Will a pudding protest get its just desserts?

If there is one thing that you learn as a parent it is that children will always speak out when there is even the slightest whiff of unfairness in the air. And this is especially true when it comes to food. And when I say food, what I am really talking about is what many children (and some adults) think is the most important meal of the day, pudding. Warfare can break out in households over the dinner table, sparked by the conviction that someone else is having a sliver more of something delicious. But trying to avoid possible accusations about the discrepancy in portion sizes by employing a ‘one cuts, the other chooses’ the slice of [insert favourite cake etc; here] can also backfire. Children soon learn how to carry off the classic bluff and double bluff of ‘Thanks, this is the piece I actually wanted’ with a smirk or two. Annoying these greedy skirmishes are, learning to share, compromise and the concept of fairness are all important lessons to learn growing up. However, family arguments over who has the largest slice pale in comparison to the outrage and protest provoked when entire puddings are struck off a menu. Especially when those favourites are banished without warning for reasons that seem to be spurious at most. And at a primary school in Aberdeenshire, a change in menu caused some young students to take matters into their own hands.  

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A race to find the secret to running happy

While reading the recent update of something I like to follow about all things running, I couldn’t help but notice the results from this year’s Barkley Marathons. The winner was…the Barkley Marathons. Yes, you read that right. The event beat the contenders. Again. Renowned as the toughest ultramarathon race around, the Barkley Marathons involves running 5 times around an unmarked course completely off piste through the mountains in the state of Tennessee. With nothing to guide you but a map, a compass and your wits, it is not for the faint-hearted. Since the course was made even more difficult and was stretched to the current ‘100 mile’ distance in 1989, there have only been 15 finishers and the most recent was in 2017.

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Don’t let food waste give you freezer burn

As we reach the end of this year’s Food Waste Action Week I thought I would add my two pence on the importance of reducing our food waste. Even the basic statistics sound pretty shocking and it can be difficult to get your head around the scale of the problem. According to the sustainability charity WRAP, around one third of food produced worldwide is unnecessarily wasted when it is unsold, unused or thrown out by supermarkets, restaurants and the public. That is simply mind blowing, but it gets worse. The natural resources that go into growing the food together with the production and transportation of it for sale are also contributing to climate change. Food production is now responsible for close to 10% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, globally.

But as someone who cares about the planet and loves to cook I didn’t think I had a problem with food waste in my own home. After all, my family happily hoovered up any leftovers they could get their hands on. However, I also knew that I was far from perfect even if food waste was a particular bugbear of mine. Which is why in trying to cut down further on my own food waste I wanted to help others avoid it in Spoiler alert and shared some more tips for using up neglected and forgotten foods in Waste not, want more. Although I have to come clean…I made a glaring oversight when it came to reducing my food waste which I only discovered once all of my children had left home for university.

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Is lockdown making you eat like a bird?

I was reminded the other day of a time when I was 12, when a good friend said something to me that has since stuck in my head. She said that if she ever picked at her food at the dinner table because she didn’t have much of an appetite, then her mother always told her that she ‘ate like a bird’. For some reason I couldn’t get my head around what it had to do with birds because my friend didn’t look the least bit avian. In fact, I knew all too well that she had become a frequent visitor to a new takeaway that she passed daily on her way home from school. Her weakness was their specialty of deep fried sweet and sour pork which came swimming in a sticky sauce. She told me conspiringly that she was never hungry for dinner if she stopped for an afterschool snack but what her mother didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. But as I was reminiscing past times while looking out the window at the birds feeding in our garden, I also thought that maybe her mother wasn’t too far off the mark.

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Run through the lockdown this winter

We may have started the New Year with a sense of deja-vu as we entered another lockdown but at least there is still one thing that we can count on. Running outdoors! Although…this may be of little solace to those who are more keen on working out in their closed gyms while catching up on Netflix rather than facing the prospect of running in the freezing winter weather. It also hardly seems something to celebrate if your main motivation to lace up your trainers and hit the pavement comes from the camaraderie and weekly catch-ups with mates from running groups and parkruns which are sadly, suspended. Not to mention that it can be difficult to carry on training in such uninviting weather when you’re feeling slightly demoralised because every race and event you signed up for the foreseeable future has been cancelled or gone virtual.

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