Mrs Beeton said, “All creatures eat, but only man dines”. At Hanford we believe mealtimes are an important part of daily life in a boarding school. They are not just an opportunity to refuel but a time for the girls to chat with their friends and develop important social skills and good table manners. Every Monday Mrs Johnston, Head of Pastoral Care, creates a seating plan for the whole school where she mixes the different year groups. After saying Grace, the older girls serve the younger ones and conversation is very much encouraged by the member of staff supervising the table.
We aim to provide girls with nutritionally balanced meals that appeal to their different pallets and appetites as well as cater for any specific dietary requirements. There is always a main course with an alternative option at lunch and a salad bar at supper. We believe that learning to eat together is an important step in developing a healthy approach to food, mealtimes and eating.
Our menus are well balanced so that all girls can find something to enjoy eating. Food is freshly prepared and cooked in our kitchen every day and produce from our working kitchen garden is nearly always on the menu. There is an emphasis on healthy, balanced meals but with the occasional treat too.
Our highly skilled and experienced team in the kitchen is headed up by Diane and Liz who have over 40 years experience between them in both catering and nutrition.
Throughout the school there is fruit available all day. During the Summer months the apples, pears and plums will come from our own orchard. The typical fruit bowl will include apples, pears, bananas, oranges, plums and grapes.
Milk is offered three times a day at Hanford as calcium is essential for young healthy, growing children. Girls can have milk at breakfast, break-time and then again in the afternoon at ‘milk and buns’.
At Hanford we are blessed with a wonderful working kitchen garden which provides seasonal produce throughout the year – berries, tomatoes and lettuce in the summer to potatoes, butternut squash and carrots in the autumn and we even have salad in the winter from our hot house.
We use local suppliers for all our fresh produce. Our meat comes from the Else family butcher in Stalbridge, our dairy from Langman’s Cheeses near Yeovil and our eggs from free a range farm in Bishops Caundle.
We recognise that where there are children there are sweets. Whilst we expressly forbid sweets and snacks to be kept in the dorms (for health reasons) we recognise that they are an important part of childhood and therefore we have a dedicated time for tuck on Sundays with the odd treat at some break-times during the week.