Shriya’s (my daughter) school started exactly a month ago and I have been busy settling her and us too into the new routine after two months of summer vacation. She goes to a Waldorf school. They focus a lot on kids eating healthy home cooked food. Hence, each parent takes turn in sending home cooked food for the entire class. It is kind of difficult to cook for an entire class (there are about 27 kids ), especially for working parents. However, the fact that kids enjoy eating a variety of food and at the same time you know they’re eating healthy, home cooked food each day makes it worthwhile. Each parent’s turn comes roughly once a month, actually even less than that. A couple of weeks ago was my food turn again, my first for this academic year. And it brought back memories of the first time I cooked for the class.
She joined this school exactly a year ago. And the first time I heard that I would need to cook for the entire class, I was kind of scared. I would not say I am an excellent cook. But I’m quite a good cook and the maximum number of people I have completely cooked for by myself would be 7-8 people. But cooking for an class of 25 kids is all together a different matter. It’s quite intimidating.
After discussions with other parents on who would be sending what, I decided to make lemon rice along with some raita (side dish of curd and chopped cucumber and other vegetables). The food had to reach the school by 9 am, so I decided to send it in the school van which comes for us at 7.30 am. On the designated date, I woke up at 5 am to start with the preparations. It was monsoon and it was raining very heavily. An hour through it was still pouring. I was almost done cooking when at around 6.30 am, everyone on the school WhatsApp group started discussing about how water logged their area was and were contemplating whether to send their kids or not. And most of them decided to stay home. My heart sank. I had put in a lot of efforts to prepare the food, and now the kids won’t be eating it! What would I do with so much food? I started making plans about distributing the food somewhere or maybe I could just take it to the school so that whoever has come could eat, etc. By this time it was almost time for her to leave for school and the rains had also subsided. There was no water logging in our area and neither there was any near her school. So we decided to send her any way. So she went and I sent the food with her. Oh and I forgot to mention. In the confusion of deciding whether to send the kids to school or not, I got delayed a bit in readying the food. I ended up scalding my hand badly from the steam when I started to hurry. A few kids did turn up that day and to my satisfaction,they did eat the food I had sent.
I have cooked many times for the class after that. But this memory of cooking for the first time will always remain fresh in my mind.