CHERRY ROCKY ROAD & 15-MINUTE CHEESE & TOMATO PIZZAS
Preparing food for your kids does not have to be a military operation. Just follow these tips
Back to school, three words kids may dread and parents rejoice at hearing. The roads have become busier again, and everywhere I look I see backpacks and lunchboxes.
I’m sure for some it’s a relief, while others have had some difficult memories at school. As a child, we moved location mid-term so my first day at school was in January, kitted out in my new uniform, packed lunch tucked in my satchel along with my new pens and pencils – I was the new kid.
It’s a terrifying experience, for both parents and kids. Waving goodbye at the gates was scary, I didn’t know anyone and certainly didn’t know where I was supposed to be.
Lunchtimes bought new challenges. I was ushered into the dining hall; try and find a seat wherever you can, I was told. Scanning the hall I saw a girl who was in my class, and very shyly moved towards the table and planted myself opposite her. Looking down into my lunchbox I began to tuck into the lunch my mum had prepared. ‘My name is Donna; you’re new aren’t you?’ she said. I replied very softly saying my name and yes I was new, I only started today. She said I could sit with her for lunch every day if I wanted. ‘Yes please’ I replied, and just like that, I had found my first friend!
IT’S A TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE, FOR BOTH PARENTS AND KIDS. WAVING GOODBYE AT THE GATES WAS SCARY, I DIDN’T KNOW ANYONE AND CERTAINLY DIDN’T KNOW WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE
Lunchboxes were always a surprise; there were a lot of kids in our house growing up, and preparing lunches was a military operation. Homemade pastries were a favourite, quiche or sausage rolls were regularly packed, along with pots of raisins and fresh fruit. Looking back we did have premium lunches, no soggy sandwiches or cheesy strings – me and my new friend Donna would often halve and share our meals.
The luxe-lunches are still a thing for me; I pack a lunch every day for the office. I spend a couple of hours each weekend preparing meals for the week ahead. I’ve seen loads of posts on Instagram of people taking #mealprep to the extreme, days’ worth of food neatly arranged by weekday and mealtime. I agree it’s very satisfying to see your week’s food all neatly packed into identical boxes, but I haven’t taken to posting mine yet.
Reminiscing about lunchboxes gone by, there are a couple of things I still enjoy making. And harking back to my schools days when I used to assist in the kitchen, I love making food with kids. My nieces enjoy cooking, and whenever I visit we always prepare something tasty in the kitchen. It’s a great way to introduce kids into food prep and help them understand what goes into the food they eat. These two recipes are quick and easy to make, 15-minute pizzas and rocky road are inexpensive, great to share and the kids will love preparing them for their lunchboxes. Now she’s an art and design teacher – me and Donna never lost touch, we are still great friends 43 years later, and I do miss sharing our lunchtimes together.
Recipes, food styling and photography by Mark Setchfield