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A tale of mince and dumplings as Arthur, 8, gets the recipe for some lockdown cheer

Eight-year-old Arthur Dawson was missing his school's famous mince and dumplings so much, he wrote an adorable letter asking for their secret recipe.

The dish is a firm favourite of staff and students at Langley First School, in Whitley Bay.

But it’s been off the menu for weeks because of the Covid-19 lockdown, and Arthur was underwhelmed by his dad’s best attempt to recreate the dish at home. 

Now he’s all smiles again after writing to headteacher, Tim Jones, and getting hold of the recipe from the catering team at North Tyneside Council.

North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE said: “We absolutely loved Arthur’s letter and it really made us smile and has given everyone a lift during a really difficult time. We’ve always known that our school meals are top-notch, and children can be the toughest of critics, so we’re delighted we’ve been able to help Arthur and family enjoy his favourite meal together at home.”

In the handwritten letter, Arthur wrote:

“Dear Mr Jones, I have missed you. But what I have missed most is the dinner ladies’ mince and dumplings. It’s the best food ever. Please can we have the secret recipe for mince and dumplings.”

And he didn’t mince his words when describing dad’s culinary efforts, saying: ‘it was very bad’ before signing off with ‘please help’ and ‘stay safe’.

The school were so tickled by Arthur’s letter they contacted the catering team at North Tyneside Council who were happy to share the recipe.

And much fun was had as the family including mum, Dawn; dad, Antony; Arthur and his little sister Annie, aged 5, all helped to make the dish - and the results earned a big thumbs up from Arthur

Mum Dawn Dawson thanked the school and council for sharing the ‘precious recipe’.

She said: “Arthur loved making this meal with his daddy...and it turned out to be really, really tasty. When Antony last tried to make this, it did not pass Arthur's exacting standards. It was not as good as the school's.

“This time, though, Arthur loved it and gave it the thumbs up. We'll be making it again next week.”

Headteacher, Tim Jones, said the letter brought some much-needed light relief during the pandemic.

He said: “At this unprecedented time, it’s often the small, unexpected things that have a positive impact. Therefore, it was lovely to receive a handwritten letter from Arthur saying how he missed school and more importantly how he missed school dinners. It most definitely put a smile on my face reading it especially as I can imagine him telling his Dad exactly what he thought of his home-made version.  It’s good to know that we have a possible food critic in the making!"

29 May 2020 - 11:12am

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