Tuesday, February 05, 2013
A Month Of Cookbooks - Day Five
The Dinner Lady
by Jeanette Orrey
Published by Bantam Press, 2005
This is a fascinating book. The first 116 pages are devoted to nutritional basics, how and what you could feed your baby as weaning foods, and how to prepare these foods from scratch, as well as involving children in the kitchen as a way of piquing their interest in food and cooking.
Then the fun starts, with all sorts of recipes from this school dinner lady/cook/catering manager, who is passionate about feeding school children high quality, nutritionally sound - and above all tasty - food. The book is aimed at a wide audience: head teachers, catering managers, school cooks and parents; indeed to anyone who is involved in caring for or working with children and wants to improve nutritional standards.
The children in her school are encouraged to try a wide variety of foods: Chicken Curry, Deli Wraps, Real Chicken Nuggets,Lemon Chicken & Pea Risotto, Moussaka, Lamb Casserole with Dumplings, Fish Pie, Vegetable Crumble, Tagliatelle with Summer Vegetables - the list of recipes is impressive. She includes an interesting variety of salads and desserts, and all the recipes are given in quantities to serve either 4 or 96, in order to be of use both to average size families and those cooking for much larger numbers.
Puddings are regarded as an opportunity for slight indulgence after a substantial and healthy main course.....Carrot Cake, Banana Loaf, Date Slice, Bakewell Tart, Gingerbread, Chocolate Pudding and Flapjacks.
It is no-frills cooking, but hearty, healthy and appealing to adults and children alike. We have made many recipes from the first book, and without exception, all have turned out well and been enjoyed. I did have sympathy for the kitchen staff, as apparently one recipe for Gooey Chocolate Pudding is greeted with rapture by the children and teaching staff but dismay from those who have to wash up the serving dishes afterwards because of the frequent changes of water needed......... We had exactly the same problem at home :-)
When I have my periodic cookery book culls, this is one which *never* makes the doubtful heap as we all love it!