Thursday, 31 May 2012

I decided to try something different today. I usually would pick the burrito from today's menu but I chose the gammon steak instead. We don't have gammon at home because we don't cure our pork and I don't think I've tried it before.


The pineapple was placed on top of the gammon so it was nice and warm. I didn't finish my gammon because I was unsure about the outside bits which were dark. You can tell now I have a dislike of black food! I asked for carrot sticks, peppers and an extra bit of pineapple to go with it. The new potatoes were very shiny and moved about easily. Some people have been asking why I have a plastic spoon for dessert. I don't know but I will ask because we just throw it away everyday. We don't recycle them. The icing on the cake was lovely. I didn't go back for fruit because I didn't finish my gammon.

Food-o-meter- 8/10
Mouthfuls- 47
Courses- main/dessert
Health Rating- 6/10
Price- £2
Pieces of hair- Still 0! yes!
Wristband- Orange

Many people in Finland (10 seconds!) have been in touch and sent me photos of their lunches and they all look so tasty. I was amazed to find out that all children in Finland get a free school lunch everyday!


This is from a 16yr old girl who emailed in English (I think that's amazing) and said 'We can take as much food as we like, there is no one putting it to our plates, or saying how much we can take. It is sausage and veggie soup with rye bread, cheese, cucumber and milk.' I love soups and I would really like a big meaty soup for lunch. It would be two course in one! Thank you Supremacu for sending it in.

Tomorrow is special because we are having a Diamond Jubilee lunch to celebrate 60 years of the Queen reigning. It used to be 75 years but it was changed to 60 for Queen Victoria (my fact of the day!)

VEG








54 comments:

  1. Well, that certainly looks more like a conventional meal.
    I didn't understand what you meant when you said 'we don't cure our pork'. Do you live on a farm?

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  3. Your blog was noticed in one of Finlands biggest tabloids yesterday. Here's the link:

    http://www.iltalehti.fi/ruoka/2012053015647935_ru.shtml

    I recall some pretty horrific tales of school food from my times in finnish schools, but reading through your blog and looking at the pictures I am thoroughly appalled at what your school has considered a proper meal for a student! AND you have to pay for them, more's the shame!

    I'm a student in the University of Jyväskylä, and our 'school' lunches cost about the same as yours. That said, us university students get a whole load more food to eat for that money, and it's healthier too.

    Keep up the good work and have fun doing it!

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    1. I have to reply to Finwolven in 80' food was more horrible than today ;) Today in they have pretty universal food in finnish schools. At my day food was just bad. I think that english food looks pretty same as soup day in Finland.

      I have enjoyed reading this blog so much thanks for writing it Veg :)

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  4. Hi Veg! Great blog. Are pineapples not considered fruit in your country? I noticed they are always categorized separately :)

    Norma

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  5. Wow Veg, your blog was actually featured in The Toronto Star newspaper here in Ontario, Canada. Keep up the good work!

    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1201690--blogger-9-declares-victory-over-unappetizing-school-lunches

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  6. Not the worst meal I've seen here, though my twelve-year-old self would have wanted more. The meal from Finland looks exemplary - tasty, filling and nutritious.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what your council thinks is a suitable meal to honour the Jubilee.

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  7. I just wanted to tell you that you are a real inspiration and I and my friends here in the U.S. are following your blog! Your blog is all over the news outlets here. For instance: http://www.good.is/post/people-are-awesome-how-a-9-year-old-girl-s-food-blog-forced-healthier-lunch-options/, one of my favorite outlets. You are to be commended - keep it up!

    I graduated from high school in 1993, when the cafeteria food was truly abysmal. Thank you for helping lead the push for nutritious and tasty food! I have shared your work via my Facebook page and hope you continue to get all due attention!

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  8. I just wanted to commend you on this excellent work - I and many of my friends in the U.S. are following you! You are being featured in many news outlets here, for instance http://www.good.is/post/people-are-awesome-how-a-9-year-old-girl-s-food-blog-forced-healthier-lunch-options/. I have posted a link to your blog on my Facebook page, and hope to increase your followers. Keep up your great work - when I graduated from high school in 1993, the cafeteria food was horrendous (taste-wise, looks-wise, and nutrition-wise). You are doing a great service, and I stand with you in increasing access to healthy and tasty food for students!

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  9. This is the first decent meal I have seen here given to you. Out of curiosity do you choose cake every day or is it the only pudding option?

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  10. That Finish meal looks very good!

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  11. I just found your blog and I think the main idea is really cool! :-)
    Greetings from Poland,
    Magda

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  12. Thank you for a great blog! I'm a reader from Sweden who found your blog yesterday and I've already read it all. I think it's awful you have to eat this shit, and actually also that everything changes as your blog grows. But the last thing is definitly good aswell!

    Keep it up, and I will keep on reading!

    Elias

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  13. I don't understand, why students here in Finland say: ''School food is bad :('' etc. :/ I like school food and I eat (almost) everything. :D Many students here put their food to trash! They don't thank, even though we get free food. :O
    - 14-year-old boy from Finland

    Ps. Sorry about my bad English.

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  14. Hi again VEG! I don't know how to email you, but I'd like to send you a picture of what our students eat in the school district where I work.

    At my school, over 90% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch based on their families' income. For many of these students, the meals they are served at school are the biggest, best, and sometimes the only meals they get each day. (Most of our students also eat breakfast at school, which is also free or reduced-price if you qualify).

    We also have many students who qualified for a special program that sends food home with them over the weekend, because otherwise they would not have enough to eat. The food we send home goes in their bookbag. The program has a nutritionist who reviews all the food to make sure it isn't too unhealthy, but that is challenging because we also need to make sure the food that is sent home is easy to prepare, non-perishable, and easily transported. In other words, it is mostly processed, packaged food that can be eaten as-is or heated up in the microwave.

    Just imagine if the food you ate at school was the healthiest food you got all day! Our school lunches are very unhealthy in my opinion. Kids are allowed to choose chocolate milk, and most do, every day. The way I understand it, this has something to do with the political power of the dairy industry. And have you heard of pink slime? Scary! Also, the breakfasts have frightening amounts of sugar.

    However, the students at my school are lucky because the principal has received two grants that provide some very exciting snacks! One program gives all the kids in our school fresh fruits or veggies as a snack three times a week. They purposely include things that our students might not have ever had before, like starfruit or blood oranges. The other program gives us resources for 3rd graders (8-9 years old) to plant a garden and then harvest, cook, and eat (and share!) the food they grow. Last week they invited me to share the harvest, and we had beets, chard, salad, and more.

    Keep up the good work, girl! I hate that we will have to take a break for the summer, but I look forward to seeing your posts again once school starts back!!!!

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    Replies
    1. I looked up pink slime with dad. I am glad it's banned here. Yuck.

      Veg

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  15. PS one of my favorite things about your blog is watching the pageview counter go up AS I WATCH. :o)

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  16. Dear "Veg", how are you? I write you from Spain, where I work as a journalist for the public tv. I´m preparing a short report about teenagers´food habits. It would be ok for you if I make reference to your blog and use some pics to ilustrate the subject? I really would appreciate your authorization as soon as possible. Thanks in advance.

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    1. Please email neverseconds@gmail.com

      Thanks,

      Veg's Dad

      Delete
  17. Yeah we've always had free meals in schools in Finland and it's always been take as much as you want, as well as the meals are healthy :) I enjoyed free meals in my school days, now I'm making the meals for schools :D well and everyone in Finland should be able to speak and write proper english, we have no choice but to study it and it starts when kids are 8 or 9 years old, so 16yr old has had lots of time to study english :)

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  18. In my school, we have an a la carte line, where you can just choose whatever you want (but you pay for each seperate item!) We also have a salad bar. If only it was free :( sigh.

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  19. Another holler from Finland to you Veg! I am a 22-year-old university student and would like to thank you for keeping up the blog. I would like to ask you, do you know if students with food allergies are able to get meals from school? I'm thinking about celiac disease, milk allergy, etc.

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  20. Dear Veg,

    Greetings from Canada. What an amazing blog! Kudos to both you and your amazing parents!

    But I feel sad that your lunches are so terrible and with little nutrition. Did you say that you don't get fruit unless you first eat everything on your tray? If so, that is terrible.

    Your school (and England - if this is commonplace) should be embarrassed by those poor quality lunches.

    I haven't read your entire blog yet but so far the Asian countries and Finland are the only ones that seem to care for their children.

    When I was in school (30 years ago), we did not have school lunch programs. Our parents were responsible for making our lunches. I guess times have changed and now we rely on schools and big business to feed our children. Sigh...

    I'm going to tweet you and blog about your blog!

    Keep up the amazing work and I wish you well!

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    1. Just a small correction. Veg lives in Scotland, NOT England. Having said that, I'm pretty sure that Veg's meal pictures are indicative of the portion size and quality available in both countries.

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  21. Hello;
    I am from Spain, from teh basque country, I am 12 years old and I go to Artaza-Romo school.
    I would like to have these food, is fantastic and it looks pretty. In my school we have food that is the worst, I don´t like my schools food is...is... it doesn´t have name...
    Bye

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  22. I have to say, that things in Finland are much better than in many other countries. Food is just one part of it. I'm studying in the University of applied sciences in Finland, and now I have to pay my lunch myself. It's been wonderful to grown in Finland; When you are under 18-years old, many things are free for you. Public healthcare, schooldriwings (bus, taxi), normal studies, schoolmeal..

    It's been pleasure to born in Finland.

    You're doing a wonderful job, keep going!

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  23. Wow, that soup looks good. I'd love a recipe to make something like this at home!

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  24. Good work Veg, thanks for this blog, just found it today. I guess we Finns are very privileged when it comes to for example the free foods at schools. I remember thinking back in the day (I'm 34 now, so it's been some years since my times at school) that the food was pretty okay, and I guess it's even better nowadays. What is really shocking to me, is that in a lot places kids get to drink chocolate milk and eat cakes and stuff everyday. The schoolfood has always been on the healthier side here in Finland, and getting burgers and stuff like that, maybe happened once a year or never.

    Keep up the good work Veg, it's amazing that you seem to be already changing things in your school, and I think this is a really important issue. Kids who are studying and growing up, should be provided with healthy, nutritious food, enough to meet their needs.

    Now, one more thing; Nohae; this kind of soup is very easy to make.
    Just take about 4 big potatoes, 3-4 carrots, wash and peel them, chop them up with some onion and other veggies you want to use, and put them in boiling water so that the water is completely covering them, with some salt and some bouillon, in Finland you can get these dried cubes of it, that you can just, let them boil until they start to feel almost done, then last add the bits of sausage that you have cut into small pieces, and let boil for a few more minutes, until they're done. This particular soup probably has also some tomato in it, hence the red color. We eat a lot of soups like this Finland, and you can really put pretty much anything you want in it, minced meat or chicken (that has been cooked on a pan with spices), sausages, ham etc. Hope this helps :)

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  25. sorry... some of text was left out earlier from the instructions of the soup, here's a correction; "in Finland you can get these dried cubes of it (bouillon), that you can just put in the kettle with some other spices you want to use; pepper, paprika etc, let them boil until they start to feel almost done...

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  26. But don't use "raw" sausage for this soup recipe. The Finnish makkarakeitto is made with knackwurst sausages (nakki) which are pre-cooked.

    Here's another recipe: http://tastyplanner.com/recipes/makkarakeitto-sausage-soup

    My kids hated Finnish school lunches when we first arrived here (from France) - especially the fact that lunch was at 10:40 (so not long after breakfast!) and there are days when lunch is just "porridge" or Finnish pancakes but now there is rarely a day when they don't finish (!) their meal or take seconds.

    A few years ago there was even an incident in one Finnish school where some kids started fighting over second helpings of fish fingers, it was reported in the newspapers and on TV!

    For many children, school lunch is their main meal of the day so it is important that it is nutritious and filling.

    One of my children has a severe allergy to dairy foods, but he was given a special meal every day.

    I think the school meal providers (mostly private catering companies) do a fantastic job on such tight budgets.

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  27. Martha your blog is brilliant! And really funny. Good work, lady. A clear future as a food critic awaits you!

    Monisha Rajesh x

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  28. "I was amazed to find out that all children in Finland get a free school lunch everyday!"

    It may be free to the kids, but never forget that someone else is paying. Someday it will be you.

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    1. Of course someone pays for the food and I'm sure Martha realizes this (she does, after all, raise money for needy children to eat, so she is aware that the money for food has to come from somewhere). You live in Canada, as I do, so you are fully aware of the benefits of having a good social system in place to help allow all children to thrive and succeed. Finland happens to be one of the best countries for this. I for one do not mind paying taxes so that this is possible. I wish our system was more on par with Finland's in this respect.

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    2. "you are fully aware of the benefits of having a good social system in place to help allow all children to thrive"

      The benefits are indirect, nebulous, and inconsistent; the costs are rather more direct. Probably still worth it. Probably.

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    3. My husband's uncle and his partner volunteer at a local primary school (in Richmond Hill) serving breakfast to any child who wants it (mostly from poor families, but occasionally other kids show up too). He's told me that for some of these kids, if the free breakfast wasn't available, they wouldn't get breakfast, and that they often go hungry several days a week because there isn't enough food at home. I'd say the benefits in this case are pretty darn direct to me.

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  29. It's about economies of scale. I pretty sure it would cost me more to give my kids a healthy pack lunch every day than the daily budget for a school meal and its impact on my tax bill. The catering companies can buy food in huge volumes and the labour costs are relatively small (Finland is moving towards fewer, bigger schools) so the average cost is quite small (latest info I could find was 1,67e per day/ head). If that actually saves me time and money then I don't have a problem with paying a bit more tax! No brainer.

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  30. Also commenting from Finland, Im already 28 years old (an old hag... ;)) but my gosh: you are a good blogger!!
    It is a shame that you had to quit. =/

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  31. Hi! Found your blog today and I have to say when I was reading it and saw this picture I recognized straight away that is Finnish school lunch. Been eating food like that for...15 years, I'm 22yr old practical nurse student from Finland. And I think it's great that we can eat for free and as much as we like, but one thing that bothers me is that if there's leftover food it goes to the trash and sometimes there's a lot leftovers. And they just go to waste. I hope that they could find a way to use those leftovers.

    But keep up with this blog, don't understand why you're not allowed to publish pictures anymore but sometimes that's the way it goes.

    ps. Last year I was in England for three weeks and I have to say, loved the food! Especially Yorkshire Puddings. But I missed rye bread.

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    1. Wish I could eat some of your leftovers.... I´m in Estonia. Jobless.

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  32. I love your blogging concept, no wonder you are so popular!

    I'm a Finn and yes, the free school meals are great. Even high school students(age 16-19) get them! Obviously the free lunch is not a gourmet meal but it almost always is nutritious and delicious. And there is always a vegetarian or even vegan choice available!

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  33. Great! You are a very clever girl!
    Just keep it up!

    PS: Read about you in the german newspaper "DIE ZEIT"

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  34. Hey, now I have to say, that schoolmeals in Finland aren't so good as there is in the picture. When I was in primary school, we had decent food, but during last five years, the quality of schoolmeals have droped. In our school, soups are 80% of water, and usually, if you are 5 minutes too late in the canteen, there isn't any meat left. We don't have any "soft bread", only crispbread. Anyone can't eat fish, because it is only dry black cod in different sauces. I have often found hair and some overboiled, crude or even rotten potatoes from our meals.

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    1. Duh, don't listen to her! ;) Of course there can be mistakes and over boiled potatoes, but it's unusual. It's different in different schools, but in my school the meals are always well-made (and the soups are never made mainly of water, even if you were in a bigger school...). There are always enough food, but you must be in time, of course. We sometimes get soft bread, once a week or so, and rye bread once in two weeks. Crispbread is always available.

      I love our school food. It's tasty, and I love the amount of vegetables. I think I am very lucky, because the food is free and healthy.

      By the way, your blog was noticed in one of the biggest newspapers in Finland today (and that's how I found here).

      Keep up the good work! :)

      Delete
    2. It's not the mistakes, that piss off the teen in the schools for the bad food. It's the quality that has dropped.

      When I was in Elementary School, we had fishsticks (or fishfingers), meatballs, whole sausages and potato smash +pancakes! Now, after 6 years (still in school, and getting free meals) None of them are server anymore. 4 years ago we said goodbye to the fisfsticks and meatballs, 2 years ago sausages and potato smash, and year ago the pancakes...
      Couple of years ago we had like 5 bread weeks (in the canteen, there was served breadsticks, soft bread, toast and many more), now they are gone.

      But I still have to say after all the complaining, I'm proud of being finnish, and having all the free things I get, when I'm under 18. The food is good, if you add spices, and get used to it. In Finland, we're picky about the food we eat (it has to be healty, good-looking, tasty..), that's why some of us don't appreciate what we get.

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  35. Dear Veg,

    You are brilliant and wonderful! You have undertaken a project that has the power to change quality of the food that is served in school lunches all over the world. You have also empowered other school children to make wise decisions about what they eat. This will create changes in how school administrators and parents think about school lunches. To top it off, you have wisely and generously chosen to create a charitable outlet for you, your friends, and blog viewers to contribute. For that accomplishment alone you deserve much praise and admiration. Don't be discouraged; I have a feeling that as soon as your school begins to serve more nutritious lunches, they will be glad to have you or anyone else photograph them. I wish you all the very best as you go forward.

    Best wishes,
    Jacquie Johnson
    Pennsylvania, US

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  36. More about school meals in Finland
    http://www.oph.fi/english/education/educational_support_and_student_wellbeing/school_meals

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  37. The quality of food varies in Finland between cities. For example the place where I live the public schools mostly serve food that is provided by the city. In my high school we eat private enterprise's (Fazer amica) meals, which are of much better guality than the ones served in most of the schools by the city. I think Fazer has much more money than the city to create the meal, meaning that the quality of food is better. It's all about money and right attitudes. If the authorities don't care what the kids eat, then we can't have very high expectations of the food.
    Actually Veg, the food your school offers seems to be much better than I've thought it to be there in Scotland. And by the way, your blog is awesome! I hope you will keep on writing and taking pictures for the better good!

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  38. Keep up the good work! What you are doing is changing the way we look at food and how we consume it! In Curacao , my native Caribbean island, lunches sold at school are very high in fat since they mostly consist of fried chicken, pastechi's (fried pastries filled with meat, cheese or tuna fish), springrolls, aside from a very small assortment of freshly made sandwiches! Looking forward to reading more! In my own way I also try to share food and travel stories with my friends!

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  39. Wow! Your blog is awesome :) I'm an RN over here in the U.S. and I am disgusted with what passes for a school lunch in some places. Nutrition is the cornerstone of health, and feeding our children wholesome food will help them grow into healthy, productive adults. We spend an outrageous amount on "healthcare" yet continue to get sicker, then pinch pennies when it comes to the building blocks of a sturdy body and immune system, our food! Thanks for opening this fantastic discussion about something so important to our future, good luck with everything :)

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  40. I wish I was as good at blogging as you are, VEG. My blog is about our chicks, Gemmie, Izzabelle and Olympia.

    It's web address is peck-peckchickens.blogspot.co.uk

    You should check it out sometime!

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  41. I wish my school would serve us nice lunches. And gave us better trays. And silverware. And served us more food. I bring my lunch instead because I end not eating my schools food and I end up hungry until I get home. I am so jealous.

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