I have very early memories of stirring the Christmas pudding at my primary school. We all lined up next to the kitchen serving hatch and waited until it was our turn to hold the huge wooden spoon and stir the thick, sticky pudding mixture. I don’t actually remember eating the pudding, although I’m sure we did: the memory for me was about getting ready for Christmas, being with friends, and about how much fun baking was.
School is magical at this time of year so I have been very pleased to hear about two local primary schools who have created their own cooking memories.
St Peter’s Primary, St Albans have made beautiful gingerbread houses with the infant classes. Each class made one house and every child helped to decorate a section with icing, chocolate biscuits and sweets. The houses look wonderful and are on display for the school community to see. Each infant also baked and decorated gingerbread people, angels, stars and baubles to hang on the Christmas tree. I went in to help with one session, and it was lovely to watch the children develop their early artistic skills! Some went for the “more is more” approach and iced on as many sweets as possible, and others created very tasteful, symmetrical designs. Teachers and parents threaded ribbon through each, ready for hanging on trees.
Wheatfields Infants, St Albans have baked beautiful miniature Christmas fruit cakes, that each child will take home as a gift. Year 2 teacher Sarah Fitzgerald explained to me that the children loved chopping the dried fruit, measuring out the ingredients, mixing, and decorating the cakes. The cakes are decorated with red and white icing, with some traditional snowy scenes and others with stars or snowmen. One pupil Olivia told us: ‘I’m going to make the cake for my mum” and Matthew had a very honest comment: “I thought it looked like a squished frog but I got some on my hand and it tasted quite nice!” The children have also designed and made boxes to take the cakes home in.
Things to do in St Albans
The children break up quite early this year (well, it seems like it…) but there are some lovely foodie things to do to help keep them busy. Father Christmas will be at Inn on the Park (winner of 2011 Family Friendly award) on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23 December. Book a slot to meet him, and the children will also be entertained by Wobbly Brushes and the Wish Upon a Party Fairy. Tickets are £8.95 and you will need to book beforehand. The cafe does fab home-made soups and cakes too, as well as lots of child-friendly meals so if you need to get out of the house, head over there.
Have you seen the Knitivity yet? It visited Inn on the Park this week but will be back at the Cathedral from the 17th. It was knitted by Anne Hudson, a Rainbow and Brownie leader for the Cathedral’s packs. If you are visiting the Cathedral over Christmas for carols or a quiet moment, do make time to visit Abbot’s Kitchen cafe tucked away in the Abbey for their delicious home-made cakes and lunches. The special Christmas lunches have finished now, but they make a very good cup of tea.