In the February half term we took a bus trip into Brighton. We did our usual favourite child friendly activities, the level park, the library and the pier. But we also added into the mix a trip to the Real Junk Food Project Cafe, which will now be added to our list of favourite things to do in Brighton with our little uns.
I had wanted to visit the cafe in so long but as is the case, when you have small people, things have tended to get in the way. There are cafes held at different locations on different days. We went to the cafe held at Brighton One Church. We got to the cafe and there was a queue, a really big queue, this place was very popular. When I tasted the food I could see why it was so popular. It was so busy we struggled to get a table. We managed to find a church pew next to the cake table, much to my eldest daughter's delight. The staff, who are volunteers, were all super friendly and helpful and made sure we got a place to eat and had somewhere to put our pushchair. The people at the cafe, both the staff and customers, were all super friendly. People came up to talk to us and coo over the baby. Frieda was made to feel welcome and I could relax whilst Frieda ran around and danced to the music being played on the piano. Yes there was a piano!!!! there were also fairy lights and Bjork was playing in the background. The customers were a lovely mix of students, hipsters, hippies, children, older people, real Brighton characters and people who may have lost their way a little. It was a real Brighton melting pot and it made me miss living in this glorious city.
I have left talking the food till last because it really was the best bit about the experience. There was something for everyone, even my fussy little daughter. I started with veggie soup and a large hunk of fresh bread. I continued with a couple of curries, rice, polenta (my first time tasting this), potatoe wedges and two types of salad. I washed this down with freshly squeezed fruit juice, before finishing things off with baklava and a chocolate crispy cake. My daughter feasted on tomato pasta and two different types of cake. The food is served on one side of the room, canteen style. On the other side of the room there is a huge coffee machine which rivals that of any coffee house I have been to. I had a latte and there was a large selection of herbal teas. A young man, with a hipster moustache. made my coffee which gave it that real authentic feeling! Oh and my coffee was served in a thick glass, with a milk heart on top, the attention to detail here was amazing. Bellies full and my heart singing we headed off to the level park to play.
The real junk food project cook their delicious food using food that has been intercepted from supermarkets, food that would ordinarily end up in landfill. The cafe works on a pay as you feel basis, which is great because it means that no one is excluded. The Real Junk food project cite that a quarter of food produced globally is wasted and that it is estimated that 795 million people do not get enough to eat. The Real Junk Food Project plays a small but important part in trying to re address this balance. There are Real Junk Food Projects all over the country so I urge you to check it out if you have one locally.
Do check out the links below for more information:
I realise that the title of this blog post sounds very mundane. But my daughter eating a ham sandwich was a pretty big deal. It was a real milestone in terms of Frieda asserting her independence. My partner and I are vegetarian. I have been Vegetarian for 13 years and my partner for about 5 years. When I was pregnant, with my eldest daughter, my partner and I decided that we would raise our child vegetarian until she was old enough to understand and then she could make a choice about whether or not to eat meat
I don't often talk about being vegetarian and, if I'm honest, I feel a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing, like a slight fraud. I personally feel that the diary industry is pretty cruel and not very sustainable but still I eat a lot of cheese. I think that it's better to be a meat reducer than it is to to eat the amount of dairy that I do. So I feel uncomfortable talking about being Vegetarian because really I feel that I should be Vegan.
The 'meat chat' occurred a little earlier than I had intended and caught me a little off guard when, my nearly three year old, daughter asked to eat chicken a few months ago. I explained what it was, where it came from and that mummy and daddy didn't eat it but that we were happy for her too. I wimped out of cooking chicken but said that she could try it at her meat eating grandparents house. When we visited her Grandparents though, Frieda changed her mind and, if I'm honest, I felt a sense of relief.
The meat issue reared it's head last week. Ham gate, as I like to call it, started in the car, on the way home from nursery, and went something along the lines of this:
Frieda: My friend has ham in her sandwiches.....what's ham?
Me: Um....it's the flesh of dead piggies.
Frieda: Ah yes I think I would like to try some.
Me: Ok are you sure you want to eat a dead animal though? You know *stoops very low* it's like eating a dead peppa pig are you absolutely sure you do?
Frieda: Yup, I want to eat a ham sandwiches and then ham pasta and then ham pizza.
Me: *trying to hid the disappointment in my voice* sure thing darling.
I felt way more disappointed that my daughter wanted a ham sandwich than I thought I would. In my head we were this happy, animal loving, liberal, trying to save the planet, Guardian reading, Jeremy Corbyn loving vegetarian family and Frieda had gone and upset the balance with her bloody ham sandwich antics. I jest, there was actually a small part of me that was happy that my fussy daughter had expressed an interest in a food source other than cheese.
And so ham sandwich day came. I purchased a slice of ham from the Waitrose deli counter that cost £2, yup £2!!! not very thrifty!!! My daughter most certainly would not be getting accustomed to this. Ham Sandwich day was a bit of an anti climax. Frieda took one bite, said she didn't like it, asked to put it in the bin, and it has never been spoken about since.
So there we have it my daughter, who feels ever so grown up now, with her own views and opinions and her own ham sandwich eating friends.