In an interesting and somewhat peculiar observation made, it was found that most of the government schools in the district have employed those cooks to prepare mid-day meals (MDM) whose own children are studying in the same school. The school principals attribute this trend to a simple fact that if mothers will prepare the mid-day meal in the school, then they will make all the efforts to maintain the quality and hygiene level of the food being served to the students, including their own children.
At Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cemetery Road, Pooja has been preparing MDM for the last three years for 399 children, studying in Classes 1 to 8. Talking to HT, Pooja said, “I am fond of cooking and this is the best platform that I was offered by the school principal to prepare a meal for so many students every day. Both my kids study in the same school in Classes 5 and 6.”
Pooja added, “The school started serving the mid-day meal three years ago. When I was asked if I could come and prepare food for kids, I got so excited and decided to accept the offer. This opportunity has given me more time to spend with my own kids. Whenever I get free from my work, I find out how they are performing in their classes. Every day, I get up at 5am and finish my household work by 8.30am, so that I can reach the school by 9.30am. After reaching the school, we start preparing the mid-day meal and serve it to the students at 11am”.
School principal Anoop Kumar Passi said, “If the cook’s children are studying in our school, then they will prepare better and hygienic food. These cooks will never compromise with the quality and quantity of the food because their own children are going to have it.”
Another cook at the government high school, Asha Devi, who prepares the mid-day meal for 68 kids every day said, “In 2014, I started preparing a mid-day meal in the school. I regularly get feedback from the school headmaster regarding the food served to the students and I make the best effort to prepare the food in the most hygienic way. In the morning, I first clean the utensils in which the food is cooked and then the food is served in proper plates to the students at 12.30pm.”
“I have become more confident in cooking food in the MDM kitchen as students give regular feedback. My daughter studies in Class 7 in the school and most of the time she comments that I prepare better food in school than at home,” Asha added.
Aarti, a Class 8 student, said with a contented smile, “The meal served is always fresh and I always tell my mother that the cook in the school prepares yummy food.”