THOSE SCHOOL LUNCHES
The Problem of school lunches is always with us. In the old days, child-ren often did without a midday meal. Today, particularly in schools with a mixed Maori-European roll, it is essen-tial for every child to have a school lunch, and a good one at that. What is really a good school lunch? Here is the answer, given by the Home Science Extension Branch of the University of Otago:
A packed lunch must be an adequate substitute for the meal which would have been eaten at home. Each day the lunch tin should carry one third of the day's food needs. Build the lunch round cheese, eggs, fish, meat, whole cereals, fruit, vegetables and milk.
Sandwiches are the obvious choice. Make them hearty, with plenty of filling and wholemeal bread for preference. Occasionally a cold chop or saus-age, a fish cake or hard cooked egg can make a pleasant change, and cut down the number of sandwiches that need to be made.
Some sweet food is desirable in a lunch, and this may be in the form of a sweet sandwich, or a crisp chewy biscuit or cookie. A little custard, spanish cream or fruit jelly can provide the sweet touch sometimes. Make a little extra when you prepare the evening meal. Encourage children to drink school milk, or provide a milky beverage yourself. Fresh raw fruit or vegetables are nature's toothbrush. Include them to be eaten last.
Savoury Fillings: Scrambled egg is easier to prepare than hard cooked egg and it makes a nicer filling. Vary the filling each time by adding a different seasoning: cress, chives, curry pow-der, a few green peas, crumpled bacon, grated cheese or chopped tomato.
Meat, fish, liver, poultry or rabbit is best minced or finely chopped, and moistened with gravy or sauce to give that desirable dampness. Step up the seasoning with a spoonful of herbs, relish or chutney, as the bread tones down the flavour. Sliced meat loaf, aberdeen sausage, mince or stew is excellent sandwich material.
Cheese combines admirably with almost any vegetable or fruit. Moisten with left over parsley sauce, cream soup or salad dressing. Try cheese with corn and cheese with raisins.
Never discard left over vegetables, but keep them to add to next day's sandwich fillings. Potato is particularly useful to combine with savoury fillings in hearty sandwiches for teenagers.
RECIPES FOR FILLINGS
The following fillings are useful and the quantities should last several days if kept in a refrigerator.
Liver Paste: Mince 1 lb. liver
¼ lb. bacon
1 onion; combine well with
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed herbs
1 beaten egg
Method: Place in greased basin, cover and steam 1 ½ hours, or cook 30 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure. Keep in the refrigerator.
Date Filling: Chop 1 lb. dates coarsely and heat with the grated rind of one orange or lemon and ½ cup water. Cook gently till mushy. Flavour with orange or lemon juice. If liked, cook with 1 cup mashed banana or 1 cup drained crushed pineapple.
MAKING THE LUNCHES
Plan Ahead: Have a rough idea of what you'll use for sandwich fillings during the week. It is thinking up ideas that is more tiresome than the actual making. When you plan the other meals, see if it is possible to utilise them as lunch material. For example, the breakfast mince will make an excellent sandwich filling if the excess gravy is drained from it. When you are hard-cooking eggs for a salad, do extra for next day's lunches. Make small steak and kidney pies when you make the family size one for dinner. Cook a few extra fritters; make some extra custard or pudding and put in small jars.
Streamline Your Preparation: Keep all the makings of a packet lunch—tins, paper, fillings, bread, etc., in one place, so that no time need be wasted in collecting ingredients. Spread bread out in rows and cover generously with softened butter. Have the fillings in shallow bowls rather than deep jars which are difficult to dip into. Spread alternate rows with filling (use plenty), cover with the unspread slices and cut with a sharp knife. Leave crusts on for health's sake. Lunches may be packed overnight if absolutely essential, but very careful packing will be needed if they
are not to become dry. Freezer owners may prepare and package sandwiches for weeks ahead. They will thaw out by lunchtime.
No matter how well planned a lunch may be, if it is not well packed it will not be eaten. Wrap each kind of sandwich separately, in waxed or greaseproof paper. An outer wrapping of colourless plastic, e.g. polythene, helps keep lunches soft and moist.
Put heavy foods at the bottom of the lunch tin or box; a metal container is best as it prevents crushing and can be scalded to keep it sweet and clean. Do not include biscuits or crumbly food. Pack the separate packages in neatly so they won't bump around; a few raisins, dates, or nuts tucked in the gaps make pleasant surprises as well as preventing the lunch tossing about.
For the full benefit of the lunch you have so carefully prepared, encourage lunch-box eaters, especially school children, to take time to enjoy their meal.
A good school lunch is healthful, appetising and well packed. How do yours measure up? Lunches which end up in the school rubbish tin two minutes after they are unwrapped cannot make healthy legs sprint to the winning tape, alert hands wave the correct answer, or bright eyes shine with health and happiness and joy of living. But a good lunch will do its share. And if bound cheese, eggs, fish, meat, whole cereals, fruit you counter by saying, “I do make good lunches, but the children will trade them for syrup sandwiches,” then the only answer is make them so attractive that they are even more desirable than those of their playmates.
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The opening of the Pukekohe Maori community centre last June was attended by the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Walter Nash. The hall, which was the fruit of local Maori-European co-operation, is a sign of the rapid progress in the area, where 51 houses were built the last few years by the Department of Maori Affairs.
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In order to explain the Maori Social and Economic Advancement Act, Professor J. F. Northey, Professor of Public Law at Auckland University, toured Maori communities of the Far North and gave addresses to tribal committee officials, wardens and the general public. The lecture tour was organized jointly by Mr M. Te Hau, Maori Tutor of Adult Education and Mr J. Pou, District Maori Welfare Officer.
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Trooper Steven Watene of Dargaville, received the British Empire Medal recently for outstanding ability as a tracker and level-headedness in danger in the Malaya jungle.
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