School dinners


I don’t know about those of you with kids in school, but I do packed lunches in the summer term for mine and school dinners the rest of the year as it ensures some heat in their tummies in the middle of the day.

It’s a bit of a battle because seemingly packed lunches are more fun but nevertheless I dig my heels in and tell my children they need to have school dinners so that they can eat their vegetables.

So, this is what happened today, pretty similar to most after-school conversations (seriously, my 5-year-old daughter has no moral conscience!!). I picked her up from school today and this is how it went (keep in the back of your mind that from day one of weaning, she has kept her mouth clamped shut and is the fussiest eater ever!!)…
Me: “What did you eat for lunch at school today sweetheart”
Ophelia:  “Vegetables Mummy”
Me thinking: Hmmm

Me: “Really Beely, what did you eat today at lunch?”
Ophelia: “Pasta, which wasn’t very nice but I ate it all up anyway”
Me thinking: Not likely!!
Me: “Come on Sweetheart, what did you eat please? It helps me decide what to make for supper”
Ophelia: “Salad”
Me thinking: Not in a million years!!!
Me: “And you ate all the mushrooms?”
Ophelia waltzing off to play: “Don’t be silly Mummy!”
… she does it all with a TOTALLY straight face - butter wouldn’t melt… certainly not on her veg anyway!!! How am I going to cope with her as a teenager?!?!?!?!

Pipa x


  1. Nicola Rippon October 13, 2009 at 1:59 pm -  Reply

    Pipa, I wouldn’t worry about her! I started out eating no veg – well nothing green or orange at any rate – and somehow survived – and now I am a fish-eating veggie who grows her own! I probably should admit, though, that I was probably in my 20s before I actually ENJOYED vegetables! My dad’s friend encouraged his grandchildren to eat veggies by having them grow carrots and potatoes in the garden so that they could see how they grew. Another gets her fairy-mad little girls to eat brussels sprouts by insisting they are pixie-sized cabbages! Not sure whether that would work for Ophelia – she sounds a bit savvy for that! And let’s be honest, the best bit about school dinners has always been the puddings! Now you’ve got me craving ginger pudding and pink custard!

  2. dorothy young October 13, 2009 at 6:37 pm -  Reply

    hi pipa
    I think she sounds like her mother’s daugther, i can just see you at that age and you been the same. Dont know how you keep yr laugh in, good luck when she a teenager and she is bringing the boys in. I USED to just look and shake my head when laura came in with some of them but they soon learn.
    love best wishes
    dorothy x x

  3. Samantha Allen October 14, 2009 at 12:59 am -  Reply

    What a lovely little story Pippa, made me smile.
    My two boys are big boys now, one of twenty and one of fifteen. William who is twenty is disabled and is also lactose and dairy intolerant so his diet is very limited, but he loves his apples and carrots, Alex my other son, has absolutely nothing to do with fruit or vegetables whatsoever, he hates them. I too have tried to convince him into eating some, strawberries are my latest conquest, so I am quite happy at that.
    Your little girl sounds delightful, and full of so much mischeivous fun.
    Take care and love to all at QVC
    Samantha xx
    PS I love watching you on QVC, you have me in hysterics, and I love listening to your stories.

  4. Pipa Gordon October 14, 2009 at 10:56 am -  Reply

    Ah ladies, you put my mind at rest!! I do sometimes worry about a lack of veg as you really can’t force feed – but Nicola you seem to have survived – and I love the idea of pixie cabbages!! We’re going to start a veg patch properly this year – our meagre attempt so far has been trashed by foxes so I think we need to get a greenhouse and do things proper!!
    Glad you enjoy the shows ladies, keep in touch – and any veg ideas, I’d gladly take any brainwaves!!!!!!!

  5. Nicola Rippon October 19, 2009 at 11:14 am -  Reply

    I should add that this morning I’ve had to dig up my pixie cabbages (sprouts) thanks to the horrid black aphids that decided to attack them over the weekend – despite having encased the plants in special mesh to prevent this! Oh well, back to the local market this year, then! I think your children would love to join in the planting (and hopefully eating) of your veggies. Good luck with that!
    PS I remember someone on tv years ago saying they got their kids to eat veggies by telling them they were only suitable for grown-ups!

  6. Pipa Gordon October 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm -  Reply

    Ha ha Nicola that’s a great idea saying they are only suitable for grown ups – although I should tell you that I used your fairy cabbage idea with b sprouts this weekend and it worked a treat!!!! All eaten up – I was most impressed!!!….. the incentive of stickers on the sticker chart helped too!!!
    Sorry to hear that the evil pixies attacked yours though, that’s a bummer, although I am sure the farmers’ market will be grateful for your patronage!!!

  7. Nicola Rippon October 22, 2009 at 9:54 am -  Reply

    Glad that at least some little ones are convinced by this terribly cynical idea! No, it’ not that cynical – I like to think of them as pixie cabbages too!

  8. Michelle October 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, you are the best presenter and remind me quite alot of myself – especially the wicked sense of humour! Now vegetables – where do I start, my son Harrison is 8 now and at a push with arm twisted behind his back he will eat cabbage, brussels and sweetcorn along with cucumber sticks, as for anything else forget it – you would think peas had just landed from mars with 5 arms and 3 eyes should you ever suggest he so much as looks at them! I to agree with sandwiches in warmer months and school dinners in the winter – unfortunately this has now changed as he still insists on taking sandwiches, although finding things to go in the almost vacant lunch box is almost mission impossible – NO yogurt, NO Fruit, NO to carrot sticks we have wittled down to 1 Roll and 1 wafer!!!!! Any suggestions would be very gratefully received!!!!!!!!!! Mind you this is an improvement to his days of hot dinners which would consist of, mashed potato, mashed potato and salad, mashed potato with mashed potato – where are the healthy choices – and where is Jamie Oliver when you need him! Ok I now wittling on! Your opinions would be very much appreciated!

  9. Catherine November 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa, My son was always a fussy eater (not eating anything unless it was meat really (no way he’d make a veggie)) but now he’s 19 (but still my baby in my heart) and is just fine, he still has his issues with certain foods, but thats just men for you… I always thought the “gold star incentive” worked best… for every veg he ate, a gold star was added to the chart, after 5 gold stars he earned a treat (whether it be a comic or a packet of sweets)… if only that worked now haha! or if a comic or a packet of sweets would keep him happy…now its all high end clothing and technology; oh the good old days, (only joking – i wouldn’t change a thing)

  10. nicky williams March 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pippa,
    My daughter ate school dinners in junior schools, and enjoyed them.
    When she hit senior school, she would come home starving, as there was not enough time to get all the school children queuing for hot lunches fed in time! She only got to eat half her meal!!!!
    With pack lunches, they did not have to que up, and was able to eat all her lunch.
    Like you, I wanted her to have something hot inside her. What was the point, if the dinner ladies could not get the children through in time?
    My daughter is now at Uni, and is no longer at home.
    I was listening to a Conservative minister for schools discussing about curbing children’s lateness at schools. He wants to bring in, banning children’s lunch breaks, which is DREADFUL!!!! Surely stopping children eating at lunch time is not allowed, specially as its not always their fault that they are late? I heard this on the new ‘families’ pod cast done by Guardian, (as in the Guardian News Paper) Check it out, via itunes!!!!!
    I was totally horrified to hear about this!

  11. Grainne Brady March 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm -  Reply

    Hi Pipa ive been wanting to know the colour of your nail varnish bt Laighton Denny. Its the beigh colour one that you say is a favourite.

  12. Emily Winter September 5, 2010 at 10:37 pm -  Reply

    Our youngest was a complete nightmare he hated vegetables, meat of any kind,almost everything.In fact it was a huge issue in our home .Meal times were scary ,we knew what we were meant to do and we all tried so hard to do that. But it became a much bigger issue as time went on .We made mistakes.I really wish I could have ignored it completely and just not have said anything.Allowing him to eat what he wanted and maybe even when he wanted to as well.
    He came to no harm though.
    In fact he is a chef would you believe it! eats everything you can imagine! So his palate came to no harm either.
    I know for a fact he enjoyed the power he had at meal times and having us all being upset.He was sent to his room, for not eating, where he sang in a very loud voice every hymn he knew.
    Hope this helps as we all want the best for our children ,to be strong and have good food.But our son survived on cheese, milk and potatoes for many years with not a single green veg to be seen.
    Thanks Pip for making me laugh on TV ,you are hilarious ,just the thing when you need a cheery face to watch.

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