Nutritious, Plentiful AND Good: Creche Food
All visitors to the crèches say their food is the best. Hilda, the managing director of the crèches, and Regina, the Porayar nurse, plan meals with the children’s nutritional needs foremost while Sangeetha, the cook, brings them to life. The food is vegetarian with lentils, eggs and fish supplying protein, rice, and an abundance of vegetables. Fruit is served for the afternoon snack. Breakfast is various kinds of porridge with milk. Visitors will see the daily menu written out on the chalk board in English.
The Good Shepherd Crèche doesn’t have running water or electricity yet but this doesn’t get in the way of cooking. Sangeetha buys supplies in the Porayar market. Lacking refrigeration and convenience foods, vegetables and fruit are always fresh. Grains and beans are cooked on the two-burner gas stove. The crèche doesn’t need a can opener.
At the Good Shepherd Crèche children eat meals on the covered verandah. The staff sits on the floor around large steaming pots. As they fill tin plates, older children serve the others, one plate at a time. The children sit in long lines, two are back-to-back down the middle of the porch. The boys roll up their pant legs when they eat and like to sit with other boys.
Portions are generous and seconds are available. There is almost no food waste. Children know they will get enough to eat and can wait patiently to be served, even when they are hungry.
After lunch children take their plates to the wire basket to be washed by staff during the children’s afternoon nap. They wash their hands and faces, have a drink of water and settle down to sleep. The security and reliability of crèche food is as important as the nutrition for the children. That it tastes good, too, is a crèche blessing.