If a few kids in a class don’t eat part of their lunch, it probably wouldn’t cause much havoc. When you have a few kids each in twenty-one classes each, however, it adds up. So when a cold is going around, or the flu, or just the sort of weather that makes people feel like not eating, the homeroom teachers invariably bring back to the classroom many milk boxes and packets of sauce or jam if the lunch for the day called for such. These have to be taken home by someone at the end of the day, because there will only be a new batch the next. So I’ve always got plenty of milk in my fridge. And sometimes other strange things that come in handy.
On a cooking show the other day someone made a sauce for meat out of orange marmalade. I thought simultaneously, “Would that work?” and “Don’t I have some in my fridge?” So I mixed up a few spoons of orange marmalade, several chopped up chestnuts, a splash of soy sauce, a pinch of black pepper and a tiny sprinkle of red. I put half on a duck breast, roasted it in my toaster oven for half-an-hour, and poured the rest of the sauce over it and a scoop of rice. It was really incredibly tasty – unfortunately once again my food-photography-fu fails.
And speaking of being given food to take home… there was a typhoon the other day, ominous enough that the school cancelled classes. They didn’t know the forecast far enough ahead in advance, however, to cancel the bakery order for lunch bread rolls. About six hundred and fifty students, about sixty five teachers. You do the math. I came in the next day to find a plastic bag of ten rolls on my desk. Half are in the freezer now, but I think I’ll be quite sick of bread before they’re gone.