Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I hate Primary schools.

You know, just between you and me, I'm slightly regretting the suggestion I made to Jack about baking biscuits (cookies) for his business venture at school. (I posted about it in one of my first posts. I don't know how to link to it. Quick summary.... he had to do a stall and sell things at lunchtime as part of Business Studies. He wanted to sell fish n chips. I could see that turning into a logistical nightmare plus not being cost effective, so like the good little frugality kick girl that I am I suggested we make biscuits. I included the recipe on the post. We made over 200. He sold the lot for a VERY tidy profit. He had Phuket spending money. All was good.)
Then Brennan came home from school last term (he tends to do that... I think because home is where I keep the food) and he had a 'Healthy Snack Project.' I hate projects with a passion. Why do primary schools continually inflict them upon us? He wanted to do some hideously complicated and expensive snack. I suggested the biscuits. At first he objected.
"They've got chocolate in them. The snacks are supposed to be healthy. I can't run a selling campaign like that."
I pulled out all my cunning and persuasive wiles as a Drama teacher, a woman and a frugality kicker. "We put wheatgerm in them. You can run a slogan like 'The kids will see the chocolate. YOU"LL see the natural wheatgerm goodness!' "
He was sold. So were all the biscuits when he took them to school. He passed with a glowing report from his teacher. All was good.
Until he came home (I know... again!!) and proudly informed me that the school was holding a stall at lunchtime to sell healthy snacks to raise money for wildlife rangers. The grade 6ers voted for the four best snacks. Guess who won? He was over the moon. As for me...
Now I'm all for success at school and feeling good about your work and all that. I have to be. I signed up for promoting all of that when I became a teacher. It's clause 2.45, right after the vow of poverty. But this recipe uses 6 eggs and nearly 2 kilos of flour. The mixture is hard to mix because there's so much of it, and baking nearly 100 biscuits takes a fair chunk of time, because you can't wander far from the oven in case they burn.
Brennan looked up at me with his big brown eyes blinking trustfully at me behind his glasses.
"The teacher said you don't have to do it if you don't want to...."
Shit. "Alright, I'll do it," I idiotically said. "But I won't do it again."
The stall is today. The biscuits are made. I gave him around 60 to sell at 50c each. I made them last night after dinner. For those of you not currently living in Melbourne, yesterday was so hot you could've fried an egg on your forehead. It was 37 degrees Celcius. (I don't know what the American equivalent is... I converted biscuits to cookies for you guys, so now you can do the maths. Ok, I'll give a rough estimate. In American degrees, it was probably a billion.)
I had the aircon on, but it's evaporative. It was gently puffing out of the ceiling vents keeping Jack in his room cool (Maths and Science exams are today. Crucial for him (maths nerd) so fingers crossed), but in the kitchen it was no match for the might of the oven. In and out went tray after tray of biscuits. Every time the oven door opened it belched blistering burps of 220 degree (celcius) air into the room. (Did you notice the discreet use of alliteration? ) I'd take two trays out, another two would be loaded up and in they'd go. While they were cooking I grab a spatula and pile the biscuits on cooling trays, then put balls of dough on the trays ready for the oven. Connor was M&M guy, putting them on the tops of each ball of dough. When the cooking biscuits were done, out they'd come! In went the next two trays! Spatula waving! Biscuit piling! Balls of dough plopping on trays! Helping Brennan with his other homework! M&Ms being stolen by Jack! Chasing Jack out of the kitchen and back to his room, waving the spatula and shrieking! Back to the oven! Again! and again....... !
I don't know about you, but I know that this isn't high on my list of fun ways to spend a hot night. Connor took some photos for the blog and when he took this one...
... he said "Action Mum!" I don't want to be moving this fast on a hot night. It's not relaxing. I was in the kitchen from 8pm till 10 pm. Do I look happy? That light near my face is NOT a twinkle in my eye.
Still, it's done. I have biscuits already bagged up and frozen for kids' lunches, and an ice cream container full of them for after school today, so that's good. Brennan also brought home a notice from school asking for cakes to be donated to the school to sell on election day as voters are queueing.
It's in the bin.


Kin said...

Oh dear, I am NOT looking forward to that.

Well done though - you wouldn't have caught me anywhere near the oven last night. And we have air conditioning!

M said...

I share your distaste for school projects. The kids get so excited about making their collage/boat/actual working rocket but all I see is endless nights of glueing and cutting and expensive trips to the newsagent.

Love the slogan for the cookies.

Stuntmother said...

That's a great story. Oh we dig our own graves, and with the best of intentions and the sharpest of spades.

Hey ho. I have to go hide in my bed for the last night I get to sleep in it for TWO WEEKS. Goddammit. Send cookies.

Frogdancer said...

Cookies??? I've got cookies!!! But naturally if you're not at home there's no point in sending them.They'll sit in the mailbox and turn colourful...
(Phew! That got me off the hook! If you lived closer I'd hand deliver, but I can't afford America.)

m: I don't know why primary schools insist on inflicting us with projects. Don't they know that's the main reason I send them to school? (So I don't have to be bothered with art and gluey stuff... I hate the mess.)
There's a reason why I'm a secondary teacher. Actually, there's several, but that one's a biggy.

River said...

So glad I'm past all that hoo-ha now. My oldest daughter is in the thick of it with a girl 13 and boy 11. She seems to handle it so much more calmly and capably than I did.

Kelley said...

I am known as the allergy baker. So I am always the one they sidle up to when there is a meet and greet or what ever to provide the food. FREE.OF.CHARGE.

Was honoured the first time. Now I just run really really fast.

My specialty is meringues, choc chip cookies, brownie and cakes. Gluten, milk, egg, soy and salycilate free.

But you my dear are a saint. No way on earth I was cooking in that heat!

Dollfinn! said...

OOh lol not that i have actually had this happen, but I would love to just once hear Mr Moo actually be interested in any of this. I am homeschooling him this year (sending him back to mainstream in a public school next year - fingers crossed) and I have all this craft stuff that i had hoped to interest him in, but NO, we dont like knitting, its too hard, we dont like glueing, its messy, we dont like scissors unless we can cut up clothes or curtains with them (grr) and things like papercurling and diarama making, ooh they are boring apparently.

SOB SOB SOB I was soo looking forward to all of those projects, I am not the slightest bit of an artist even though I would love to be (it skipped me, my little brother got that gene) but I loved art and projects at school (we never did cookies or bakesales at school when i was a kid). WHY did my Moo not get this love, why does he have such poor fine motor skills that he simply finds these things abhorrent?

The one art thing he likes - paper planes!

So while cooking over a hot stove is not generally a fantastic idea (i did it the other night too but out of choice, i made myself gluten free shortbread, still experimenting to get the right consistency but its getting there), I would gladly do it just for the sake of hearing him actually interested in it.