This article is about family day care and the reproduction of identity at the intersection of public and private domains. It uses mealtimes as a lens to elucidate the social relations which popular fictive kinship ideologies at once suggest and obscure. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with childminders in an inner London borough, the paper explores some of the ways in which boundaries - principally of class and ethnicity - are dissolved and reproduced in everyday food practices within and between families. The paper suggests that food is an important medium for symbolic and material boundary work in home based childcare. Describing a continuum from incorporation to segregation, the paper suggests that the 'objective' description of home based childcare (as asymmetrical) and the subjective representation (as family like) are not mutually exclusive, but mutually constitutive, constructions.