Sunday, 30 December 2012

Kindle Special offer

Veg's dad here

Just wanted to quickly let you all know what that our book is part of Amazon's 12 Days of Kindle promotion and is currently only 99p!

Same support to Mary's Meals so grab a bargain for you and your friends whilst supporting Martha's favourite charity.

Grab it here.


Friday, 21 December 2012

A Christmas Thank you message!

I started recording this on my camera then found out that on JustGiving you must use a webcam! Here is the link.

NeverSeconds JustGiving Page

The BBC has updated our documentary and it is being shown this weekend on BBC1 Scotland on Sunday at 5.30pm and also on the BBC News Channel and on BBC World on the 26th December.

There is more info here.

Thank you all and Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Hello again from Frankfurt am Main.

Dear VEG!

Last week my younger daughter didn’t go to daycare twice because she had dentist appointments. I wanted to pick her up from school but was early and she hadn’t been to lunch yet so I went to the canteen with her.

On Thursday, the children had the choice between ratatouille with rice and fish sticks with potatoes and rémoulade. Friday’s menu offered different kinds of pizza and salad. At least that’s what the sign at the entrance said.

My daughter went for the fish … uhm … thing on thursday. It was some sort of slobber with greenish spots – I assume they were herbs of some kind – held together by a concrete-like shell of breadcrumbs. She was given a large blob of ketchup with it because there wasn’t any rémoulade (which she would have preferred). She didn’t even ask for potatoes or rice as sides “because they’re never good, either they’re still hard or there’s too much salt”. However, I took a bite of this fish thing: it was cold, the crust bone-dry and the slobber inside had a fish-like taste but was as far from fish filet as it could possibly be.

Friday’s lunch: Pizza. One of the children’s favourite. It came in the size and texture of crisp bread. The tomato sauce was burnt to charcoal and the salami could not be found. Again, the food was cold. I asked my daughter to get herself some salad and for reasons I don’t understand the only choice that day was potato salad (which in my opinion doesn’t go with pizza, but oh well…). It was surprisingly good but I guess it wasn’t cooked there but bought in large buckets.

My daughter and her friends said that usually the pizza is a lot better, usually the best tasting food offered at the canteen. They also said that the food isn’t always that bad.

Usually, I'm not picky but I wouldn't want any of those two meals on my plate. And I'm no longer surprised that my child comes home hungry quite often.

And the winner is........

OK. I will now announce the results!

Aichi won the Victory for the The School Lunch of the Year in Japan (Kyushoku Koshien) in 2012.
Defending champion, Wakayama finished second prize this Year.

I was surprised that David tweeted "Wakayama and Aichi scored " after I posted the latest report.
"How do they know that???" (I was adding up the twitter votes! - Veg's dad)

I have checked all of plates on site. I also have tasted these menu. Then, I guess who will win.
But that expectation was ill-founded.

First prize menu of Aichi is;
Cooked Rice with Baby Sardine and Green Tea Powder (left),
Teriyaki Chicken Meat Loaf with Local Grown Vegetable, Lotus Roots Salad (center),
Deepsea Smelt and Carrot Ball Soup (right),
Green Tea Flavored Rice Cake Stuffed with Bean Jam, and Milk.
Sounds delicious?

Thank you and best regards,


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Can you pick the winner? Tweet your answer to @NeverSeconds!

School Lunch of The Year 2012 in Japan

Dear Martha, and all friends,

Long time no see. Doni is back here. How are you doing?

There is school lunch news from Japan.
Do you remember I tell you before about school lunch cooking contest?

The competition namely "Kyushoku Koshien" (学校給食甲子園) was held in Tokyo last Sunday (2nd of December).

Winter is really here. I find it hard to get up early on cold mornings. But Totally 12 schools and central kitchens cooked exciting at the competition. 2271 schools and central kitchens from all over the country applied for the contest. And 12 schools and kitchens passed the preliminary screening for finalist.

Now, let me just run over some criteria and rules for this competition;

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

Guess what they are doing. They are washing their hands. Yes. It is normal. We should wash our hands before cooking and eating. And then, how long does it take to wash hands? They should take 2 minutes. I worry that washing will chap their hands.

You can see there are four colored Aprons hung on the wall. Each colored apron is used separately depending on the cooking process.

And also you see some thermometer on the table. That is inserted into the center of a roast. It should be checked once the required temperature in food has been obtained.

Sometimes, they also change gloves depending on the process.

It is our standard sanitation management process for school meals based on HACCP(Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point). And all things of the above are in order to avoid food poisoning.

As you might know, every children must eat same menu and plates in average public schools. It means there is no other alternative for their lunch. Therefore, to prepare school lunch , the most important thing is to prevent food poisoning.

Have I kept you waiting? Let’s see school lunches of finalist for School lunch of The Year 2012 in Japan.

1) Iwate

2) Fukushima

3) Tochigi

4) Saitama (My Place, I cheered.) ;-)

5) Niigata

6) Nagano

7) Aichi

8) Wakayama (Defending champion of 2011)

9) Hiroshima

10) Ehime

11) Kagoshima

12) Okinawa

Please guess who won for this Year. ;-)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dear Martha,

We are students of the 7th class of the basic school in Chomutov. We are 12-13 years old. Chomutov is a town in the north-west of the Czech Republic – how detailed is your globe? (Not detailed enough. I found Czech Republic in 21s- VEG)

It’s very interesting to read your blog about school food and to see what pupils eat at various places in the world. We think you have done great work with Mary’s Meals. Congratulations to the Liberty Human Rights Awards!

In our school, some children go home for lunch and some eat at the school canteen. We
have a choice of two meals except of Tuesday. Every day there is always a hot soup, a main course and a drink. Sometimes there is a dessert, salad or fruit. The price of the meal is 24 Czech crowns, that means £ 0.75.

Some children like school food and some not. Some children don’t like vegetables or meal they don’t know. School food is regularly controlled by state authorities. We learn about proper food at school and this year we have lessons of cooking.

Czech meals are very tasty, but not always healthy. The most favourites meals in our country
- beef with cream and vegetable sauce and dumplings
- roast pork, dumplings and cabbage
- fried steak (it’s covered in flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs and then fried) and
potatoes or potato salad
- fried potato cakes with garlic
- white dill sauce or soup with boiled eggs
- potato soup with vegetables and mushrooms
- garlic soup with potatoes or fried bread
- sweet dumplings filled with fruit (strawberries, apricots or plums) served with sugar,
cottage cheese and cream
- special cakes filled with jam, cottage cheese or poppy seed

We wrote the school menu and took photos of the meals during one week at our school
canteen. We voted on how we liked the meals and how we think they were healthy (we are
sorry we weren’t able to count mouthfuls). We hope that it will be interesting for you and
for all your readers.

With best greetings,

Anicka, Petra, Karolina, Adela D., Adela V., Marketa, Magda (these are the girls – their names usually end –a in Czech), Lukas, Honza J., Honza S., Filip, Premek, Honza H. (these are the boys, the last two named are two of the quadruplets) and our teacher Jarmila

Here is our school menu for last week:

semolina and vegetable soup with egg
beef with garlic, potato dumplings with chickpea, spinach
or pork with leek, red lentils (it isn’t on the picture)

Food-o-meter- 7/10
Courses- soup/main/dessert/drink
Health rating- 7/10
Pieces of hair- 0

caraway and vegetable soup with small dumplings
stewed fish, mashed potatoes, chickpea and tomatoes
or mexican rice salad with beans and corn

canned pineapple and peaches
water with lemon

Food-o-meter- 6/10
Courses- soup/main/dessert/drink
Health rating- 7/10
Pieces of hair- 0

fish and vegetable soup with fried bread
beef with tomato sauce, pasta (it isn’t on the picture)
or fish baked with cheese, potatoes
kiwi fruit
vitamine drink

Food-o-meter- 5/10
Courses- soup/main/dessert/drink
Health rating- 7/10
Pieces of hair- 0

beef soup with noodles and vegetables
fried steak, potatoes, beetroot and celery salad
hot fruit drink

Food-o-meter- 8.5/10
Courses- soup/main/salad/drink
Health rating- 6.5/10
Pieces of hair- 0

goulash soup with meat and potatoes
potato rolls with sugar and poppy seed
or pasta and chicken salad


Food-o-meter- 7/10
Courses- soup/main/dessert/drink
Health rating- 5/10
Pieces of hair- 0

bean soup with cauliflower
meat and zucchini mixture with mushrooms, rice
or roast pork and kuskus, lettuce
fruit drink

Food-o-meter- 8/10
Courses- soup/main/dessert/drink
Health rating- 7.5/10
Pieces of hair- 0

(The photos are taken by our teacher so the portions are a bit larger than for the pupils)