The Grain Chain

News time!

The start of a new school term can be slow to kick off, as children have got out of the school time routine, but if there is one way to ease them back in gently, it is by getting them to report on their news from the Christmas holidays.


There are lots of questions that you could ask your class and visual prompts that you could use to jog their memories, and as Christmas is the time of year when children may try new foods or travel to see friends or relatives, why not focus on this?


Start by engaging your class in a discussion about what they did during the holidays. You could use the following questions to get you started:


-          What did you have to eat on Christmas day? Did you try any foods that you hadn’t tasted before? What did you think of them? What was your favourite Christmas food and why?

-          Did you cook anything with your parents/guardians? What did you cook?

-          What was your least favourite Christmas food? What do you think you could do to it to make it more tasty?

-          Have you eaten any of the following over the holidays? – cheese straws, mince pies, Christmas pudding, sausage rolls, bread sauce, turkey sandwiches, crackers. What do all of these foods have in common? They are all made using flour.


Children should then find it easier to write their news as you’ve reminded them about what they’ve got up to!


Do you know…the origins of many popular foods which are eaten over the festive season?


Mince pies: Centuries ago the mince pie would have been a large oblong shaped dish filled with various meats such as chicken, partridge, pigeon, hare, capon, pheasant, rabbits, ox or lamb tongue, liver, and mutton meat mixed with fruits, peels and sugar. It was originally known as a Christmas Pye. It was only after the medieval era that meat was gradually replaced with the spices that the Crusaders brought with them. It is also thought that around this time, the pies changes to a smaller, round shape.

Bread Sauce: Bread sauce was first made in the medieval times when bread was plentiful. Flour was not historically used to thicken sauces so stale bread was the perfect alternative.

Christmas pudding: The Christmas pudding started life as a 14th Century ‘porridge’ called frumenty. This combined boiled beef and mutton with fruits, wines and spices and was more like a soup than a pudding. By 1595 it had evolved into the Christmas dessert that we eat today. It was thickened using eggs and bread crumbs, more dried fruit was included and the addition of ale and spirits gave it much more flavor. The puritans banned it in 1664 as a ‘lewd custom’. It was only in 1714 when George I developed a liking for plum pudding that it was re-introduced.

Cheese straws and sausage rolls: The origins of both of these flour based foods are not known but although they are now associated with the festive period, they were traditionally made at the start of Lent to use up any leftover meat and cheese before the fast.

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