Wednesday, September 15, 2010


If you ever want to know what really goes on in a school, volunteer at the snack shop. In New Zealand, they refer to the snack shop as the "Tuck Shop". It is a separate building outside that serves up Kiwi fast food. You can have a spaghetti wing - a piece of french bread slathered with Spaghettio's and topped with pizza cheese ( I think it was actually cheddar) and baked. Then we have meat pies, garlic bread, sushi (yes, sushi is big here), chicken wraps and all sorts of candy.
The lady in charge, Claire, knows all of the kids and knows all of the gossip. You see, there is no cafeteria in NZ schools. Kids just open their lunch boxes and sit wherever they can and eat. They have a little over an hour to eat or play or just hang with their buddies. No lunch line, no lunch lady and nobody telling them to shush. It's kind of cool. In the center of this is the Tuck Shop. We opened for breakfast for 15 minutes to serve hot chocolate and muffins then reopened for morning tea @ 10:30 then again at noon for lunch. So, the kids will never actually have the chance to be hungry if they have cash or a debit card.
I must admit, it was a lot of fun. The children are very courteous and Claire is very efficient. It kind of reminded me of the Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi. The boys lined up, had their money in hand and asked nicely for their food saying please and thank you. They didn't dawdle. That is until my child came up with a fist full of cash and half a dozen orders which is strictly prohibited. You're not supposed to take orders for your friends. Looks like they were breaking in the new guy. Oh well, nobody seemed too concerned. I suspect that the kids of the Moms who volunteer get special treatment.
The Tuck Shop also has a few vegetarian dishes which is awesome since my 10 year old has recently decided he is vegetarian. Looks like I am too.

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