 10/10
Mouthfuls- 35
Courses- main but we had amazing beetroot cakes too.
Health Rating- 9/10
Price- free!
Pieces of hair- none, but I think I inhaled a Llama hair later
Wristband- none, it might have rubbed on the microphone

There is a photo of the polytunnel and details of the radio programme here. I have been sent lots of really nice lunches with 10/10 scores and I think you should all nominate them for this award. If they win you might get seconds!


VEG's Dad here

Thanks to the Steiner School in Hereford for being this week's guests. Schools all over the world are on holiday at the moment and so we're visiting Texas Tech, USA, to experience some University food. Please keep sending your pics in and also if you'd like to guest blog let me know! It might be you blogging week after next!


Thursday 12 July 2012

In School today.

Hi my name is not a Hippie,
This is my first day in school for 3 days because I have been doing stuff. Yesterday I was in Hereford and was lining up to see the Queen. It was not very good because the Queen was in her car and she was going at 2mph. So I am very sleepy and grumpy.

The school lunches are not very good and they can put people off their food and sometimes it is the best ever. My favourite is the school soup and apple pie. Today is the new lunch menu and it's the pasta. Pasta with garlic butter and cheese coleslaw and salad. Cake a bit dry. Every week is the same menu I think that is boring.

Food-o-meter- 8/10 NOM
Mouthfuls 25+ it was too much for me to eat it all.
Courses- Main/dessert
Pieces of hairs- 0
Number of flowers 1 (orange flower)

It cost £12.50 a week for my dinners and only £10.70 for Mary's Meals to feed a child in school for a whole year.


Thanks NAH. Veg here. Cake without a plate? That rhymes!

I have seen things that make me smile today. First I saw my friends new calf in the sun. It was really cute and jumped and played. Then I watched Dad paint our naked sheep with tar. Naked sheep are funny because their lambs don't recognise them. The tar covers cuts to stop flies. I wanted to show you my lunch that makes me smile. I think it is very Scottish.

It is a macaroni cheese pie! Do you have pasta pies like these? I used the microwave to heat it for 1 minute. The pastry goes soft that way. I don't have them very often and Dad showed me the packet.

Food-o-meter- 10
Mouthfuls- 19
Price- 62p

Can you help me give it a health rating please?

My radio guests sent me a rating for my soup they tried. I'll tell you about it tomorrow!


Wednesday 11 July 2012

1 minute 20 seconds

It's Veg again! Our guests had an important visitor to their town today. It was the Queen and so they didn't go to lunch at school.

I can reveal that the best lunch for crabs is......Venison! You were right more crabs went to the bacon but they fell. The crabs on the venison hugged it with all their legs and stayed on. My brother caught the biggest crab so we will have to go back.

Venison-13 + a fish

Dad had to say a lot of 'colders' and 'warmers' before I found where this dinner came from.

It is from the Republic of Maldives (1 minute 20s) which I found in the sea near India. There are lots of islands in the Maldives. Laura sent in the photo and said,

'Here's a picture of school lunch that some of my students have to eat
(I'm a teacher) in the Maldives. It's not strictly their lunch, but an
afternoon snack. There's too many children for our classrooms, so the
older children come in between 6.45am until 12.30pm, then the younger
children come in from 1pm until 5.20pm.

The noodles are the same as what you have in the UK (my home
country!), the triangle is called a bajiyaa and the ball is a gula,
both are a mixture of tuna, rice and coconut, but they taste very
different to each other. Mothers prepare them fresh everyday and then
bring them to school at breaktime.'

I like noodles but I am not sure about the gulas. I can't imagine how they taste but they look crunchy. Maybe I should try and make them for my lunch. It sounds like a really busy school. There are nearly 2000 children at the school in Malawi I am going to visit. That is a lot.

We had some visitors this week from the radio. They had some soup I made for lunch but I forgot to ask them to rate it. The programme will be on this weekend. The weather is good so Dad says tomorrow we will shear the sheep!


Yesterday is now today!

As the blog travels we are going to have hiccups and we had one yesterday so here's yesterday today!- Veg's Dad

I (Not a yoghurt knitter) work at our school as a teaching assistant. ‘Not a Hippy’ is the person I support most of the time and he is 15 years old. Yesterday he had a brilliant time in the Black Mountains but has not come back with a dragon. Today he has not been with me as he was out on a quest, for knowledge, and had lunch there (day out at one of the Hereford colleges). It is all very exciting as the Queen is coming to Hereford for about an hour it seems tomorrow. NAH is going to be on parade with the Air Cadets. I hope she brings her wellies as it has been very wet and boggy here but it is sports day for those who do not wish to see the Queen.

I have asked for some help from the children in Class IV who are about 9 or 10 years old. I have asked boys O and Z to comment on this wonderful lunch because I was assigned to their class today. The children at the Steiner school are not exposed to working with computers until they get in to the upper school, I think the hunt for the location will be a warm up game later in the week.

‘The curry contains cauliflower, onions, carrots and chickpeas. The sauce is a homemade sauce (nothing from jam jars here) made from ginger, garlic, chili and turmeric with onion and mustard seeds, the sauce is bright yellow and creamy. It’s served with a pea and lentil dhal and brown basmati rice. We also had a lovely light rhubarb sponge and cream or fresh fruit. The rhubarb had been grown at the school by the pupils at the school. We do lots of land work as part of the curriculum.

Food-o-meter- 5/10
Mouthfuls-" we were too busy chatting to count but we think it may have been about 40"
Courses- main/dessert
Health Rating- 10/10 (VERY healthy, so healthy today is tie the duvet down Tuesday)
Price- £2.50
Pieces of hair- 0 (no flowers either)’

I know where yesterday's dinner is from, and the secret is safe with me!


Tuesday 10 July 2012

Bacon or Venison?

VEG here! I thought I'd try a food experiment today because it's the holidays. I went down to the end of the Crinan Canal (1 second!). We didn't have any fish heads in the freezer so we took some bacon and some neck of venison.

I wanted to work out what local crabs liked for their lunch so I had both baits on my crabbing line. Dad put the bait on and I lowered it in next to the wall. I caught 14 crabs and 1 fish in total. Guess which bait was brilliant and which almost failed.... I'll tell you tomorrow!

Here's a photo of a school dinner you have sent in. I'm going to play the warm...warmer...hot....roasting game tomorrow with Dad to find the country it came from on the globe. I'll tell you how long it takes me and all about the food tomorrow.

I feel like an animal tamer today because I rescued a bird in the conservatory and picked the fish out of the bucket of crabs. The bird let me pick it up and the crabs didn't nip me.

Sorry it's a crab's dinner but we've not heard from our guests today.


Monday 9 July 2012


Thank you to Blod for last weeks interesting Tales from Wales. Veg is still on holiday so we "Not a Hippy" and "Not a Yoghurt Knitter" are having a week in her seat keeping it cosy. We are just over the boarder from Blod in Herefordshire.

Our school is The Steiner Academy Hereford. Steiner schools are a bit different, it is a more holistic approach to education about the child and not targets. Many people think that these schools are for the children of muesli munching yoghurt knitting hippies because the children wear their own bright clothes and chunky boots not a uniform. Steiner education caters to the more creative side of a child. Usually people have to pay to send their children to one of these schools but now we are an Academy and any one can come here for free if there is a place for them.

The day is structured differently. In the morning the children start off by saying a verse, they play recorder and then do movement. After that they start the main lesson. This will be the same topic every morning for several weeks rather that having a lesson of Maths, English, RE, Geography, History or Art each day. There is usually a story to go with the lesson to be remembered for the next day.

The lunches here are vegetarian. The dinner ladies are some of the parents of the students. Each week the menu is the same and there is only 1 choice take it or leave it BUT the food is SO tasty and very wholesome you do not want to leave it. My favourite is the curry (Tuesday).

Today is pizza with carrot sticks, salad and coleslaw, with vegetarian pink jelly for pudding or fresh fruit. The pizza is crispy wholemeal base with a smooth tomato plain cheese topping with no burnt bits. The salad is a crunchy green lettuce and fresh green herb salad with nasturtiums and marigolds in. The coleslaw was creamy. The jelly is pink fruit. The dinner ladies cook everything from scratch and everything is locally sourced or comes on the supermarket truck on a Monday. There never seems to be much waste.

Food-o-meter- 10\10
Mouthfuls- 50
Course- main/dessert
Health rating- 10/10
price £2.50
pieces of hair 0

see you tomorrow,
Not a Yoghurt Knitter (Not a Hippy is away on a class trip to the Black Mountains possibly dragon hunting)

VEG here! Dad didn't pass a sent in meal to NAYK in time today so here's a meal from Japan. The blog is visiting Japan for week so there will be more from where this came from!

"Hi, VEG! I'm a big fan of your blog. My name is Corinna, and I'm an American who teaches English in Japan. Here is a photo of today's school lunch. It is my favorite, curry and rice and edamame salad. Here in Japan, there is milk every day and rice at least three days a week. Only the fast eaters get seconds, but the food is very delicious, so the children play rock paper scissors to see who gets the extra! Also, the children serve each other and then clean everything up after!"

Rock paper scissors for seconds, cool!

Friday 6 July 2012

Haia, BLOD yma. Heddiw roedd yna fwydlen arbennig yn y gegin i ddathlu twrnament tennis Wimbledon (oeddech chi’n meddwl mai’r gemau Olympaidd fasa’r thema?!). Gwisgodd rhai plant wisg ffansi. Mi wnes i wisgo crys-t, sgert a chap. Rydym wedi cael nifer o ddiwrnodau thema eraill, fel diwrnod Americanaidd, a diwrnod Mecsicanaidd. Fe allwch weld bob un yma, yn cynnwys llun ohonof fi a fy mrawd o heddiw.

Ar y fwydlen arbennig roedd: pitsa selsig, sglodion, wedges, ffa pob, salad, a bara. Dwi ddim yn siŵr os ydynt yn bwyta pitsa efo selsig arno yn Wimbledon, ond dim ots gen i gan ei fod yn fendigedig. Ond mae ganddynt fefus yno, a dyna oedd i bwdin heddiw (efo jeli). Cymerais lun o’r mefus i ddangos i chi ond mi wnes i roi nhw i fy ffrind oherwydd dydw i ddim yn hoffi mefus. Roedd bwyd heddiw yn fendigedig. Doedd o ddim y fwyd iachaf o’r wythnos, ond roedd yn flasus, a dwi’n credu ei fod yn bwysig i blant ddysgu i fwynhau bwyd. Ond mae’r pitsa yn cael ei wneud yn ffres ac mae ganddo pum llysieuyn gwahanol ynddo.

Hi, BLOD here. Today there was a special menu in the kitchen to celebrate the Wimbledon tennis tournament finals (you thought it would be the Olympics didn’t you?!). Some children wore fancy dress. I wore a t-shirt, skirt and cap. We have had lots of other theme days at dinner time, like an American day and a Mexican day. You can see all of them here, including a picture of my brother and I from today.

The special menu was: sausage pizza, chips, wedges, baked beans, salad and bread. I’m not sure if they eat sausage pizzas at Wimbledon, but I don’t care because it was delicious! They do have strawberries though, and that was our pudding on some jelly. I took a picture of the strawberries to show you but I gave them to a friend because I don’t like them. Today’s food was delicious. It wasn’t the healthiest thing we have had all week but it is nice, and I think it is important that children get to enjoy food. But the pizza base is homemade and has five different vegetables in it.

Food-o-meter: 10/10
Courses: main/dessert
Mouthfulls: 50
Price: £1.85
Pieces of hair: 0 (none all week, phew, the cook is relieved!)
Stickers: 0 (but 4 for other people)

I have really enjoyed being the first guest-blogger. The week has gone quickly. Thank you for all the kind comments, I loved reading them. I’m a little bit sad that we’ve finished but I’m looking forward to reading what comes next. Good luck to the next school, Hereford Steiner Academy from Dewchurch, England, who will be taking over on Monday and I hope VEG has a lovely summer holiday. Perhaps one day we’ll meet! Keep up the good work with your justgiving page http://www.justgiving.com/neverseconds/ for Mary’s Meals. I want to finish with a big thank you to the people who cook our dinners. I really think my school cook is the best in the whole wide world. But I would – did I forget to mention? She’s my mum ;-)


Thanks BLOD!

What a great week of food. Your Mum is an amazing cook! My favourite meal you had was Monday's Spaghetti Bolognese and I am going to try and bake a chocolate cake with sweet potato and beetroot. I really like baked beetroot with a roast. I enjoyed hearing your language and I am trying to learn to say LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH but I don't sound like Niamh yet! It's been great reading the blog everyday and I am looking forward to next week when it visits England. Dad asks you please to keep sending your pics in and if your school would like to guest blog for a week in August or September please get in touch! NeverSeconds@gmail.com

I've been busy camping in the rain but it was great fun to explore new places. I have been on huge roller coasters, to Babe at the theatre and penny arcades (I lost all my 2 pences!)

It's nice to be home and to see all the animals. There is a Red Squirrel outside waiting for me to fill the peanuts but Mum saw a Pine Marten this morning so I hope the squirrels will be ok.

I think we have dates decided to visit Malawi in October to visit the children and the Friends of NeverSeconds kitchen but I may need some jags before I go! Ouch.