Ain’t No Cure for the Dinnertime Blues…

I am occasionally asked to provide a soapbox ‘rant’ for a local magazine. This is one from a couple of months ago. Regular readers may find the subject matter (but not the jokes) familiar, as the poor eating habits  of our younger generation is a particular bugbear of mine…

Ain’t No Cure for the Dinnertime Blues

 Well here we are on the cusp of a new school year, and after 6 weeks of looking like a ghost town the streets of Southborough will soon be teeming again with an Oliver’s Army of greasy-faced, hollow-eyed herbs who have escaped the school dinner queue to cram their faces with burgers and kebabs and all the other kak they prefer eating to decent healthy food. Oh joy!

While appreciating the boost this influx offers local traders I can’t help but feel we’re missing the trick here. I mean, what is the point of Jamie Oliver et al campaigning for healthy choices on school menus if none of the porcine and pustulant little pillocks ever eat them, and what is the point of haggling with the government to spend more on catering if parents then hand over wads of cash to enable their little darlings to make their own unhealthy choices? Please tell me it’s not just me: it’s daft, ennit? And we (well, you, to be precise: my own son isn’t one of the herd and wouldn’t want to be, however unfashionable eating a decent lunch might appear to his peers) must be daft too, for funding and enabling it.

Of course, I can see the appeal of ‘popcorn chicken’ over fresh salad for any sixth former: that’s the trouble with kak, it tastes nice and is packed full of flavourings and additives that trigger all sorts of pleasant sensations in the brain. What chance do our kids have when whatever mechanically reclaimed meat particles they’re consuming are effectively addictive, and what chance have they got of breaking the cycle when they’ve been weaned on the stuff since childhood? From nipple to nugget seems to be the norm for many children today, and call me a conspiracy theorist if you like but my opinion is that the ubiquitous chicken nugget is nothing more than a gateway drug created by evil food industry giants to get our kids hooked on junk as early as possible. I’m surprised we haven’t got nugget flavoured baby food, to be honest – little jars of mashed beaks and feathers with shiny faced cherubs on the labels scarfing down great gobfuls of sand coloured goo like there’s no tomorrow. And they would scarf it down, too, because they’d be frying their dear little brains with addictive monosodium glutamate while simultaneously triggering an attack of the munchies that would make Shaggy from Scooby-Doo look like Victoria Beckham.

And there’s the rub, you see. In these difficult times when food preparation is cut to a minimum and pre-pack kak has become the norm for many adults how can we expect our children to make more considered choices? ‘Don’t do as I do,’ we tell them, ‘do as I say’, and anyone who remembers their teenage years will acknowledge that’s about as effective as a deterrent as a pea-shooter in a Mexican stand off…

In the simplest terms, if you would like to see Southborough free of spotty herbs at lunchtimes and don’t want your kids eating rubbish then don’t give it to them and don’t enable them to buy it. If you do you’re just a poor man’s (or woman’s) Marie Antoinette, only with a ‘U’ in spelling.

‘Let them eat kak,’ she said, and just look at the trouble that caused…

let them eat kak

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12 thoughts on “Ain’t No Cure for the Dinnertime Blues…”

    1. That’s a good name for a great product. Love the alliteration! Sorry it took several days for this comment to appear – blame WordPress filter settings which mistook it for spam. Ah, Spam. Lovely Spam. Now that’s something that could be added to “Beaks & Bollocks Bountiful Baby Food” for added succulence, eh? 😀

  1. Let them eat kak – brilliant! I agree that it is horrendous what some of the kids eat ( I grew up on home made tomato soup, schnitzel, potatoes and lots of cabbage…and the concept of take away food just did not exist so it would never cross my mind to feed my child crap) – but it is not only about financing bad eating habits. What we need is better education around nutrition and going back to basics…like boiled potatoes and cabbage … 😉

    1. Yes, good ol’ fashioned skool dinners, that’s what they need! Grey Goulash, lumpy mash with eyes in and cabbage boiled to within an inch of its life! Just like mama used to make… Seriously, school dinners now are usually pretty good, I think, and if people want to get their kids to eat more than the ‘three its’ (Nuggits, Yoggits and Choklits) they are just going to have to say no occasionally. Education is part of it, but so is challenging expectation. Thanks for the comment, and keep up the sterling work with peanut vis a vis boiled spuds and cabbage 😀

  2. When I was training as a teacher one trainee teacher did his research project on what pupils ate and how it impacted performance. The project was a failure because he couldn’t assess the results because all the diets were so awful. Pupils ate sweets, crisps, fizzy drinks, chips and burgers. They all ate shite. It was scary stuff. I used to hate the period after lunch, kids were always hyper, full of sugar. They would drink big cans of energy juice then be impossible to deal with. Our school sold coffee, one first year would have six cups a day then they wondered why he couldn’t control his behaviour.

    1. Nothing you say surprises me! Much as I love kids I know I could never be a teacher. Not because of the kids, but because of the parents. Faced with some overindulged, undercontrolled disruptive brat my natural inclination would be to address it head on with mum and dad. Experience has taught me that ninety-nine times out of a hundred M&D are reluctant to acknowledge their own contribution to their child’s, erm, confusion and are in major denial over the nature of their little poppet’s outbursts. In a nutshell, it’s never them, it’s ‘the others’! Thanks for comment 🙂

  3. Thought I commented on this this morning so sorry if I’m repeating myself! I totally agree, although it’s not always straight forward. I was brought up on a very healthy diet – not insanely strict but we were never a family to eat at Mc D’s or have a cupboard/fridge stocked with sweet snacks. But then as soon as they were able, my brothers spent all their pocket money on coke and my mum was told off by the dentist for letting them drink crap! Sometimes parents can’t win!

    1. Nope, no repetition, and thanks for taking the trouble to post again 🙂 Yep, it’s certainly true that natural inclination will lead a kid to sugary, chocklitty heaven rather than carroty, cabbagy hell, and pocket money spending is always going to reflect that. That said, for every household like your own where McD’s and a cupboard full of ‘treats’ is the exception there seem to be a dozen where it’s the norm. And kids who ‘aren’t hungry’ at mealtimes for meat and three lovely healthy veg often have open access to that cupboard (or the local McD’s) ten minutes after their proper dinner has gone in the bin! Moan, moan, gripe, gripe etc etc… Thanks for comment 😀

      OH PS (two days later): The mystery of your ‘vanishing comment’ has just revealed itself – WordPress had for some reason decided your previous comment was ‘spam’. I’m guessing it was the beaks and bollocks reference… It is now fully restored and showing in the comment timeline. Thanks 🙂

  4. This is oh so true! I try to make sure that I cram as many healthy things as possible into Grace’s lunch box. I fear for the day when she starts secondary school. I hope by then that things have turned back the old fashioned way when you weren’t allowed out of the school grounds at lunch time – I swear that this has caused many of the problems regarding eating! Thanks for linking to Prose for Thought 🙂

    1. I grudgingly accept that sixth-formers should be given their lunchtime freedom, but what is it with the rest of ’em? Get ’em in at nine, chain ’em to their desks and keep ’em there until the home bell goes! Grrr! 😉 Thanks for comment

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