Ban on pork products in Kindergarten

(242 Posts)
ethelmeaker Tue 04-Dec-12 14:52:15

We have been asked by the parents council at my son's Kindergarten not to bring pork products in as part of the breakfast buffet (where once a week parents bring in various types of food to be served as a buffet) The Kindergarten is in Frankfurt and is a state Kindergarten, so I don't think this is a legitimate request. The e-mail that we received stated that "as some children don't eat pork for various reasons we would like to ask parents not to bring pork products anymore."
The only reason I can think of is to do with religion and in a state Kindergarten religion has no place as far as I am concerned. Just wondered if anyone else has any thoughts on this.

YDdraigGoch Tue 04-Dec-12 14:55:06

Odd, because I'm sure some don't eat bread, or apples, or chicken, or ...... "for various reasons".

It must be a religious thing.

Jingleflobba Tue 04-Dec-12 14:59:27

I pt does sound odd, can the Kindergarten staff legally enforce it?

If they have a lot of Jewish kids and Muslim kids it is fair enough, isn't it?

CreamOfTomatoSoup Tue 04-Dec-12 15:02:20

It's also a cultural thing for people of Jewish/Muslim ancestry but who aren't actually religious. If quite a few of the children are Jewish or Muslim or from families who don't eat pork then there's no point having loads of pork in a buffet. YABU because not bringing pork to a buffet is not the same as saying you should all worship Allah.

What's the issue? Surely it's no big deal not to bring pork even if it is for religious reasons?

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Tue 04-Dec-12 15:06:38

They said 'for various reasons' why assume it's religious? The only non-pork eater I know doesn't eat it for health reasons.

I'm with Juno, just don't bring pork.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:07:04

I know some very very ye olde worlde Christians who won't eat pork either. Out school doesn't have pork but had no problem with beef when we had some kids there who couldn't eat it for religious reasons.

NulliusInBlurba Tue 04-Dec-12 15:07:06

The largest immigrant groups in German are Turkish people, with a significant number of North Africans. These people tend to be devout Muslims who would not want their children to eat pork, and in some cases no meat unless it's Halal. If your Kita has asked you not to bring in pork products, it will either be because the Kita itself has a large proportion of Muslim children (or children from Muslim backgrounds, if you prefer), or because the Frankfurt Jugendamt has decided it would be best for all state institutions across the city to adopt a blanket ban.
Of course it's not a problem, it's a very sensible precaution, if a substantial number of children would not be able to eat half the stuff brought along. And Kita-aged children of 3 are not going to be able to read any signs or distinguish between different meats, so a blanket ban seems best. Having said that, we've brought up our DC in Berlin and never experienced anything like this - if anything, Berlin Kitas were far more liberal and relaxed than institutions in the UK, where nuts etc are banned and A+B+C is deemed unhealthy.
And generally, German Kitas and schools are much more relaxed about religion in state institutions. There is NO rule stating that Christian assemblies are compulsory, and my children are not exposed to any Christian propaganda, except as part of a regular class which explores religion objectively along with other social issues. Children have to choose to take either Catholic religious study, or Protestant, or can do neither if that is their (parents') choice.
You seem to object to the fact that this rule has been introduced in a state Kita, but to the honest, that is where most Muslim children will be, because most grant-maintained ('freie Träger') Kitas are run by the church, and these attract by default fewer Muslims.
So those are my thoughts...

ethelmeaker Tue 04-Dec-12 15:09:47

But surely the culture of the country ie Germany should be taken into consideration? The Kindergarten does not have a huge number of Muslims/Jews so why effectively ban pork products for all children? Replies to the email so far definitely indicate that the parents would not be happy with a ban on pork products. Pork is a big part of German cuisine and its culture. Plus as I said before it is a state kindergarten so religion should not come into it.

OatyBeatie Tue 04-Dec-12 15:10:03

Why are people so obsessed with their irritation about religion that they can't even bring themselves gladly to accommodate cultural food preferences associated with religious faiths? What generosity, what hospitality or love is there in an act of shared food provision if you are so needled by the requirement to provide food that can be enjoyed by all? Far better for you to say, "No, I prefer not to bring in any food thanks." You can still attend the school: the ogre of religion in a state context won't have cheated you of anything at all except the dubious pleasure of giving gifts strictly on your own terms.

seeker Tue 04-Dec-12 15:13:47

I wouldn't dream of taking something to a kindergarten party that all the children couldn't share. Why on earth would you want to?

I am an atheist and feel very strongly that religion has no place in state education- but I would want all children to be able to eat anything off any plate without breaking their dietary rules.

marchwillsoonbehere Tue 04-Dec-12 15:13:48

Oatybeatie I am an atheist and I agree with every word you say. Brava!

marchwillsoonbehere Tue 04-Dec-12 15:14:15

And you seeker

MrsHuxtable Tue 04-Dec-12 15:16:22

I don't see the problem. There's plenty of other things to bring.

Also, in Germany, the state and the church aren't as seperate as they are in the UK.

I actually find it great that they consider Muslim/Jewish children. It actually shows how open they are.
They're not stopping your DC from eating pork on normal days. He can still bring it in for himself in his Brotbox. They only don't want it brought in for the Gemeinsames Fruehstueck, which I think is fair game.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:16:57

I can understand severe allergies but meat...

I don't eat it myself, but never expect others to accommodate my diet, and would never be offended by someone eating a steak. I think if people are in a society where people do eat pork, beef, whatever (ban veal as its cruel? Or rabbit because they are cute?). Children being brought up not to eat certain things will have to come across it at some stage, so why not at a young age? My Muslim friend at school, has no problems with pork,being available and complained that it was 'PC gorn mad' when the ban was announced at school. Funnily enough they do serve something that is called 'ham' but I have no idea what the hell it it!

Obviously, small children will grab anything but I assume they are not unsupervised and the pork could be placed on say, a red plate to distinguish it? What about veggie children, would there be a ban on all flesh too, or would the children just be left to eat everything?

squoosh Tue 04-Dec-12 15:17:09

I agree with seeker, I fail to see why this request would bother anyone.

MrsHuxtable Tue 04-Dec-12 15:17:56

So they are not actually banning pork, are they...

dreamingofsun Tue 04-Dec-12 15:18:00

i believe in choice. if people don't want to eat pork for religious or any other reason then they should be allowed to bring something else in and eat that. m if others want to eat pork then they should be allowed to bring and eat that.

ethelmeaker Tue 04-Dec-12 15:18:54

But surely this comes down to choice. If you choose not to give your child pork you cannot expect that all others should also not be able to eat pork.
I have lived in Frankfurt over 10 years so I am aware of the number of Turkish immigrants especially in large cities. I don't think it is a sensible precaution as it unnecessary to ban products full stop. As one mother pointed out that her son is lactose intolerant and there are things that would actually be harmful if he ate them. They have not asked for all products containing lactose to be removed from the buffet.
The Catholic kindergarten near us had more Muslims than the state one.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:18:59

This is the person who makes quorn sausage rolls so everyone can eat them. The meat eaters have not guessed yet. I also get gelatine free sweets but that's because gelatine is nasty stuff.

NulliusInBlurba Tue 04-Dec-12 15:19:44

"But surely the culture of the country ie Germany should be taken into consideration?"
<sigh> you seem to have fallen hook line and sinker for the right-wing propaganda which seeks to deny the multicultural reality of Germany today. I read recently that a quarter of children growing up in Germany today are in some way not from a German background - so surely you should concede that contemporary German culture includes the fact that a large number of them - and these were the people who fuelled the economic wealth of Germany - don't like eating pork. Just have a bit of respect, OK.
And well said Oaty and seeker. Beautifully expressed.

Another agreeing atheist here.

Oh, and you are BU to refer to German food as 'cuisine'. grin

If DD was in a Kindergarden in Vietnam, I would be happy if children were asked to not bring in dog for buffet. I wouldn't expect that but it would be nice if she didn't eat it. That's not even a religious need.

MrsHuxtable Tue 04-Dec-12 15:22:49

I repeat this again. I think the issue is being misunderstood.

Are they banning pork fullstop, as in never allowed, not even in a child's personal snack box on the other 4 days a week?


Do they just ask parents to not bring it in for the weekly breakfast buffet anymore that is shared by everyone?

That's two very different things...

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:22:53

Dog! DS would have a stroke. He loves dogs.

Viviennemary Tue 04-Dec-12 15:23:35

Well I can see both points of view. Regardless of what the reasons are for not bringing pork. If it is a shared buffet and a substantial number of chidlren can't eat pork then maybe it is sensible for no pork to be sent. But on the other hand if some children are vegetarians, lactose intolerant, wheat intolerant and the rest would all these products not be allowed to be taken. Hmm. Not sure on this one.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:23:49

If its just the sharing then they ought to consider all dietary resrtictions too. That would be a monumental pita. All or nothing.

squoosh Tue 04-Dec-12 15:24:16

Little kids will pick up anything and give it a nibble, I presume the parents of Jewish and Muslim children would prefer to prevent any accidental pork chomping incidents. It would be different if it was a secondary school where Muslim and Jewish kids could see for themselves all the foodstuffs on offer and just ignore the pork based snacks.

marchwillsoonbehere Tue 04-Dec-12 15:24:24

But surely this comes down to choice. If you choose not to give your child pork you cannot expect that all others should also not be able to eat pork.

Yes choice is important for sure but consideration for others should get a look in too. Nobody, as far as I can tell, is being banned from eating pork at any other time, it's just that they are trying to make a communal breakfast entirely inclusive. What's wrong with that?

What Oatybeatie said is so wise I make no aplogy for shamelessly repeating it here:

the ogre of religion in a state context won't have cheated you of anything at all except the dubious pleasure of giving gifts strictly on your own terms.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:24:33

I though that German food was pretty pork-heavy anyway.

ethelmeaker Tue 04-Dec-12 15:25:23

None of the parents here are happy with it and for me that speaks volumes. In "considering" the minority the choices of the majority are restricted.

Frontpaw DD would agree. I think it would be worse in France, though. Her horse obsession is even worse than her dog obsession.

I just don't understand why anyone gets their knickers in a twist about this. Unless they have an issue with Jewish and Muslim people. I have an issue with compulsory worship in British schools. No pork in a kindergarden buffet = could not give less of a toss.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:27:59

Are there Jewish or Muslim kids there though? As I've said, I have only known Muslim parents to be embarrassed when pork gets banned on their behalf. However, I used to go to a kids club in the local synagogue's basement. Nannies would pop a ham and cheese sandwich in front of their charges. I thought that was a little hmm.

Oh and ethel there is a principle that the needs of the minority should be protected, even when that interferes with the wants of the majority. It is to stop certain acts that happen in certain countries sometimes I'm trying to avoid invoking Godwin's Law.

marchwillsoonbehere Tue 04-Dec-12 15:29:34

Agreed Mrs Pratchett. Just a rider....

I just don't understand why anyone gets their knickers in a twist about this. Unless they have an issue with Jewish and Muslim people.

And if they DO have an issue with Jewish or Muslim people (or any other specific ethnic group) why the frig would you listen to them anyway?

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:30:19

DS gets annoyed when I tell him That I have eaten horse quite a few times, and fluffy bunnies too!

DH was born Muslim and managed to survive the English school system before things like pork were banned! His mum is very 'when in Rome, get on with it'.

ethelmeaker Tue 04-Dec-12 15:31:24

Hi Frontpaw, yes German food is pretty pork heavy and having looked at some of the cooked meats on iffer here, I would rather give my son slices of proper pork or ham than a lot of the "poultry" products on the shelves. I respect the German culture and often have to accept differences that I don't necessarily agree with but pork is an intrinsic part of the German culture.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:31:27

So I have an issue with the pork ban but married to a Muslim. Aren't I confused then?!

ljny Tue 04-Dec-12 15:31:31

I'm usually the first to object to religion in state schools - but even I don't see the problem here. The school isn't telling them to pray, it's not indoctrinating any religion, it's not making some kids feel different.

They're simply saying, some kids don't eat pork - and these kids are too little to read labels - surely the great German culture has breakfast traditions without pork?

Reminds me - many moons ago - my primary school had fish on Fridays, because some of the kids were Catholic. When I asked, was simply told the Catholic kids didn't eat meat on Fridays. No biggie. Actually a bit of an eye-opener for a 6-year-old. Can't see the problem here.

squoosh Tue 04-Dec-12 15:31:33

Wow ethel you must really love pork!

Are there no other foods you could bring? It's hardly surprising that some Germans are going out of their way to accomodate the needs of minorities now is it?

squoosh Tue 04-Dec-12 15:32:42

pork is an intrinsic part of the German culture

It's hardly an affront to German culture to not chow down on pig meat on from time to time..

march I would understand why they had an issue then and respect their honesty more than the PA, "I'm not a racist but" crap that gets pulled. I most certainly wouldn't listen to them.

Jins Tue 04-Dec-12 15:33:08

Why would you want to spend good money on something that isn't going to be shared by everyone?

If I'm providing food for a group of children I tend to go down the vegetarian route in any case. Pork excludes vegetarians as well as those with religious restrictions.

Perhaps they've asked you all to stop because they end up with too much left over at the end and too many hungry children

marchwillsoonbehere Tue 04-Dec-12 15:34:43

Excellent point Mrs Pratchett

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:35:05

I would probably send sweet buns anyway. Much nicer than heavy meaty stuff for breakfast. I'd probably get told off for sending sugar.

marchwillsoonbehere Tue 04-Dec-12 15:35:56

pork is an intrinsic part of the German culture.

Intrinsic maybe, compulsorily eaten at every meal not so much!

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Tue 04-Dec-12 15:37:49

ethel does religion really not come into it at a state Kindergarten? We are in Bavaria, so I realise it is quite probably utterly different, but Catholicism runs right through everything the state Kindergarten does here - I can only wish they gave other religions a mention too, as I'm not too thrilled with my kids being taught Catholic/ Christian lore as absolute and unquestioned truth in a theoretically non faith setting ... but it comes with living in Bavaria.

We are asked not to bring oranges or strawberries in if we volunteer to provide the fruit as one child has an allergy - no uproar... one meal a week without pork will not kill even a German child, I don't personally see the problem - its not so restrictive a request that it makes it hard to find other options grin

NulliusInBlurba Tue 04-Dec-12 15:38:06

"I just don't understand why anyone gets their knickers in a twist about this. Unless they have an issue with Jewish and Muslim people."
Unfortunately that applies to a great number of people in Germany, still. Society is underpinned by a deep-seated dislike of Muslim cultures, which are portrayed as somehow less worthwhile than all that is ethnically German. It's an almost aggressive racial hatred which I only notice in the UK when the talk is of Gypsy and Taveller communities.

Agreed, Nullius, it was my subtle way of suggesting that people might be kidding themselves about their motivation to be upset about this. I have also heard some casual Antisemitism from a couple of Germans. Shocked me to my core, I have to say.

deckthehouse Tue 04-Dec-12 15:44:59

I wouldn't have a problem with this. Processed pork is not very healthy anyway. But I wonder how serious it is for Muslims if their child accidentally eats pork? I was very nervous when I had some Muslim friend over for dinner.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 15:45:22

I'll tell DH then. He must be anti-Muslim, oh hang on...

As usual, though, Frontpaw you can't generalise. Some people care, some don't, some people would like an accommodation to be made, some people expect and demand an accommodation to be made. I have eaten pork and oysters at a friend's house, who is Jewish, bacon with Muslim friends but some other people would really hate their children to touch or eat pork.

Since pork is not exactly a required food group and the buffet is made to be shared, I say, let's all join hands, sway and bring in fruit instead.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Tue 04-Dec-12 15:50:05

I can understand that perhaps it is easier to simply exclude pork from the breakfast if some of the children do not eat it, particularly if a lot of parents are bringing pork products in, meaning a lot of leftovers; however doesn't having the pork products present at the breakfast actually have the potential to teach children something - that we have differences, some of us don't eat pork, some are vegetarian, some don't eat beef, some don't eat wheat etc but that we should all respect those differences and that we can live (and eat breakfast) alongside each other harmoniously. By not having pork products present, are we not pretending that we are all exactly the same - surely we don't value diversity by doing this do we? Doesn't having a variety of foods present, some of which we can eat and some which we cannot, allows the opportunity for the teachers to begin teaching children about having respect for diversity.

LancsDad Tue 04-Dec-12 15:50:20

No big deal. Bring food in everyone can eat with no probs inc. allergies.

Things must be pretty perfect there if this is what people have time to get worked up about.

OatyBeatie Tue 04-Dec-12 15:55:19

That's a very humane line of argument, Dreaming. But my understanding was that the children spend all of the rest of the week eating in accordance with their individual needs/preferences and that this Friday event is a once-a-week shared affair. It would seem more natural that a shared breakfast would be about finding the (very substantial) common ground that exists across these several cultural cuisines, and celebrating that. Multiculturalism is about two sorts of things: respectful acceptance of differences and joyful celebration of similarities. A shared meal seems like an opportunity for the latter.

PessaryPam Tue 04-Dec-12 15:57:22

Thank goodness there aren't a lot of Jainists as all meat would be banned for their sensibilities.

I'm with the OP on this one, label the porky dishes as non kosher/halal and then everyone can choose what they want.

oldraver Tue 04-Dec-12 16:01:09

I think it a silly request, by all means label pork products so if people want to avoid it they can but its not on to ban something (unless it has allergy implications) just because some people dont want to eat it

ZZZenAgain Tue 04-Dec-12 16:08:25

when I look back on those buffet style kindergarten breakfasts, it was a mixture of white and brown bread rolls with either that revolting chocolate spread (which dc seem to like), cheese or sliced ham, some fruit, some cucumber and peppers, sausages.

Most of the German dc are probably used to eating pork with their rolls, in particular thinly sliced and shaped like a teddybear. If dc don't like cheese and don't want a sweet roll, they'll be pork eaters. I agree with whoever posted below I didn't like the look of the sliced chicken in my German supermarket and I would buy pork over chicken for a dc everytime personally.

I think the suggestion below to mark out by the colour of the plat, which food is pork is a very good visual solution. The children eat with their carers in a small group around a table. If there are only a few Muslim dc in the group, the carers only need to gently point out that the red dishes are pork. Dc will have no trouble at all learning that X, Y and Z don't eat pork. There is usually IME MASSES of food at these breakfast buffets. If you don't eat the pork, there is cheese, revolting chocolate spread and maybe chicken or jam to eat with your rolls.

ZZZenAgain Tue 04-Dec-12 16:09:19

argh colour of the platE sorry, not plat

what Seeker said.

If you want to re-inforce the german culture of stuffing yourself full of pork then just give your own child extra sausages at home or something.

Why does it matter so very much to you.

I am without religion but I would respect the fact that it's easier all round to not offer Pork in a nursery setting.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 04-Dec-12 16:28:53

I think the school should allow pork products, but have them separate from the other foods, or labeled as such.

I am not bothered about the "various reasons" people could have for not eating pork. Most children I know who are not eating pork, or other meats, for religious or other reasons, know this by the time they are in school and eat accordingly. Why should the majority of the class not be allowed to eat what is a standard food for them (DH is German, I've lived there, pork is king of meats)?

Is the non-pork-eating group particularly large at this school? Has the school even tried to speak to the families on this issue? Or are they being over-sensitive to what is possibly a non-issue for the pork abstainers? They're raising their children in merrily pork-eating country, surely they expect these situations, and indeed, have already encountered them. This should be part of the learning and integration process for these children.

NulliusInBlurba Tue 04-Dec-12 16:29:27

Actually now I think about it, I'm pretty sure DD2's school meals here in Berlin are all pork-free, for the same reason. Now there are plenty of complaints about the dismal quality of the food, but nobody is in the slightest bothered about a lack of pork for one meal a day. It's honestly not an issue. This whole hoo-haa in a Frankfurt Kita is not really about pork or no pork - it's about not accepting an immigrant culture as being truly 'German'.

OP - why not get your Kita reps to complain to the Frankfurter Allgemeine - it's the kind of 'oh woe is our sacred German culture' thing they love.

Preferthedogtothekids Tue 04-Dec-12 16:31:26

My DH is a mixed-race chap with a Muslim Dad. He isn't a practicing Muslim but he won't eat any pork. I find it much easier just to buy food that the whole family can eat rather than mess about with separate meats. Isn't that more sensible when taking food in for a large group? I'm not sure kindergarten kids will even notice that their food isn't pork, they may even enjoy more variety, particularly if many of them eat a fair amount of it at home.

Blu Tue 04-Dec-12 16:33:21

None of the parents here are happy with it and for me that speaks volumes.

Oh, it does, OP, volumes.

Apart from issues of inclusivness, respect, sharing, understanding cultural difference etc, do you not think that for one breakfast a week, amongst the 21+ meals a week that a child eats, it might be healthy to avoid guzzling down on thiswurst and thatwurst for a morniing?

If i were invited to bring sweets to share at a community event and was told that a high % of people present did not like liquroice (for whatever reason) , I would think myself very bloody minded to take as my offering a big dish of liquorice allsorts.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 04-Dec-12 16:35:01

no, you're right, Prefer. The more I think about it, it is just one meal, and these children aren't going to notice a lack of pork for one meal.

I still think that some of these decisions are made without actually consulting the people they affect. But that's not the question being asked, and I was probably off on a tangent. smile

Theicingontop Tue 04-Dec-12 16:36:45

YABU. It's really not that big of a deal.

I see the school's point. What if the pork product you supply isn't immediately recognisable as being pork, and a Jewish or Muslim child ate it erroneously? That would be pretty awful for the child, right? Sure it could be labelled but I don't really see the harm in not bringing it at all. I doubt the kids would miss it. It's just pork.

SolomanDaisy Tue 04-Dec-12 16:39:50

None of the parents are happy about it? Does that include the Jewish/Muslim parents? Are they also so convinced that pork is such an intrinsic part of German culture that they can't miss it out of one breakfast a week? How jolly good of them to be so keen to adapt to their host culture.

TheUKGrinchImGluhweinkeller Tue 04-Dec-12 17:27:15

People who are suggesting labelling foods - Kindergarten children are aged 3 to 6 years old (in Berlin actually do they start Kindergarten younger, at 2 or 2.5?) and are not taught to read until proper school, which is separate to Kindergarten. So the children in question can't read labels 8with the possible rare exception). The colour of plate thing might work, but it might not, especially for possible 2 year olds and young 3 year olds...

Blu 's liquorish similie is a good one... although I do appreciate that pork products are a standard part of a German breakfast, in the form of salami and other cold sausage, they are not essential. I am glad our Kindergarten doesn't have shared breakfasts I think! Though we are in the depths of the countryside and sadly lacking in cultural diversity - my half German, half English child was the first "foreign" child her Kindergarten group leader had taught, as she confided at the settling in meeting, along with the fact she had been worried about it and was so relieved DD spoke German!

You got that wrong Soloman. None of the important parents are happy about it...

Actually as an atheist I get a little miffed with people acting like they are doing things for me. Saying 'happy holidays' instead of 'happy Christmas' for example. Maybe the Jewish and Muslim parents are rolling their eyes as well.

hackmum Tue 04-Dec-12 17:33:31

Do Germans usually eat pork products for breakfast? How odd.

OP, can you think of any reasons, historical maybe, why the Germans might decide to be particularly sensitive to the needs of minorities? Hmm?

(Does anyone else think maybe the OP is trolling? Am I going to get deleted for even suggesting it?_

gordyslovesheep Tue 04-Dec-12 17:36:17

Hackmum yes - ham and rolls - but so do brits - sausage and bacon anyone?

I really do NOT see the issue in simply bringing other things though - children don't always know what is what at a buffet and help themselves - surely not having pork isn't going to harm anyone?

gordyslovesheep Tue 04-Dec-12 17:36:53

oh and yes Hack I agree with your final point !

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 17:43:15

I'm guessing, for whatever reason, having no pork products will make the lives of the people who work at the kindergarten easier.

And for this reason you should go along with it.

I'm guessing no pork products means no pork gelatin eithr. Quavers used to be made with pork gelatin, but aren't anymore, so I suspect there is a lot of pork floating around in various foods. I can see why a letter has gone out to parents.

I know someone who has grumbled about schools banning peanuts, but not meat when her DC are vegetarian.

"in a state Kindergarten religion has no place as far as I am concerned." So you expect them not to celebrate Christmas and Easter, then?

Frankfurters who don't eat fankfurts. Whatever next?

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 17:44:37

Having lived in Germany, I can confirm pork products are indeed eaten for breakfast.

(And us Brits do like our Bacon and eggs!)

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 04-Dec-12 17:44:42

"how odd" really? It's a different country, with different eating customs, so it's odd? hmm Then you go on to suggest that they are the ones who might not be culturally sensitive.

Oh I get it, we're all just meant to be sensitive towards cultures which aren't European, is that it? Or is it just okay because they're German, we can mock them because of historical reasons?

dreamingofsun Tue 04-Dec-12 17:48:12

lynette - banning peanuts is because some kids are alergic to them. they die if they eat them. there was a ban in my kids school for this reason, which everyone supported. the allergic kids had no choice in this and it was life threatening.

being vegetarian is a life choice and is entirely different

FreudiansSlipper Tue 04-Dec-12 17:50:51

it is not a big deal unless you want it to be a big deal

children do not always know what does and what does not contain pork products easier to just not have any

i eat pork but have gone off percy pigs when i read on the packet contains pork i tought they were just pretend piggies not real ones sad

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 17:52:42

There are veggie Percy pigs but are so bloomin sweet they gave me the shakes (and that means over sweetened with cheap n nasty sugar).

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Tue 04-Dec-12 17:54:41

A nitrite sensitivity/allergy (which would exclude a lot of pork products) is not something a child has a choice in and is equally life threatening. As a child or even a carer cannot know the difference between an okay sausage and not okay sausage on sight it can be best to exclude the option all together. There are also other medical conditions which pork would aggravate and as, like nitrite sensitivity, many just don't listen/ignore it, trying to pick what can and cannot be given would be a minefield.

Seriously, it is one meal a week. Even my very-pork obsessed FIL can manage one meal.

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 17:55:45

Yes, exactly kids can die when they eat peanuts. I did point that out to the grumbling mum.

What is the mortality rate from heart disease in Germany?

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 17:58:51

I would have though bowel cancer would be more a risk.

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 17:59:33

When DS1 was at nursery, they never served meat (the owners were vegetarian) and one year he was there a child had an egg allergy, so when the children cooked, it was always a recipe with no egg, and served nothing with egg in it at parties, so all children could eat all the food.

No parents had an issue with it, but then it was a private nursery,and weren't under any pressure to serve up national favorites.

goralka Tue 04-Dec-12 18:00:10

it seems a reasonable request, there could be Jews Muslims or Coptic Christians, none of whom eat pork, and little kids could eat something by accident.
the word 'ban' is a tad inflammatory though.

SamSmalaidh Tue 04-Dec-12 18:01:07

Wow, I wouldn't have even considered this an issue confused My son's (state) nursery also doesn't serve pork, as it's easier that way - they just have a veggie and meat option, rather than having to have a 3+ options.

Does it make any difference not to eat pork while at kindergarten? It's hardly like cutting out a major food group.

goralka Tue 04-Dec-12 18:02:50

besides pork gives you butt worms and diarrhoea...

drjohnsonscat Tue 04-Dec-12 18:05:21

If you don't want to eat pork, don't eat it. But don't tell other people they can't bring it to a shared buffet. The dog analogy is similar - if I went to Vietnam I probably wouldn't eat dog but I wouldn't tell other people not to bring dog to the buffet because I might find it offensive. It wouldn't necessarily get much takeup from the non-Vietnamese but that's another story.

There is something offensive about being told what you consider to be normal food and are offering openly, other people call unclean. I can't stop other people thinking it's unclean but a) it's not - scientifically - and b) it actually is quite rude to suggest that about other people's food. You can think it, obviously, but keep your thoughts to yourself if at all possible (ie, as long as you are not being force fed it).

there's a lot of talk about acceptance but it really isn't very accepting to want to ban a certain foodstuff because you think it's unclean. On the other hand, at a kindergarten breakfast, it is a bit moot because surely everyone will bring bread and cereal?

<remembers the time drj went to her weird aunt's house where she first took the goats for a walk around their small suburban town and then had roast goat for dinner>

PoppyAmex Tue 04-Dec-12 18:05:54

"Why are people so obsessed with their irritation about religion that they can't even bring themselves gladly to accommodate cultural food preferences associated with religious faiths? What generosity, what hospitality or love is there in an act of shared food provision if you are so needled by the requirement to provide food that can be enjoyed by all? Far better for you to say, "No, I prefer not to bring in any food thanks." You can still attend the school: the ogre of religion in a state context won't have cheated you of anything at all except the dubious pleasure of giving gifts strictly on your own terms"

Pasting Oaty's post because it's so good it deserves to be read again!

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 18:09:34
goralka Tue 04-Dec-12 18:11:42

there are valid reasons why so many millions of people do not eat it......

unrulysun Tue 04-Dec-12 18:12:50

Glad you did that PoppyAmex as I was about to wink

I don't understand why this is such an issue - or is it more about the principle?

Our Kindergarten has something similar (a "healthy breakfast" taken in by a different family every week) but, while meat isn't banned, it isn't on the list of suggested items and AFAIK most people don't take it in. Austrian "cuisine" is very meat-based but I don't think any parent has ever complained about the lack of meat at breakfast - and you're only talking about pork here, not meat as a whole.

PessaryPam Tue 04-Dec-12 18:19:40

It could be Wurst, boom boom tish!

crescentmoon Tue 04-Dec-12 18:28:25

(gets to page 4 and breathes out sigh of relief)

natation Tue 04-Dec-12 18:28:42

It's hard finding a balance between accepting other cultural / religious traditions and expecting a bit of integration too.

I'd go for the colour plate options or ask for no meat at all.

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 18:30:39

Or do a breakfast with a theme - so 'foods we like to eat' then all the kids get to see what others eat.

merrymouse Tue 04-Dec-12 18:33:43

If quite a few children don't eat a particular food (for whatever reason), isn't it just more practical for the nursery to ask parents to bring something else?

If I were going on a picnic and I knew that quite a few of my friends hated Pringles, I probably woudn't bring them.

goralka Tue 04-Dec-12 18:34:17

exactly merrymouse.....

ethelmeaker Tue 04-Dec-12 18:39:09

22 children, 4 are non pork eaters (by choice) and the mum of one of the 4 has said that it is not an issue if other children eat pork. She also said that banning pork is not the way forward. No trolling going on here I'm afraid. Just wanted some opinions on this.
Oh and pork is not on the menu for the midday meal either. So 6 meals would be without pork.
All parents received the mail and of those who have replied all wanted to continue to have the choice of bringing pork in.
It really is a question of choice. I choose not to eat fish but I don't care if everyone around me eats it.

HalloweenNameChange Tue 04-Dec-12 18:44:46

Is there any German food available that doesn't involve pork? I am pretty sure PIG is the most dangerous occupation in Germany. Anyway, OP bring some veg and make everyone happy.

Blu Tue 04-Dec-12 18:53:36

Apparantly the average German consumes 67 pounds of sausages a year.

I do think that 'banning' foods on the basis that they are offfensive or unclean (DrJohnson's post) is not a way to go.

However, it is possible to approach a shared communal meal with an attitude of inclusiveness and 'let's make everything available to as many people as possible'.

Come on, people of Germany, flaunt your Meusli!

HalloweenNameChange Tue 04-Dec-12 18:56:07

i refuse to believe it's as little as 67 pounds a year blu

Blu Tue 04-Dec-12 19:08:02

HalloweenNC Maybe it has gone down since the ban in Kita?

The link beow explains that 67 pounds of sausages is the equivalent weigt of a 9 year old boy.

There are some splendid gentlemen enjoying a typical german breakfast here

tulipgrower Tue 04-Dec-12 19:10:42

Today's communal kindergarten breakfast offering in my part of Germany was bread with a choice of either salami, liverwurst, ham or cheese, so 3x pork, and the cheese was probably made with animal rennet too. (No sugary stuff allowed, because it's unhealthy. wink)

At the last kindergarten birthday breakfast I attended, in addition to the usual stuff there was also meatballs, sticks with cubes of veg and either salami or another kind of sausage on them and melon slices (without prosciutto wink).

I guess in Germany they train them early to be hardcore pork eaters. grin

(Although sometimes the kids have muesli for breakfast, morning and afternoon is always fruit and veg snacks and every week has at least 1 or 2 vegetarian lunches.)

Blu Tue 04-Dec-12 19:10:42

OP, do you think that this suggestion MIGHT be health led? Rather like the lunch box ban on crisps and cakes that we all rail against here?

lovebunny Tue 04-Dec-12 19:11:24

pork's banned in my house so it wouldn't be a problem for me.

E320 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:14:46

Well I think it is a little silly of the Kindergarten, considering the normal breakfast food on offer in Frankfurt hotels, but you still have muesli, Broetchen, butter, jam, cheese, eggs, fruit salad or even smoked salmon, don't you?
My German toyboy says that breakfast has to be sweet and really laughs at me, if I tell him I have had a boiled egg and some form of fish.
Of course I forgot that disgusting stuff, Nutella. What about offering Marmite (just to put everyone off) or porridge?

SilverBaubles33 Tue 04-Dec-12 20:34:39

Do Germans usually eat pork products for breakfast? How odd.

Yes. Why is a different culture's choice of trafitional food seen as 'odd'? Perhaps you have not travelled much in Europe, but yes, there are lots of pork 'products' on offer for breakfast in Germany, along with cheese and eggs, bread rolls and, best of all cake! Same in Holland and Belgium.

OP, can you think of any reasons, historical maybe, why the Germans might decide to be particularly sensitive to the needs of minorities? Hmm?

I'm Jewish, and have lived and travelled extensively in Germany, among many other countries all over the world. Most Germans if my acquaintance would feel extremely uncomfortable if not hurt by such a statement. Did you mean this to be an offensive comment? Apologies if not, but I felt you were making an unpleasant reference to Nazi atrocities in WW2. Is that the case?

Finally, tolerance is a two-way street. I sometimes wonder if that is always the case on threads such as these.

It's an interesting debate, and one that is happening all over Europe, but crying 'intolerance' and implying anti Islam or anti Semetism when the debate begins is, in my opinion unhelpful and facile. These ate sensitive and com

SilverBaubles33 Tue 04-Dec-12 20:37:05

Sorry, posted too early!

These are sensitive and complicated issues and I think all those involved need to focus on open, continuous dialogue, even when the debate becomes uncomfortable.

Montybojangles Tue 04-Dec-12 20:47:38
Perhaps they are simply concerned for the health of your child?

ConferencePear Tue 04-Dec-12 21:08:08

I think there is a problem of the intolerant foisting their foibles on the tolerant. I won't eat halal meat, but I don't expect that others won't eat it in my presence.

squoosh Tue 04-Dec-12 23:27:22

I hardly think it's 'intolerant' that people don't eat pork for religious reasons. hmm

SilverBaubles33 Tue 04-Dec-12 23:34:33

squoosh I totally agree. I do not eat it myself.

Nor do I think it is intolerant to serve pork in a Frankfurt kindergarten where the majority of parents would like it to remain on the menu. hmm.

There have been some creative and practical suggestions upthread to ensure the children don't eat it accidentally.

LynetteScavo Tue 04-Dec-12 23:42:27

Anyway, why do they even have a breakfast buffet once a week? confused

Is it a German thing?

PoppyAmex Wed 05-Dec-12 00:07:53

Do Germans usually eat pork products for breakfast? How odd.

Do English people eat bacon for breakfast? Does bacon come from cows?

It is just a fact that breakfast anywhere in the world is the weirdest meal to any other culture. Fish curry anyone?

squoosh Wed 05-Dec-12 00:27:37

Breakfast cereal is just a modern con.

joanbyers Wed 05-Dec-12 01:02:25

Germans eat pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For this reason it's not really reasonable unless it's a Muslim/Jewish school.

sashh Wed 05-Dec-12 04:33:42

If it is for Jewish/muslim children then I think it is a bad idea. People who do eat pork will be well aware that sliced salami is pork but not that pork may be in bread or cake.

Children who are being brought up to not eat certain foods need to know what they are. Putting the ham on a seperate table or a coloured plate might be a better idea.

Saying to children they can eat everything on a table is more likley IMHO to have Jewish / Muslim / 7th day adventists / vegetarians eating things that they shouldn't.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 09:33:49

It is quite a thorny issue. Do we 'ban' all items which may offend or pose a health risk? On what basis - religion, health, lifestyle choice, diet, phobia... And where is the line drawn?

At nursery/schools, in the UK anyway, we do teach kids about religions, festivals, cultures, etc, so the children get an understanding of others' beliefs. A bring and share breakfast is a great idea to see who eats what - we have done this at school (for the whole nursery and school) and the kids really enjoy all the foods. No-one has ever asked for certain foods not to be brought (only nuts). The Saudi table sits happily next to the German one and noone has ever made a fuss about what is served.

A child brought up in a no-pork household will know from a young age that there are some things they dont eat for religious reasons. My friends little boy knew from very young that he wasnt to eat hotdogs as they just dont eat pork in his parents' country. No big deal and he would eat something else while his friends had hotdogs. Hopefully they are not taught that its because 'that meat is shitty and anyone who eats it is dirty'.

I don't know any muslim or jew (I have worked for jewish firms) who has made such a request (actually, we have served veggie canapes at functions to make sure noone drinks too much wine and picks up a prawn). In fact, we have been given booze gift vouchers by rather religious types in the family 'because we know you like wine and weren't sure what to choose'. I cook veggie or even halal for them when they visit because they are my guests, hell, I even cook meat for the carnivores.

They would be mortified if someone was to push a 'no pork' on 'their' behalf as it would be seen as rude and disrespectful. Their culture is all about being diplomatic (there is a specific word that I can't translate but it means giving the best to your guests with a genuine great big smile) and treating others with respect (would never say 'pork is dirty'). I suppose not every culture/religion/family is the same but that is my own experience.

I also agree with the idea that pork products slips into all sorts of items that you wouldnt expect! Cake and sweets for starters.

seeker Wed 05-Dec-12 10:24:55

"It is quite a thorny issue. Do we 'ban' all items which may offend or pose a health risk? On what basis - religion, health, lifestyle choice, diet, phobia... And where is the line drawn? "

It's quite a stretch from a kindergarten trying to ensure that a shared buffet breakfast once a week is ok for all the children to eat without asking first to mass banning!

ZZZenAgain Wed 05-Dec-12 10:25:21

"Anyway, why do they even have a breakfast buffet once a week? Is it a German thing?"

Yes, Lynette I think it is common practice. My dd was in 3 different German kindergartens (as a result of our moving about) and we had this situation in all 3. Dc seem to like it. Usually they take their breakfast individually and just open their boxes and eat together around a table. One day a week you bring things which are served on plates laid up and down the table and the children can take what they choose. As I said below, the carers sit and eat with the children in this small group. It is quite cosy I think and the food laid out attractively on plates with baskets of rolls is just a different feel to eating out of a plastic lunchbox.

What I encountered too was that on the day your dc has his/her birthday, you bring breakfast for the whole group which will include sweet treats, such as a cake or muffins, little bags of sweets (probably chewy bears with gelatine in them come to think of it) etc as well as some regular breakfast. They might not have the cake till the afternoon though. So I don't think it is a health issue here in that the kindergarten has decided pork is an unhealthy option, they are fine with the sweet stuff, it will be to do with different dietary requirements of some of the dc.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 10:56:57

It is a matter of line drawing through. We have had Hindus at school and beef was served, eggs where there are children with egg allergies and bananas where one small child would go into meltdown is he even smelled one. One mum was very very health conscious - lots of health problems in the family - and kept a very strict food diet for her and the kids.

seeker Wed 05-Dec-12 11:09:52

Well, if there was a child that had allergies, I would certainly expect a buffet breakfast not to contain the allergens. And I would also expect there to be nothing specifically forbidden by any of the faiths represented among the children.

That seems like q good place to draw the line, don't you think?

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 11:16:45

I don't know, H says that bans are a load of 'nonsense', and he has a better insight than me. My Hindu friend said that it didn't bother him that no one ever thought to ask for no beef in the sandwiches or lunches served at school.

dreamingofsun Wed 05-Dec-12 11:26:03

if you extend the argument though that you shouldn't do things that are bad for other faiths, surely this shouldn't just be restricted to food? So, for exampel, at the school i volunteered at there was a child who missed fridays sometimes because he had to go to prayer - surely then school should be cancelled on a friday and lessons run on a sat? presumably leather footballs are out? no food at all during ramadam?

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 05-Dec-12 11:31:20

I consider myself to be inclusive, when I have a party for small children I do make sure there are a lot of vegetarian options (several friends are, either for religious or other reasons). I do, however, always have sausage rolls and other treats which the other children expect to see at a party.

Now, I know a party is a different animal. I do think, though, that part of the process of attending school is to integrate children into society, outside the bounds of the family unit they've always known. Okay, perhaps 3-4 year olds won't know or understand the different foods (though all of the children I know who are know that they can only eat halal meat etc and avoid foods accordingly) but I'd think this could be a teaching exercise. The OP has already said the lunches are pork-free, so the one shared breakfast a week could be something different. I liked the idea upthread about bringing in different things to experience.

As I said in my previous response, I suspect the parents of the pork-free children haven't even been consulted in the matter.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 11:39:22

Prayers are one thing - at DHs school some kids did miss out games on Fridays. That was something they had to, do rather than something they could work around. When was the last time anyone had a real leather football and what does that have to do with it? We haven't had any children at school fasting during Ramadan (and I don't know any who do) but my friend came to the PTA meeting where there was coffee and cakes. She could have not come but wanted to. She even made jokes about it. My BIL fasts and still comes over at meal times and insists we don't not eat around him. He feeds his daughter and cooks. He goes to work, has lunch and breakfast meetings where people, shock of shocks, eat bacon sandwiches.

I know enough people in these situations who don't ask for things to be changed for them - or want people to ask for it on their behalf. My friend says, if she wanted he son to go to an Arab school, there are enough in London to choose from. Pork really isn't an issue to her, even though she doesn't eat it.

seeker Wed 05-Dec-12 11:40:26

I do suspect there is a lot of racism shrouded in the clothes of reason on this thread.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 11:42:05

If that was aimed at me... Then it's a pile of crap.

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 05-Dec-12 11:55:08

Suspect all you like. I grew up in a multicultural city where my racial background was not the majority, in schools filled with children of various religions. I've lived the last 10 years as an expat in several countries, perhaps I am just used to being in situations where people of different backgrounds have had to find a common ground. I've yet to find someone pushing for non-halal meat to be excluded, or pork to be excluded, for the sake of their children. It is always some well-meaning person who thinks it needs to be done for the sake of inclusiveness.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 12:05:57

Yup. We're in London and where we are is very multicultural and I am in the minority. My husband managed to go through the whole english school system without being menaced by pork. He had friends who were Jewish, Arab, European, American, Aussies... They all managed to eat, go to assembly, Christmas services... without any issue, and no one felt excluded.

SilverBaubles33 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:44:46

I was brought up and have lived outside my country of origin for longer than I have lived in it. I spent several years as the only child of my culture and ethnicity at one school; a year at a strict Muslim school; a few years at international schools around the world. If I were racist, I would be a very lonely lady indeed.

I appreciate that my unconventional upbringing has given me huge advantages and one if them is tolerance. If anyone I grew up with had demanded the removal or addition of Rastatafarian, Catholic, Hindu, German, or American food from a feast in which they were a minority, never mind a truly international and multicultural gathering, we would have been very surprised. As we were all friends and school or workmates, there would have been no need to point out what cultural imperialism that would have been.

As it was, our parents taught us to live and let live, show respect fit the culture and traditions of our host country and to be aware that there are bigots abd ignorant people of every creed.

The only vaguely racist remark I saw on this thread I asked to be clarified; is that the one to which you refer or am I missing something else? So far, I've seen reasoned debate and sense.

SilverBaubles33 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:45:42

*respect FOR

Pendeen Wed 05-Dec-12 12:50:16

Unreasonable demand IMO.

If the food is clearly identified as pork then those who don't like it can avoid.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 13:00:24

Silver - you should work for the UN! Were you diplomatic or military?

battyralphie Wed 05-Dec-12 13:07:13

my son attends a kindergarten in Frankfurt run by the protestant church. There is no pork on the menu, but there are pork sausages at the summer bbq (and beef ones).

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 05-Dec-12 13:07:57

I questioned the same comment Silver did but that poster has decided not to clarify, unfortunately.

TheElfOnThePanopticon Wed 05-Dec-12 13:17:03

When I bring food for a shared event, I always do my best to make sure that it is something that everyone can eat. Sometimes this can mean no meat, eggs, nuts or milk products. I would far rather go to a bit of extra effort than spend what s supposed to be an enjoyable social occasion watching a toddler get upset/be restrained because he can't eat what his friends are eating. I've spent too many specia occasion meals eating a bowl of tinned fruit salad while watching everyone else scoffing chocolate gateau to want to put anyone else in that position.

squoosh Wed 05-Dec-12 13:17:33

'OP, can you think of any reasons, historical maybe, why the Germans might decide to be particularly sensitive to the needs of minorities? Hmm?'

Is the post you mean? I don't think it's racist at all.

The spectre of Nazism hangs over Germany like a black cloud. I think what the poster means is that there are lots of Germans who are anxious to demonstrate that Germany is now a country that welcomes minorities and is sensitive to their cultural requirements.

Scholes34 Wed 05-Dec-12 13:39:09

I have a friend who is coeliac. When she comes to dinner, I ensure the whole meal is gluten free, and have done this for groups of up to 12. However, if it were a larger group you have to accept that you can't ensure all the food is suitable for everyone, and if you aren't someone who can eat everything, you realise you have to avoid some of the foods on offer, especially if it's bring and share.

Having spent a summer holiday in Germany this year with an 11 year old vegetarian, I think OP should accept the ban on pork for the bring and share breakfast and concentrate on providing something vegetarian, as this minority seems woefully undercatered for in Germany (certainly in the part of the country we were, anyway).

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 13:54:13

I've been veggie for donkeys' years and have managed - almost - to eat ok abroad. Funnily enough, the very worst food was in northern Italy. It's my choice but I just get in with it. It's nothing like being coeliac though (like a friend of mine and a friends late brother), so no comparison whatsoever with health issues.

The only 'veggie' I know who does kick up a fuss about restaurant menu choice is one who eats fish and has no problems with non veggie stock or cheese.

Scholes34 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:03:43

The point I was making with the coeliac reference was that for a smaller group it is possible and preferably to provide food that everyone will eat. With a larger group, you have to accept compromises all round.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 14:13:55

Oh I get that - my friend gets really ill if he eats anything he shouldn't. It's easy enough if its a few people for dinner but a buffet for 20 would be tricky.

A friend has in-laws who have a very restricted diet on religious grounds - Jains - she had a nightmare trying to organise a buffet without onions, potatoes, garlic...

Scholes34 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:16:19

Frontpaw - your friend would be best organising a desserts only buffet. We sometimes have those at work.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 14:18:02

She had to do the whole shooting match (mums birthday - who isn't Jain) and was not happy about the 'no booze' either. The inlaws refused to come if the buffet wasn't to their specifications.

seeker Wed 05-Dec-12 14:23:55

I am just always a bit suspicious when people suddenly start saying they can't possibly survive without a particular thing when asked to do without it for a very short time for the convenience or comfort of or out of courtesy to a minority group.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Wed 05-Dec-12 14:29:21

Seeker, so when someone has an opinion as to why they don't think it is necessary to completely exclude a product, and the reasons for that, and to make suggestions for how all parties can happily be accommodated, you shout racism?! Well that's a sensible and mature approach to take to a discussion.

drjohnsonscat Wed 05-Dec-12 14:31:22

I feel suspicious when people intimate it really would upset their entire world to see someone else eating a sausage roll!

It's a bit like the thread with the footstamping 9 year old who won't sit at the Christmas table unless there's a free range turkey (she's veggie).

On the other hand, I suspect, as has been said, that the supposedly affronted group have nothing to do with this request and it's a well meaning school person trying to cover all bases.

SilverBaubles33 Wed 05-Dec-12 14:32:45

Frontpaw neither, they were in education and wanted to travel. Pros and cons in retrospect. My best friend lived in the same apartment until she got married - we fantasise about swapping lives!

Squoosh yes, you are right, it's at the forefront of all the national consciousness. Whenever I make a new German friend, at some point we have That Conversation. It's often quite upsetting which is why I questioned the post. I was possibly over-sensitive leaping on it, but if anyone is aware of the need to respect the cultural sensitivities of a minority, it is the German friends I know. Of course not all Germans are tolerant, and nor are all immigrants. But in my experience, we can only really influence and debate with our friends and I am lucky that I've had the chance to personally know a great many cultures in my years.

Anyway, that poster has yet to clarify so I am surmising.

And now I must go to the launch of a gluten-free cake range and have a Difficult Conversation with DP in the car about his use of the phrase 'freaky rabbit cake.'

Tolerance, as I pontificated earlier, begins at home... grin

seeker Wed 05-Dec-12 14:35:22

I didn't shout racism. I made a mild suggestion that there might be racism present.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 14:37:12

It cuts both ways - those who don't eat certain things wanting others to accommodate their wishes, versus those who don't eat certain things not wishing to impose their idea on others.

I have only come across the Jains (above) who demanded - as a minority - that food for the majority be totally to their wishes. As I have said (and said and said) family and friends would never expect this treatment and would be bemused if someone were to request it on their behalf.

drjohnsonscat Wed 05-Dec-12 14:42:44

seeker you used the word courtesy and that definitely cuts both ways. It is not courteous to insist on things being done according to your particular needs when they are not shared by everyone. Obviously it is also courteous to take into account particular needs and to provide options to reflect those needs.

I'm not sure why the courtesy cuts one way only here

amicissimma Wed 05-Dec-12 15:08:32

It seems to me that you either expect everyone to accommodate each other's requirements or you don't.

So, if you are going to ban pork (for religious reasons) you should also ban beef (for religious reasons), eggs, fish, seafood, peanuts, nuts, dairy and all their products for allergy reasons and wheat products for coeliacs. (Apologies for any I've missed).

Or is it OK to accommodate some groups but not others? Ie, are some groups more important than others?

Alternatively, you could leave it to each group to tell their children what to eat and what to avoid. For very young children ask the staff to take this into account, unless you don't think the requirements are important enough to take up the staff time. (Personally I think the case for allergies is strong, here.)

It could be a rather small meal, specially if you avoid sugary foods and artificial sweetners and colours for general health reasons.

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 15:09:37

Or they could just do a pancake breakfast with fruit, honey etc toppings.

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 05-Dec-12 16:21:16

The post you carved the Nazi suggestion from started by declaring "Germans eat pork at breakfast? How odd." If we're clutching pearls over racism, why is this not considered such? Because they're just a country full of people with historical reasons etc, so we can call their traditions odd?

By itself, the "odd" comment would just be that, odd (it's "odd" that British people eat beans on toast, how's that) but coupled with the historical reasons comment, that person just seems to dislike Germans. imo.

I've already said upthread that no, I don't think going without pork for a meal is a massive inconvenience. However, it has come out that they already leave pork out for their daily lunches, so I suggested this other, once a week shared meal might be turned into a bit more of a learning experience. And that I suspect the parents of the non-pork eaters haven't even been consulted about the issue. Considering they live in Germany, they have likely already been teaching their children about the omnipresent pork. I know my non-pork eating friends in the UK have been, and their children know to ask.

whois Wed 05-Dec-12 16:22:29

Frontpaw with eggs? With flour? Not fair to allergies ;-)

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 16:30:44

Give them water and nothing else, just to be on the safe side,

seeker Wed 05-Dec-12 20:55:09

"It seems to me that you either expect everyone to accommodate each other's requirements or you don't.

So, if you are going to ban pork (for religious reasons) you should also ban beef (for religious reasons), eggs, fish, seafood, peanuts, nuts, dairy and all their products for allergy reasons and wheat products for coeliacs. (Apologies for any I've missed)."

But that's just silly. I'm presuming that there were actually Muslims in the group- the request was not in case a random Muslim happened to wander in off the street?

So, if a member of the group is allergic to nuts, you don't serve food with nuts in it. If a mamber of the group is Muslim, you don't serve pork. If no peanut allergic people or Muslims, then serve nuts and pork. I's just kind and courteous qnd does nobody any harm. It's much nicer to have a buffet where everyone can try everything, without having to ask, and where the staff don't have to be hypervigilant all the time. I just can't see a downside.

GhostShip Wed 05-Dec-12 21:40:11

I don't think other people's beliefs should infringe on those who aren't of the same belief when it comes to something as basic as eating, BUT it would be courteous for everyone to maybe put the pork separate, that way Muslim people won't feel their food has been tainted and then the non-muslim can have their pork (I am quite sure they could go for a day without it although thats not the point)

Not sure what it's like in Germany, but here (UK) this happens in quite a few places. I can understand why people get a bit pissed off, but I suppose for the sake of everyone being happy and having something to eat its a small price to pay.

Tolerance on both sides though and everyone can have their way.

seeker Wed 05-Dec-12 21:44:45

" (I am quite sure they could go for a day without it although thats not the point)"

That is exactly the point. Nobody needs to eat pork for breakfast- how much nicer to have a buffet everyone can eat from without having to ask.

GhostShip Wed 05-Dec-12 21:49:59

No, I think the point is that things are being disallowed because of others beliefs. Some people feel this is unfair - and infringes on them. I think it does too, but it wouldn't bother me. I'd just not bring pork and enjoy everything else, and hope everyone else would too.

But I can see both sides.

ConferencePear Wed 05-Dec-12 22:02:38

Someone wrote earlier that this sounded like someone well meaning who hadn't spent a lot of time with people from other cultures who are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what to eat.
If you try to accommodate everyone's needs then there would be no pork, no beef or even any and meat at all, no nuts, no food containing gluten and so on. It would be ridiculous.
My moslem friends don't mind the presence of pork as long as they are not expected to eat it.

SanityClause Wed 05-Dec-12 22:24:33

A friend of mine has a DD who is potentially fatally allergic to a number of food items, including milk, eggs and nuts.

This girl was invited to a birthday celebration where they were to go to a film, followed by a meal at a chain restaurant. The mother rang the restaurant to check what food options there were for her DD, and although they were very helpful, she came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be possible for her to eat anything at all.

So, instead of being the freaky girl who couldn't eat anything, she chose not to attend. sad

Now, obviously the circumstances are different here, but could the placard-waving right-to-eat-porkers not have a little empathy with the children who would be the non-pork eating freaks?

What a tiny thing to give up, to enable everyone to feel included!

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Wed 05-Dec-12 22:34:26

I have the opposite problem - my DS3 has an extremely severe dairy allergy, to the point where secondary contact causes anaphylaxis, and I am unable to find a preschool that will be dairy free for him.

IMO, anything other than health issues is a lifestyle choice, so only allergies and intolerances should be catered with with food bans.

Religion, vegetarianism, both lifestyle choices, not going to affect health in the slightest, so just not necessary to have bans IMO.

ONLY allergies and intolerances, that cause genuine MEDICAL problems, should mean a food is banned.

Anything else will not cause a medical problem, and therefore a ban is unnecessary.

Bestof7 Wed 05-Dec-12 23:20:20

I see seeker's point of being as considerate as possible, but... my kids are veggie. I would not feel comfortable if everyone was forced to go veggie for the once-a-week buffet simply because they are. I think that would build up resentments. I would be happy if they had a few options, and simply avoided a few other things.

Now, a food allergy is different and dangerous. Clearly if a child has an allergy, everyone needs to help protect that child by bringing only food that doesn't contain the allergen, no matter how restrictive that may be.

But for all other choices - ethical or religious - we should make sure there's plenty for everyone to eat without excluding the food that some avoid. So don't get rid of pork... just make sure there's plenty of pork-free food, too.

eccentrica Wed 05-Dec-12 23:33:10

I am an atheist and don't think religion has any place in state education.

However, I think the OP is being unreasonable and childish. And the posters who refer to religious dietary laws as 'lifestyle choices' clearly have very little to no understanding of what it's actually like to grow up keeping kosher or halal.

It's about having a tiny bit of consideration and generosity towards others. Not making the jewish or Muslim kids feel like social pariahs. Anyway, perhaps it would do your child's health good to have a pork-free breakfast once a week...?

Bestof7 Wed 05-Dec-12 23:44:49

Being kosher or halal is a lifestyle choice, as is being veggie. As a veggie child, I never felt like a pariah when I avoided the sausage rolls and pepperoni pizza. I felt like a vegetarian. It reinforced my identity. They'll only feel like outsiders if no one makes an effort to have lots of food on the table that they CAN eat.

eccentrica Wed 05-Dec-12 23:51:53

No, for a kindergarten-age child being kosher or halal is not "a lifestyle choice", it's a fundamental part of their lives and that of their families and communities.

That's great that your "vegetarian identity" was reinforced by having to avoid sausage rolls; however does it occur to you that perhaps there are more problematic issues around the integration of Muslim* kids in German schools than you being a vegetarian in your school, and that perhaps kicking up a childish fuss because you've been asked not to bring a specific type of food in might worsen those problems whereas being just slightly sensitive and considerate could alleviate them?

*I'm guessing they will be kids from Muslim families as there aren't many Jewish families there for some reason.

squoosh Wed 05-Dec-12 23:55:32

Parents make lifestyle choices, not children.

Bestof7 Thu 06-Dec-12 00:00:03

Sorry, eccentrica, but I don't agree. Be it vegetarianism or keeping kosher, it's a lifestyle choice (and not even yours at that age, but you're in training!). As opposed to an allergy, about which no one has any choice. Having meat/pork on the table doesn't make the school non-inclusive to its veggie/Jewish/Muslim students. Having plenty for everyone to enjoy, and educating children about tolerance and the celebration of difference, does just fine for inclusion.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 06-Dec-12 00:06:09

I have consideration for others - when I send my DC's in with birthday sweets, for example, I ensure that the DC with a severe nut allergy has a safe sweet AND the Muslim DC's in their class also have a sweet that doesn't contain pork gelatine. This usually means sending both Haribo AND chocolate.

However, in a situation where bans on particular foods are being considered in any school or Nursery environment, I TRULY believe that ONLY medical necessity should be considered.

Doesn't mean that I'm not respectful of the Muslim DC's CHOICE not to eat pork products, or that I won't ensure that there is something suitable for them, because I do.

What it does mean is that unless there is a MEDICAL NEED, I don't believe that any type of food should be banned.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 06-Dec-12 00:08:46

And IMO, medical need due to allergies or intolerances isn't a choice, but vegetarianism, or choosing to eschew foods for religious reasons IS a choice.

It may not seem like much of a choice, but it is a choice nonetheless. You can choose at any time to stop being a vegetarian, or to stop following a religion and their rules about foods.

You CAN'T choose to stop being allergic or intolerant to a particular type of food.

Bestof7 Thu 06-Dec-12 00:11:21

That's true, squoosh. Almost everything of import in a child's life is decided by an adult, particularly at kindergarten age.

eccentrica Thu 06-Dec-12 00:13:23

CouthyMoW. The food was not banned. They were asked not to conrtibute food which a significant number of the class can't eat to the communal, shared buffet.

Bestof7. There is a significant difference between dietary restrictions for personal, ethical reasons, and dietary restrictions which are part of an entire ethnic group way of living.

Besides which, the point is much less to do with whether or not it does any harm to the Muslim kids to have pork products there, and far more to do with the question of why the OP is so angry about it? Amazing that anyone would be so worked up over a bit of sausage. Why, it's almost as if it represents something else.

Bestof7 Thu 06-Dec-12 00:26:13

What difference is it to the child in the kindergarten class if they're avoiding a food for ethical reasons or religious ones? The child still has to avoid the food.

If your argument is about inclusivity, then if there's one vegetarian child, no one should bring in any meat.

If it's about countering what you suspect is an anti-Muslim bias on the part of the OP, then I don't think banning pork from the breakfast buffet is the way forward. Surely that would make anyone inclined to feel threatened by the Other feel even more threatened?

I'm with CouthyMow. Ban a food for medical reasons only.

By the way, your argument that ethical reason = flimsy and religious = totally reasonable, is suspect in itself. If the child were vegetarian because 7th Day Adventist, then it's okay to ban all meat at the buffet. But if they're veggie because Mum's a hippie, then bring on the bacon.

eccentrica Thu 06-Dec-12 00:52:36

Re. your last paragraph. That's not what I said at all.I said that there's a difference between you feeling happily reinforced in your vegetarian beliefs, and a child whose dietary restrictions are a consequence of its racial/ethnic origins. To deny this obvious distinction is just sophistry.

you misunderstand my take on this. I think all beliefs that an adult holds are equally valid whether they're part of an organized religion or not. Vegetarianism for ethical reasons is just as valid as not eating pork or beef for religious reasons. Tattoos for decorative reasons are just as legitimate as Sikh turbans. Et cetera

But that is not what's at issue here. The real reason for the OP's angry objections about this is that she/he feels the school is "pandering" to an ethnic minority. his/her argument is a tiny, tiny step away from "racism against the white indigenous population is the real worry". It is literally not credible that not eating pork at one, shared breakfast per week could be seen as any kind of deprivation.

Sounds like the kindergarten have tried to have some sort of nice, inclusive communal meal, and the OP has taken it as an incitement to stirring up trouble between the poor, put-upon white Christian majority, and the interlopers causing trouble (or those who are mistakenly trying to stand up for them).

should they be allowed to bring pork to breakfast? Yes, no, whatever. The real question is why does it matter?

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 06-Dec-12 01:03:38

It matters because they are being asked not to bring a particular food product in because of non-medical reasons.

No 'one step from racism' there.

Unless it is for medical reasons, there should be no restrictions on the food allowed to be brought in, only on the food that those with the restricted diet for religious or ethical reasons choose not to eat.

One person's religious or ethical choice should not take away another person's freedoms. THAT is being truly inclusive of all.

ONLY medical reasons like allergies or intolerances that cause pain and even death should trump another persons freedom of choice in this way.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 06-Dec-12 01:10:22

I bear no issue with people choosing not to eat pork, or anything else for that matter, as long as they don't expect it to be removed from general consumption by others.

I have no issue with ensuring that there are adequate alternatives for those that choose not to eat pork, or beef, or meat at all.

What I DO have an issue with is a ban on, say, pork products from a Nursery on non-medical grounds.

Because it is taking away people who DO eat, and enjoy eating, pork products freedom of choice away.

I could understand a ban if, say, there was a DC there with an allergy to nitrates, for example, as that will cause them physical pain and even death if they have an allergy.

I can't understand a ban for religious or ethical reasons, when accidental consumption won't cause physical pain and won't cause death.

THAT'S the difference.

goralka Thu 06-Dec-12 01:14:14

but consumption of such products might cause stomach upset to someone not used to them.
my mother had a friend who was brought up to keep Kosher, and when she did eat shellfish as she was not really religious, she was sick as a dog.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 06-Dec-12 01:14:24

There IS no distinction between ethical and religious food avoidance.

The only difference is between food avoidance that won't cause pain or death on accidental ingestion or contact, and food avoidance that will cause pain or death on accidental ingestion or contact.

Anything else IS just semantics.

If it won't cause the DC physical pain or death if accidentally ingested or on contact or in minute traces in the air, then it shouldn't be banned for the other DC's.

goralka Thu 06-Dec-12 01:14:30

just an example....

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 06-Dec-12 01:18:43

Stomach upset in someone not used to eating seafood could actually be down to an undiscovered allergy or intolerance, which hadn't previously been discovered due to the aforementioned avoidance.

It is far more likely to have been down to that or poor handling of said seafood, or poor storage and hygiene, than down to 'simply' because of previous avoidance, because otherwise we would all have stomach upset every time we ate something we had never eaten before.

Even my DS3 with multiple life threatening allergies doesn't react to EVERY new food he has tried. And the ones he has reacted to, he has been found to be allergic to.

goralka Thu 06-Dec-12 01:20:27

well it could be the same with pork if a child not used to it were to ingest it....that's all i meant...

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Thu 06-Dec-12 01:36:23

True, but if it isn't a known allergy, then it shouldn't be catered for with a ban. And in fact, the Anaphylaxis Campaign only advise total bans for the most severe allergies, because it teaches the allergic child to be vigilant in all situations.

Surely it should be the same for religious or ethical food avoidance?

My DS3 is anaphylactic to pineapple and kiwi on ingestion, but I wouldn't expect a ban on those, as it is only when HE eats them that he has a reaction. He is also anaphylactic to peanuts, tree nuts, lentils and chickpeas. But again, he only reacts to having eaten traces of them, so I wouldn't expect them to be banned for the other DC's.

However, his anaphylactic reaction to the smallest traces of Cow's Milk Protein is so severe that if one pinprick drop of milk, yoghurt, cheese or chocolate makes contact with his skin, not even having to have eaten or drunk it, he goes into anaphylaxis and could die.

The other severe, life threatening allergies I wouldn't expect to be banned for other DC's in a Nursery environment, I would expect the staff to be vigilant.

Dairy in all its forms, though, a ban is necessary.

So IMO if the majority of his life threatening allergies can be managed without banning those things for other DC's, I see no reason why religious or ethical food avoidances can't be managed the same way.

It's only because his allergy to dairy is SO severe, and is even from secondary contact like a pinprick drop on a table that he rests his arm on, or someone opening a yoghurt lid across the room and a drop of yoghurt flies and hits him causes anaphylaxis that a ban is necessary.

Maybe that's why I can't see the need for bans on types of food for ethical or religious reasons?

goralka Thu 06-Dec-12 01:39:54

must be a lot to deal with for you couthy.....

squoosh Thu 06-Dec-12 02:05:12

Oh just give them all pop tarts.

Sounds like the Germans eat far too many pork based meals.

goralka Thu 06-Dec-12 02:08:20

yes and the Polish are just the same,pig for every poor son crapped his bed at the age of 10 when he was staying there.....definitely not 'haram'...

differentnameforthis Thu 06-Dec-12 02:23:12

It's one meal, once a week, sorry but I fail to see the issue.

Nut products are banned at our kindy. My dd loves nuts/peanut butter/nutela etc. But again, for her it is 2 meals out of a possible 21 per week. I can't get worked up about it.

SilverBaubles33 Thu 06-Dec-12 07:59:48

I bear no issue with people choosing not to eat pork, or anything else for that matter, as long as they don't expect it to be removed from general consumption by others.


In my Muslim school in Saudi, we used to have lunch together once a week. I was a vegetarian, so used to love the falafels my Egyptian friend brought. I also had a sweet tooth and lived the gold-leaf cake my Saudi classmate mate brought. My Pakistani friend and I still laugh about the tray of boiled potatoes her lovely mum sent in for me. I just didn't eat any of the lamb.

It would never, ever have occurred to me or my family to demand a ban on something because we didn't eat it. My father, a true citizen of the world, would have seen such a request as the height of bad manners and very disrespectful of the culture and traditions of the country in which we were living.

I spent a lot of time in Germany as a teenager and still visit friends there. Recently, we went to an asparagus festival and before that it was a goose season at the local restaurants. There's more to German cuisine than you'd imagine from this discussion.

I'm sure "the Poles" would be similarly surprised to hear their national eating habits dismissed so summarily!

In short, unless it is truly life-threatening, I think tolerance towards and curiosity about different cultures is the only way forward.

We, as parents and influencers of the next generation, can model openness and tolerance, and make lots and lots of tiny changes that might just add up to a big enough sea change make the world a kinder place to live.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 10:13:22

It seems to me that it is up to the people who do not want the kindergarten to do this kind, friendly, courteous thing that does not harm anyone else to justify why it shouldn't be done, rather than the other way round.

My vegetarian friends do not expect me to provide vegetarian only food when they come for dinner, and wouldn't dream of asking me to. But I do. Because it is courteous. And it is much nicer if we can all eat together than to have separate dishes.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 06-Dec-12 11:21:05

It's not one meal, once a week. They already have pork-free lunches all week.

I pretty much agree with everything Silver said. I've lived in Germany. Their meals are, for the most part, very balanced and healthy. I'm seeing a lot of comments here which seem to suggest well, they eat differently from us, and judgypants about how much pork they eat. German pork products are the best I've ever had. I'm not surprised they feature often in their menus.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 11:22:25

But what is the good reason for not doing this?

Frontpaw Thu 06-Dec-12 11:34:01

Maybe that's the issue - if it wasn't prescribed, then I'm sure the parents would send items that were suitable as a friendly act without giving it much thought. They would probably even adapt traditional recipes to suit to give people who would never try them a taster. People generally don't like being ordered to change their habits and tastes to suit a minority. But as MIL says - you don't go into someones house then rearrange the furniture because you don't like it.

I cook meat and halal for guests (no-one has ever asked my to accommodate their diet - I just do it to make them feel at home) and people do cook veggie for me when I go to them (I would be happy with bread and cheese but they do it to make me feel welcome, apart from the woman who made a prawn lasagne and sulked when I said I couldn't eat it - I even tried to eat around the prawns so's no to hurt her feelings but it was really really smelly).

When its a crowd of people I do a mix or go all veggie so that I'm not rushing about like a loon trying to cook loads of different food. However if someone had a food allergy, I would make sure there was none of the offending food around as contamination could occur. I have never had a muslim refuse food from me in case I used the same utensils to cook ham/non halal meat and I'm sure I haven't hospitalised anyone as a result.

I was brought up where there was/still is seperate Protestant and Catholic schools. It was a nightmare. People really really hated each other because they had weird ideas about what 'the other lot' got up to - all those weird things they did, the weird food, smells and prayers/ceremonies... they spoke Latin, and ate fish on fridays ffs!!! It would have been a hell of a lot better if we had all just been lobbed together, seen all those suspicious activities and habits close up and learned a thing or two about tolerance. I had a BF whose Protestant grandfather hadn't spoken to his daughter since she married 'one of them' (a Catholic).

SilverBaubles33 Thu 06-Dec-12 11:42:07

Because it teaches children to respect and accommodate differences and that, unless something offered in a buffet might kill you, it's preferable to politely work around around it and make otjer choices, rather than demand its ban because it is not something you would choose to serve in your own home.

That way, in my multinational, multicultured experience, is how we raise world citizens. All of those kindergarten children will grow up, who knows where they will live, who they'll fall in love with, where they'll raise their families.

If they have a foundation of knowing, understanding and accepting that they have the power to make choices rather than demand a ban on something that affects them, that they can be proud of their own heritage and culture, but to understand and accept that people may chthen I truly believe that we will have done right by them all.

SilverBaubles33 Thu 06-Dec-12 11:43:29

On phone!

"People may choose not to be the same" is what I meant in the last mangled sentence.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 13:18:04

They are 4 years old. Why should the muslim children be "learning opportunities for then others? So much better that they learn that other people wre kind enough to put themselves out a tiny, tiny bit so they can share all the breakfast with their friends, rather then this little bit down this end of the table.

goralka Thu 06-Dec-12 13:30:39

I'm sure "the Poles" would be similarly surprised to hear their national eating habits dismissed so summarily!
I didn't say 'the Poles' I said Polish - and I am quite sure I have spent long enough there to have formed an opinion.

SilverBaubles33 Thu 06-Dec-12 13:31:34

I dont think we are likely to agree on this.

So should I have demanded my Saudi school ban lamb because I am vegetarian?

Even if, at that young age, it had occurred to me to do so, I am sure my parents, very sensibly, would gave refused to demand a ban as it might have had an unpleasant backlash, with my schoolmates resenting me making demands just to suit ME.

That experience taught all of us, within the framework of respecting the customs and culture of the place we lived.

I think the situation could be used to educate everyone.

One of my friends in Germany is a Scottish vegan. He has lived in the country since he was a child, and he has never starved or indeed felt the need to ask anyone to ban any kind of food. He numbers both German nationals and Turkish immigrants among the many people he counts as friends.

I think 'banning' f

SilverBaubles33 Thu 06-Dec-12 13:32:07

Non-lethal f

SilverBaubles33 Thu 06-Dec-12 13:33:00

Non-lethal food is wrong.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 14:22:28

But nobody is "demanding". And nothing is being banned. The kindergarten is asking that people do a kind and courteous thing.

drjohnsonscat Thu 06-Dec-12 15:27:56

I think various posters have given a perfectly good alternative vision of courtesy which involves both sides. One side shows awareness that some people eat pork and it's fine. The other side shows awareness that some dishes should be suitable for all sorts of people (veggie, non pork eaters, non beef eaters, coeliacs, diabetics, whatever). If we go along like this, it's highly unlikely that every single contributor will bring sausages. And even if they do, it's for the non sausage eaters to redress this by bringing their alternatives to share and open people's minds to the deliciousness of a non-pork-based breakfast. This vision does not involve elevating one group's views to the level of a rule where everyone else's views are just preferences.

SilverBaubles33 Thu 06-Dec-12 15:46:44

Hey seeker, no those were my words and possibly strong ones because it's an issue close to my heart - the experiences I have had as an outsider in many different cultures have informed my opinion that it is almost always more courteous to include everyone as much as possible. I simply don't think that asking the majority of pupils to do without something because a minority object on religious or ethical grounds is a particularly kind thing to do.

You didn't answer my question about the lamb?

It occurs to me writing this that I will soon be sitting at my in-laws table for a Christmas celebration. I'm a European Jew, they're American Protestants. They will number 26 and one of their centrepieces will be a Virginia Ham which they all love and is a huge part of their tradition.

I always made it clear that I had absolutely no problem with it being on the table; my elder dd andI have plenty of other options (in fact, there is SO much food on the table..!). What I will look forward to and remember most is the love and fun and celebration we will all share.

Perhaps this is the issue? Perhaps we worry that there will be no welcome, no inclusion of those in a minority, that they will suffer persecution and worse for their beliefs.

Sadly, that is the case sometimes. But as a child not much older than those KG kids, I learned that this doesn't always need to be the case; there is unkindness and exclusion aplenty, but much can be avoided with a big smile and an open mind.

I think perhaps I might have been lucky to meet tolerant and broadminded people all over the world and therefore number Rastafarians, Muslims and morris dancers among my close friends grin!

Anyway, it's been a fascinating discussion, I have to go and wish you all a peaceful and happy afternoon.

GhostShip Thu 06-Dec-12 18:14:18

But what is the good reason for not doing this?

I don't think they should have to justify their reasons for not wanting something they like banned.

SantaFrontPaws Thu 06-Dec-12 18:19:05

Maybe because no-one had asked for a ban on pork - it has been assumed by the school on the behalf of some of the pupils. DH would be really pissed, just as I would if anyone tried to make a gathering wholly veggie for my benefit.

Morris Dancers - oh Silver, I do worry about you! I have to say, your parties must be a hoot!

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 18:19:51

It hasn't been banned, ffs, they were just asked not to bring it. But OK, it's a fundamental human right to eat pork sausages 24 hours a day, and how very dare anyone suggest that out of kindness and courtesy so that 4 year old's can fully share a buffet breakfast that people refrain from them for one meal.

SantaFrontPaws Thu 06-Dec-12 18:23:52

Seeker - are you Muslim or Jewish? DH is Muslim (as are his family). They say its a crock, and wouldn't want it. As someone with a restricted diet, neither would I.

No fundamental rights issue.

seeker Thu 06-Dec-12 18:29:17

No I'm not Muslim or Jewish. There is a big difference between an adult who can choose what he wants to eat in an informed way, and 4 year olds, who would have to be told "you can't have any of these things, only those things"

I just can't see why it's an issue. It's not as if pork is an essential food group!

LaCiccolina Thu 06-Dec-12 18:34:19

Do many people bring pork? Are they inundated with the stuff?!

Personally I don't like it. I feel those of religious persuasion should avoid that plate but I'm darned if I wouldn't serve it for fear of offence. I find it stupid. Just put it on a different plate/place. Hardly complicated.

I'd take 100 cocktail sausages and say I never got the mail.... Just to be bloody minded. I think it's badly worded and lazy but maybe not out of the realms of sensible entirely depending on their true reasons!

drjohnsonscat Thu 06-Dec-12 19:15:31

Seeker everybody gets your point but we haven't heard why it's so terrible for the children affected just to avoid the pork dishes - presumably it's not a free for all so there will be help for them to make the right choices. Like people do all the time without imposing their choices on others. That's courteous too but you are insisting only the non Muslim group should be courteous.

It's really not at all a big deal but it's interesting that in your vision of courtesy, only one group must adapt their behaviour.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 09:09:09

Of course it's not terrible for the Muslim children to select from a smaller range of dishes. It's just nicer if they don't have to.

And of course courtesy goes both ways. If the Muslim parents had demanded that this be done, then I would be the first to say that they were being unreasonable and discourteous. But they haven't. As I said, when my vegetarian friends come to dinner, I cook vegetarian food. They don't demand, ask, or even expect that I do. But I like everyone at my table to be able to eat everything- and it's no hardship for meat eaters to have a meat free meal. Just as it's no hardship for pork eaters to have a pork free breakfast.

SilverBaubles33 Fri 07-Dec-12 09:29:08

Whatever the tone of the request, I think it's an unreasonable one; there is no actual danger to these kids. I think that the situation has the potential to backfire unpleasantly, whoever made the request.

(I don't think that has been made clear? Correct me if it has!)

As someone who doesn't eat pork for religious reasons I manage very nicely food-wise in Germany, as I did as a vegetarian all over the world.

If I came to dinner at your house as a vegetarian, I'd be delighted if you made me special food; that would be kind and I'd feel very welcome.

If, as I have done, I went to a school to enjoy a shared meal in Germany and discovered that my friends could not eat certain foods in case it offended me, on a permanent basis, that would make me horribly uncomfortable, because the pork in the room will not kill me. Asking for it to be removed isn't going to help me make friends or feel a real part of the community.

Imposing my beliefs on others who don't share them is plain bad manners. I think it sends all kinds of wrong messages. I appreciate others may see this differently, but that's my empirical observation.

Anyway, I was stupid enough not to buy cakes at the gluten-free launch and a wheat-intolerant mum is coming for coffee so I have to wrestle with xanthate/anthrax/some gum thing!!

Happy weekends all.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 07-Dec-12 09:56:13

You know when people complain about how muslim parents won't allow their children to come for tea etc. This is the reason.
The disdain and the insistence that consuming pork won't kill a person is really horrible, it tells me that most parents would delight in feeding my children pork because they think it's their right to consume it. Which is fine, but I would not place my children in a situation where people in authority or positions of repsonsiblity would purposely try and get my children to accidentally consume food containing pig meat. It would greatly distress my children if they accidentally ate it.
I have a friend, who's ex husband gives the children a choice between pig meat or pig meat or pig meat. The older child has been known to go hungry for a whole day during contact, the youngest will eat it but onyl when she cant bear to be hungry any longer. My friend has told her children that it's OK, they musn't stay hungry and to eat what is given. But the children themselves are very very distressed by it.

No, pork products will not kill a Jewish/Muslim/vegetarian child however accidentally consuming foods containing it is very distressing for the child and the parents (yes). The same is not true for people who do eat pork, eating non pork products does not cause distress or mental anguish to them.

This point is apparently hard to empathise.

This pre-school is not imposing a blanket ban on pork, just requesting that food containing pork not be bought to share during the communal breakfast.

What are the child to adult ratio during this breakfasts? Little children will sometimes pick food off eachothers plates or share food, my children certainly do the latter and they're a lot older.

I imagine the no pork request would also ease the teachers responsibility and let them enjoy the meal without the anxiety of ensuring children aren't sharing food off eachothers plates or attempting to eat the wrong foods.

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 07-Dec-12 10:03:28

Fuzzywuzzy, I hear you! And please be re-assured that it is only on MN that I see people talking like this. No-one, not one parent, in our multi-everything school and local community would be so disdainful, and everyone would take great care to ensure that a veggie child is not fed chicken, a muslim child is not fed pork, that fairy allergy is acknowledged etc etc.

Everyone I know sees this as a normal hospitable way to behave towards each other.

While not imposng bans, of course.

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 07-Dec-12 10:04:32

er, DAIRY allergy grin.

Though I am sure if a child was allergic to fairies most parents would ask the tooth fairy to come on a different day. wink

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 10:27:07

Fairy allergy is fantastic! I think I developed fairy allergy when my dd was obsessed by the rainbow fairy books. I just developed this irrational rage and started frothing at the mouth whenever I came anywhere near a fairy.

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 07-Dec-12 10:32:09

grin at Seeker's fairy allergy.

SantaFrontPaws Fri 07-Dec-12 11:34:50

You cant ban faries. I like them. Goblins maybe, kelpies definately, but not faries.

And someone who would try to get a child to eat something they can't is a bloody weirdo. A guest in your house is a guest. Ask him if you should feed his kids anthrax next time.

Although it wasnt a 'ban' (didnt OP say that pork wasnt served in the school anyway) if you are asked not to bring something and you did, the teacher would say 'we asked you not to...' So it is a ban really. Or it should be because wouldbnt they need to double check ingredients anyway for hidden pork (remember, breadsticks used to contain lard!).

Any parent who refuses playdates 'in case...' (Unless their kids friend is the child of weirdo), is giving out the message that what their friend eats is wrong/dirty/immoral... And that the adults are untrustworthy, mad or ignorant. Not very friendly, eh?

I always ask what people can/can't eat when they come over.

SilverBaubles33 Fri 07-Dec-12 14:53:00

The disdain and the insistence that consuming pork won't kill a person is really horrible, it tells me that most parents would delight in feeding my children pork because they think it's their right to consume it.

Really? This is what that tells you? Honestly?

I have no doubt such idiots and bigots exist, but to assume that everyone who believes pork does not kill would behave like this makes me wonder how anyone with such a belief can function in a multicultural society.

I can't decide if this is high farce or low tragedy! either way, I have nothing more to contribute.

SantaFrontPaws Fri 07-Dec-12 15:11:05

I think the ex husband is playing mind games with the wife. There is more than pork on the agenda there. I don't think anyone really thinks that friends, colleagues, neighbours... are all out to feed the non-pork kids pig. What a rather odd suggestion (and I find it rather racist).

fuzzywuzzy Fri 07-Dec-12 15:36:20

The ex husband is being cruel, he gives the children spam (all I know is that that is not naice ham and prolly not something he himself would eat), he's making a point (at the expense of his relationship with his children).

It's not racist at all, this thread is really shocking to me, there's a very strong reason why we dont consume pork I'm not bothered about what everyone eats, but for one meal to make it pleasant and easy for everyone not having pig meat doesn't sound like a big ask.

I would happily do the same, if asked for vegetarian food, dairy free, nut free. I'd want the children to be able to have a meal where they can freely socialise and choose their food without worry.
I presume lunch and other meals can be supplied with as much of whatever the parents want?

And yes silverbaubles the answers on this thread are a real eye opener for me. I would not want my children to go to an acquaintences house for a meal incase they have this attitude of pig wont kill you so I'll let them accidentally eat it, which appears to be normal going by this thread, I'd only let them go to close friends who I know would respect mine and my childrens dietry requirements. It's not always easy to ascertain what contains which meats at parties.

My children would be hugely upset at accidentally eating pork.

Jins Fri 07-Dec-12 15:48:46

Don't assume it's normal fuzzywuzzy

I would be mortified if I accidentally served something that someone couldn't eat. I cannot comprehend it being done deliberately

SilverBaubles33 Fri 07-Dec-12 15:55:02

They wouldn't get it round mine, I'm Jewish. Would you let your kids come to me?

SantaFrontPaws Fri 07-Dec-12 15:55:16

The ex is a loon - he sounds abusive. And it is racist to hold the opinion that 'they' would purposely feed a Muslim or Jewish child pork even if they know that it is against their religious beliefs. It is implying racist intentions on their part by making sweeping assumptions on motivation and intent.

A Muslim child would hardly be invited over to Mr Griffins house for tea, would they, so why assume that people not of your religion would feel the same way as people like him? It is making a huge assumption. No one is saying that everyone ought to be force fed pork - but that the preferences of a minority shouldn't necessarily override the majority (especially when it is requested in their behalf).

fuzzywuzzy Fri 07-Dec-12 16:01:01

silverbaubles yes I would and I'd have your children over too and ensure everything I served was kosher. I would not want to cause upset to a guest in my house.

SantaFrontPaws Fri 07-Dec-12 16:01:14

I once merrily cooked a meal which included an awful lot of onions. Of course one guest really didn't like them at all and had told me at one time. He actually ate the food and it wasn't until much later in the evening that I remembered. This was about ten years ago and I still apologise.

We keep a mainly veggie household but have a booze cabinet. DS will eat anything, but I am crap at cooking pork so have very rarely ever cooked it. DH is muslim, and I wont buy the likes of Harino as gelatine is manky stuff. Do we 'count' as good or bad?

ethelmeaker Fri 07-Dec-12 20:35:34

Just like there was no trolling, there is also no racism here either. I just object to all 22 children not being able to have a full choice. I don't impose my culture or my beliefs on anyone and I would ask that others do likewise. One of the mums has said that it would be unfair to stop all children having full choice just because her child doesn't eat pork.
Effectively there is only one family who wants this.
I consider myself to be very accommodating and really make an effort when I am a guest even to eat things I don't like and not kick up a fuss. I also ask people what they prefer to eat if I am cooking for them. I just don't like having my choices made for me about what will/will not be on offer.
I think it is unrealistic to think that everyone will bend to your wishes regarding a choice not to eat certain foods. If everything was taken into account regarding choices not to consume/allergies etc then there would be nothing for breakfast.
Oh and whoever started with the N word can just pack it in!!!! I studied the culture and history of Germany from 1919 onwards. So I know all there is to know about it.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 22:45:46

"I just object to all 22 children not being able to have a full choice"

That's good. If there's isn't any pork then all 22 will have a full choice.

SantaFrontPaws Fri 07-Dec-12 22:53:40

Not the veggies, alergics, phobics...

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 22:56:15

Are there any veggies, allergics or phobics in the 22?

ethelmeaker Fri 07-Dec-12 22:57:57

Only 1 child will be getting exactly what their parents want. The others will get less choice. There are children with allergies in the class who just avoid the foods they cannot eat. The kindergarten teachers are aware of the children who are unable or choose not to eat certain foods.

seeker Fri 07-Dec-12 23:02:46

Oh, we're back to the fundamental human right to eat pork again. Go for it. Stand up for your rights. Forget kindness, and courtesy and making a nice gesture. Just so long as your child can eat a pork sausage. After all, give these people an inch and they'll take a mile. They'll be banning Christmas decorations next, you mark my words!


SantaFrontPaws Fri 07-Dec-12 23:12:40

We need the right to choose. Or did I miss something?

One person has stamped their feet and asked for something to be exluded for their benefit, and theirs only - not because there was a health scare on the meat which may bemefit all. If this person did it for an animal welfare reason (they felt very strongly that it was cruel) would you support their request? I think the meat trade is cruel and wastes precious resources.

And yes, some nupties have tried to ban christmas decos and the word Christmas - something that I don't think a muslim or jew has ever demanded in a christian country. And my family are not 'these people'. They are Us.

ethelmeaker Fri 07-Dec-12 23:15:40

No. Christmas decorations are in no way under threat here. The baubles are lovely! Courtesy is a 2 way street and as cold meats do form a large part of German breakfast then its not just all about sausage you know! Actually you might be mixing up your cultures here a little: just for clarification Germans would never eat "sausage" in the British sense of the word for breakfast. They eat cold meats.

ethelmeaker Fri 07-Dec-12 23:22:03

How much of a "nice gesture" is expecting everyone to behave as you do? I have eaten fish in the past even though I loathe the stuff and it makes me retch. Otherwise I might have offended my host and made them feel embarassed.

seeker Sat 08-Dec-12 00:25:49

I really want to know why you are so opposed to the idea. I can't believe it's because you genuinely think that your child will suffer in some way bey being denied pork for one meal a day. And it would be gittish beyond belief to be making a point of principle out of it. And you assure me that it isn't even remotely racist. So why?

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 08-Dec-12 00:35:00's a breakfast buffet? Once a week? I appreciate that Germany is,as a nation,very into pork,I've lived there. it really that much of a massive issue?

Children that age pick up whatever food looks nice but then they may get upset if they realise they've eaten something they shouldn't have done as per their culture.

For one morning a week I don't see the harm. There are so many other foods the children can share. That's the point isn't it,to be all together,sharing food?

Alisvolatpropiis Sat 08-Dec-12 01:19:36

Santa my local Asda sells halal don't have to miss out on sugary goodness AND can avoid the manly gelatin stuff (or it's halal gelatin? Tastes nicer for sure!)

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Sat 08-Dec-12 02:16:50

Why would do you want to bring food that loads of the children can't eat?

The point is to provide breakfast. Obviously they are worried if somebody brings loads of pork, it will be left uneaten and half the kids will be left hungry.

SantaFrontPaws Sat 08-Dec-12 07:52:41

Halal Haribo would have other types of gelatin - which is all pretty manky! I would personally ask for this not to be present in schools if I had a choice. It is really nasty stuff and added to all sorts of things. Oh, I know all my sugary sweetie goodness!

The OP said there were 4 muslim kids in the class - and there was just one family who asked for pork not to be present. Even rather observant types I know just would not ask for pork not to be present - they see it as 'PC gorn mad' and disrespectful - why would you expect everyone else to observe your faith/practices? I woud certainly wear a scarf in Iran (and be very hot and uncomfortable) and observe the rules there - ok I would be arrested if I didnt but there are other things I would/wouldnt do so's not to be disrespectful or embarass family and friends.

I also really dont like fur - and for a while in my teens wouldnt wear/use leather. As a teenager it was a huge ethical thing for me. Now, were I to live to Poland or Scandanavia could I ask a dinner guest 'not to wear that murdered and possibly skinned alive animal coat' when the come, or ask that the item be left in the garden?

ethelmeaker Sat 08-Dec-12 15:20:45

It is not remotely racist, as the issue I have in this case is with religion and not race. Race and religion are 2 separate things. I have a problem with religion in general. People can pray and worship as they wish, however, choices made (such as the decision not to eat pork) should not have to be followed by everyone regardless. I was brought up as a Catholic and both of my parents are Catholics but they don't have a fit if someone wants to eat meat on a Friday and nor would I insist on it if I still believed in Catholicism.

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