London — When I was at primary school there was a particularly fierce dinner lady who saw it as her duty to make sure all children always ate everything on their plates. Whenever we tried to sneak some vinegary beetroot or a nasty bit of gristle past her she would send us back to finish it with the admonition: “Think of the starving children in Africa.” 

Even when I was nine I did not find this argument terribly compelling. I wanted to tell her to give my beetroot and my cold, powder-mash potatoes to the starving children, but one look at her face assured me that this would be a bad call. ..

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