School dinners

Eating at school was a big shock compared with mum’s lunchtime meals at home.

Some school meals were OK, some were even nice but others were vile.

Although not a Catholic School, in fact firmly Anglican in background, there was no meat on Fridays. Apart from luncheon meat occasionally. Perhaps that didn’t count.

I used to dread Fridays. I didn’t like fish fingers. In fact I’d never eaten them before going to school. The actual fish meals were some sort of boiled or baked white fish, cod I guess. Tasteless. And we only ever ate haddock (or halibut or salmon or Dover sole or plaice) at home. For some reason, this horrid fish was served with tinned sliced carrots, and either greasy chips or boiled (tinned) potatoes.

The only decent option, probably once a month, was egg and cheese salad. Obviously with yet more tinned boiled potatoes and grated raw carrot, (Friday was clearly carrot day), and/or shredded cabbage or beetroot.

Sometimes there were unpleasant sausages, invariably served with tinned toms or baked beans.

And one of the worst meals was bacon and egg pie. Strange pieces of chopped up pink in a mess of yellow with the least worst bit being the pastry. It made me feel sick. Or there would be liver and bacon. The bacon (as with the bits in the pie) was salty and fried to a crisp, and the liver was tough. Served with tinned toms and potatoes because everything was served with potatoes.

Moving up, there was a tolerable mince sort of stew with carrots and peas. The shepherd’s pie was OK.

My favourite was the meat pie. It bore no resemblance to mum’s steak and kidney pie, but it had nice tender bits of meat in and was juicy with decent pastry. It didn’t turn up very often.

Then there was the obligatory dessert. We didn’t have dessert at home apart from once in a blue moon. At school there was ice cream, that came in little cylinders wrapped in paper and was served with vile chocolate sauce or some equally vile red sauce. Occasionally we had arctic roll. Semolina or rice pudding was served with jam which everyone stirred round to make a disgusting looking pink mess. Rhubarb was decent unlike the accompanying lumpy custard. But gooseberry pie was the absolute pits. It was such a mix of too much sugar to counteract the tart fruit. Plus the usual lumpy custard. I was so jealous of Nicky whose mother sent a note for her to be excused from eating it. My mother refused to send notes for anything.

About the only decent desserts were – tinned, of course – fruit salad, and some type of shortbread served with tinned peaches or pears. That also involved lumpy custard.

Christmas involved roast something. Turkey or pork, can’t remember which. Otherwise we didn’t have any roasts, no chops, no chicken, no seafood, no rice, no pasta, no casseroles apart from the mince stew thing.

Meals at home

Little roughseas grew up with Yorkshire pudding or pancakes for starters at lunchtime, a meat main course, fresh veg (at least two) and sometimes but not always potatoes.

At home, meals followed the traditional working week pattern. Often a roast on Sunday with the leftovers used up for Monday lunch. Cold roast beef or shepherd’s pie. Tuesday could vary, maybe liver (lambs’) and onions, pork or lamb chops, steak and kidney pie. Wednesday we ate in the evening. Sometimes chicken, sometimes lamb. Thursday lunch tended to be a cheaper type meal, ox tail stew (too many bits of bone for me) or neck of lamb stew (more bone), or much better, corned beef hash.

Friday evening meal could be a roast, or lamb chops. Saturday evening meal could often be fish, either fish and chips fried by mum, or a haddock, mushroom, prawn gratin, or cold meat – ham, tongue, brisket, boiled bacon, or the cold meat from Fridays’s roast, and chips.

Today’s school meals

But looking at my school’s website, I might have been happier with the food offered now than I was forty or fifty years ago.

Naturally there is a (somewhat boring) vegetarian option offered for all meals. But gone is the luncheon meat, the mince stew, the bacon and egg pie, although shepherd’s pie remains.

Instead, girls dine on chicken chasseur, gammon steak, ribbon pasta with salmon, tenderloin pork schnitzel, fish pie with dill flavoured mash, beef enchilada with salsa sauce, Chinese pork curry with fried rice and prawn crackers, slow cooked beef with rustic veg and spiced herb dumpling, beef chilli con carne, chicken pie, roast pork, roast beef, steak and ale pie, chicken korma curry, and smoked haddock with couscous. There is still always a fish dish of some type on Friday.

No longer are the veg out of tins and limited to carrots or whatever else plus boiled potatoes. Girls now have broccoli florets, turnip, parsnips, sweetcorn, garden peas, mushy peas, French beans and a variety of potatoes – roasted, wedges, mashed, Lyonnaise, aloo, Dauphinoise, garlic, savoury, parslied.

There’s a pasta or noodle dish every day, plus a salad bar, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, fruit, cheese and biscuits, yoghurt … the menu amazes me.

School dinners were always an extra cost, so I was wondering how much this gourmet dining is costing on top of the current £12K a year fees. But good on them for providing fruit, salad, and a vegetarian option daily. And checking out the fees, it seems the haute cuisine is included in the annual cost.

Plus, the menus are published in advance so I’ve just read the selection up to 16 Dec. A big change to sneaking into the kitchens to ask what was for lunch that day. And wondering who to give my bacon and egg pie to when the teachers or prefects on dinner duty weren’t looking.

All photos taken from school website (hence crappy quality).

Just a quick reminder. If you haven’t voted in my poll about which books you like/dislike please do so, and remember it’s multi option so you can vote for as many as you want. Then I’ll be summarising the results and comparing them with last year’s. Many thanks to everyone for taking part.


132 comments on “School dinners

  1. I guess it all depends on the quality of food you got at home. I got school dinners by helping the dinner ladies with clearing tables and straightening chairs… I loved the food, but then, I rarely got fed and was almost always hungry. Needs as must.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ah this brought back memories. I confess I loved fish fingers. Indeed, I still do, but we also had roast, although because Mum never knew how many people would be present for Sunday lunch – any lost looking junior masters, boys whose parents hadn’t taken them out for the day – our roast was gargantuan because there were regularly up to 14 people and each person was served with about as many veg as the normals would allocate to four people, to make it go further – so it lasted cold for Monday and Tuesday with salad and baked spuds, and ‘done up’ on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday was usually fish pie but we were seasiders so it could be scallops, dover sole – flavoursome fish eaten in a house redolent with the mouthwatering smell of stew (Saturday’s lunch).

    School food was better at the second boarding school (the one I lived in). There if there was a junket on in the Master’s dining room you’d get things liked smoked trout on the salad bar at the next day’s lunch if you turned up at the right time. Previous school did well with what they had – quite a small budget, I think – but we had baked beans with every single meal, even now, I am not remotely enthused by the idea of baked beans because so often they were all there was.

    Your school’s current meals sound very posh. McMini’s are more like the stuff I used to get served at Boarding School 2 but they are very good – I’ve had an eat lunch with your kid day lunch and it was yummy.

    Ah those were the days.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Now why would I think you liked fish fingers?! The crispy bit was OK, but the inside? A bit like crab sticks. FFs remind me of Captain! Bird’s! Eye!

      Your weekly menu wasn’t that dissimilar. Same principles. Says she who used up some pasta from the other day.

      Smoked trout?! I would have been in there. But mostly looking at my school, it is quite basic. Just new basic. Still lots of horrid cod, one haddock dish. That’s it for fish. Lots of beef and meaty stuff and chicken. I suppose that is non-veg cooking though, mainly beef, some chicken, the odd token pork gesture? No sheep left in the UK.

      I struggled to find an inspiring veg meal on the school menu. Sounded like tired restaurant menus: veg curry, veg lasagna, veg and quorn pie. Veg stir fry was possibly missing. Veg pasta. Baked beans were still there too. Bleugh.

      It was the chicken chasseur that mainly got me. I mean seriously? For teenage girls at lunch? They probably eat frozen pizza at home.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting. We did not have school dinners only when I went to boarding school and I cannot remember anything of what we ate. Then when I taught a a catholic school for a while many years ago we had lunch but again I cannot remember much. When I started cooking I became fussy and now I am very very fussy. Come to think of it the food a varsity wasn’t bad either. But we had a heck of a lot of bread. If all else fails …..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bring back the school dinners meat pie!
    We have been comparing notes and both were enthusiastic about it…just as you described it.

    Our Friday fish was whiting en colere…biting its own tail and fried: no wonder it was ratty…or cod in parsley sauce, which was a damn sight more edible.

    Toad in the hole made regular appearances: scrag end stews (Leo says his mother used to make a blanquette with scrag as opposed to veal when they lived in Wales), hotpots….
    All veg was fresh….but, as was normal at that time, cabbage was treated like a deadly foe – boiled for hours to make sure it could not rise again…

    Puds seemed to be an endless round of rice, sago, semolina and tapioca with the occasional delight of a suet roll known to us as dead baby. all accompanied by what my father reckoned must be the last of the army’s WWI supply of plum and apple jam.

    What was Pitt’s apocryphal; dying words…that he could fancy one of Bellamy’s pies….just substitute the school canteen’s meat pie for that…though there was a rumour that it was kangaroo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Was it? I don’t know. Not a home steak and kidney pie but still delish all the same. Good pastry, and lots of yummisimo filling. I wonder if it was pricier hence rare appearance.

      Oh your fish dishes were better. Whiting?! Parsley sauce?! Spoiled Helen DeVries.

      Don’t think I’ve ever had TitH in my life. School offers it now I think. Yuk.

      No veal. No hotpot, more west of the Pennines. Or even wester in Wales.

      Cabbage. I think we had that at school. Overboiled natch. My mother added salt and … overboiled. And then, there was a rebellion. No more salt and hardly boiled at all. Happy father and me with our new-style cabbage. She never put crosses in sprouts, I might add.

      At home, apple pie (que surpresa) and caramel custard. B&b pud, rice pud, occasionally treacle sponge. Home puds dropped off the end fast. Nobody was interested. So I suffered crap school ones.

      Meat pies? I am waiting for Morrisons to restock the Frys vegan ones :D (No kangaroos in SA).

      Liked by 2 people

  5. 😨Urgh, school dinners were disgusting. Limp overcooked veg, mash (no boiled at my school) full of lumps, served with beetroot, so it was pink.
    The puddings were OK.
    As soon as I was old enough, I was happy to cycle the three miles home and back for the casseroles my mum had left cooking for me.
    My mum was also an excellent cook, and home meals were very similar to yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mash and beetroot! Can’t remember if we had that or not. Don’t think so. All the veg were overcooked though.
      Puddings, for the most part, weren’t bad, I just wasn’t interested in them.
      Not much chance of being allowed out of my school. At all!


  6. I did not attend schools in Australia. That’s why I am still around. My brothers did, and they are mainly still around to tell the tale as well. The heights of culinary delights at most schools were the opening of hundreds of the kids lunch boxes during lunch hour. The stench was so bad that Barry Humphreys made the immortal joke when someone farted; who opened their lunch box?
    The reason was clear. Banana sandwiches, tinned spag. sandwiches, the dreaded Devon. It was the pits.
    This smell eventually permeated the walls and ceilings of the class rooms. Kids could not escape this stench.
    My mum did her best making the sandwiches for school during those earlier times. I noticed my grandsons often buying their lunches from the ‘tuck-shop,’ which is another Australian institution run by mothers. Mothers with floppy arms are now called having ‘tuckshop arms.’
    Because of the obesity problem, tuckshops are now forced to sell healthy foods. Meat pies, and sausage rolls are frowned upon. However, MacDonald’s are worming their way into schools. An even bigger worry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were still banana (and peanut butter) sandwiches around when I arrived, and impoverished travellers could get them for free. Better than cold baked bean sarnies though.

      Meat pies and sausage rolls a no-no, but healthy McDonalds? I wouldn’t recognise Australia (or the UK for that matter) these days.


  7. School lunches were utterly vile, I remember the lumpy mashed potatoes with black spots in them. The smell of soggy cabbage, so disgusting that to this day I cannot eat cabbage and repulsive stew and dumplings. Puddings of prunes, semolina – yuk, and spotted dick! My children now dine in five start luxury at school here in France by comparison and I tell them so quite frequently!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the French menus for your kids were super, but I think my school’s menus are as good.

      Seems most people remember soggy cabbage (which I can eat, when I’ve unsoggily cooked it), prunes, semolina and poor potatoes.

      In Spain, in our village the kids leave school at lunchtime and so go home for lunch around 3am. Was the same in Italy when I was an au pair.


  8. I seem to remember prunes featured heavily on school menus and I haven’t liked them since. One thing that does come to mins as at break time when the milk crates came round, there were often small bottles of orange juice too which if you were quick you got lucky. I’ve been searching for that same orange juice ever since.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d forgotten the prunes. I did like them and still do.

      We never had orange juice :( Probably like the ones the milk delivers would sell along with the daily pint. My gripe about the milk crates was that if they got put on the radiators to defrost in winter, it tasted disgusting. In summer, they sat outside in the sun and tasted disgusting. Why couldn’t someone bring them in ASAP?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You speak of a world I am not familiar with — although in my childhood I heard wonderful stories about boarding school from the dad of one of my friends. I used to long to be sent to boarding school, if only to enjoy the adventures of escaping and playing tricks on everyone. If we had lunch at school it was almost always brought from home. PB and jam or PB and banana sandwiches were my favourites. Also liked egg sandwiches, and each was usually accompanied by a piece of fruit. Mind you, as I’ve been writing this, some distant recollections of milk purchases come to mind. We could get either a half-pint of regular milk, or of chocolate — and we bought these with tokens (“milk money”). I wonder what else has fallen into the deep recesses of memory?
    We had regular meals at home — dinner at night (Dad’s was always left on a plate over a simmering saucepan, since he was always always home late from work), which usually consisted of some sort of meat (chops, chicken, sausages, port cutlets, fish) and a couple of veggies plus potatoes. Dad was a meat and potatoes man. I learned how to make macaroni and cheese from scratch (easy!) and how to roast beef, and assorted other things, but I am happy to be able to read recipes quite well (when I can identify the ingredients), since I occasionally like to try new recipes out on unsuspecting guests on the rare occasions I have people over.
    And I love cod! Not my favourite if turned into fish and chips, but love it if it’s offered in a restaurant if I’m out — especially if it’s smoked black Alaska cod. Mmmmmm! Sockeye salmon is my next choice — but only wild, not farmed. I think halibut is my choice for fish ‘n chips.
    Public schools here (I think they are equivalent of the private ones in England — ie open to everyone) have fundraising meals every so often. Kids can pay in advance for a piece of pizza or a hot dog, for example. There are also schools that offer hot lunches to kids from families that are struggling — since there are a lot of families below the poverty line here. The aim is to make sure kids get at least one good meal a day. Not sure what is on offer at these meals, but it’s better than the nothing some of them get at home.

    My mom is one of the seniors that does not eat well. Her diet these days consists of a breakfast of Shreddies with milk and a banana; her lunch is often nothing but whatever desert is offered; not sure about dinner, because even when she is out she rarely eats much. But if onion rings are on offer, these and any chips go first. When we have a holiday meal she is “forced” to eat one brussel sprout — on principle. I like to think of it as making sure she gets some vitamins into her; my sisters think of it as getting even for the many years we had to eat the sprouts when we hated them. (We all like them now, though, which is why they are on hand for Mom to be tortured with as well).
    I am afraid that I may be taking after her perilous eating habits, although I also love salads and soups and anything on offer that is more exotic than I make for myself (or that I can make easily).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not boarding school, but a wide catchment area so going home was impracticable and obviously part of the ethos was providing a meal. And school milk. We did have to take fruit or biscuits or crisps for our 11am break.

      The only time we took sandwiches was for a school trip. Prawn and egg or egg mayonnaise and cress were favourites of mine, or maybe tinned salmon or tongue. If I was lucky smoked salmon.

      My dad was meat and two veg and sometimes potatoes. I learnt to baste the beef. No idea how to cook it, or chicken. I was stunned when my then boyfriend now husband produced a superbly roasted chicken in our first months together. I taught myself to roast lamb and pork. Never had macaroni cheese at home. Spaghetti bolognaise at home was a rare venture into ‘foreign’ cooking. French didn’t count as foreign.

      Halibut as fish and chips? Noooo! A waste. It’s on the bone. What a mess. Uf. So much nicer grilled and served with parsley butter, new potatoes, peas, boiled cucumber. Ah yes. Says the vegetarian!

      Three classes of schools (roughly) in UK:
      1) State schools – free
      2) Private schools – paid-for
      3) Public schools – paid for and supremely elitist.

      I went to 2). According to Andrew below all kids get a free (state) school meal now due to the reasons you cite. But they did when I was a kid if it was a state school, IIRC.

      I am thinking most oldies lose interest in food. Or perhaps women do. I saw that in my mum years back before I’d even left home and married. She’d leave the soup, and for the main course eat just the veg. If we had a starter or fish course she might eat that. *Might*. Even when we went back to see her in her seventies it was hard to interest her in much. One moment stuffed eggs were great and so were beetroot sandwiches. Next, she didn’t like them. Amazingly she enjoyed a Chinese take-away.

      Maybe it’s not just a lack of interest in food, if days may be numbered …


  10. So funny. So many memories. I hated school dinners. I begged not to be sent there and preferred to cycle two miles home and back in the lunch break for a sandwich.
    Looking back the main course was probably not so bad but it was the puddings that turned my stomach. Rice pudding with a thick inedible black skin that would make me gag, jam roly-poly and bread and butter pudding. YUCK! Friday fish was always bad and we rarely got chips.
    Thanks to Nick Clegg and his free school meals for everyone (at the taxpayers expense) I doubt it is that much better 50 years on.
    BTW, what did you think of the High Court judgement on Brexit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny. Bacon and egg pie and gooseberry tart were not funny. Couldn’t you have taken a sandwich?

      Oh, I liked rp with black skin on. Not that Ambrosia type with a yuk white skin. Jam roly-poly was ok. Seems my school still does it. Treacle pud was ok too. And spotted dick. Don’t think we had bread and butter pud. But I would have left dessert alone and had a salad starter if it had been an option so long ago.

      You wouldn’t have wanted our chips anyway.

      State schooling is at the taxpayers’ expense. What’s a few free school meals. Next you’ll be advocating for mealsnatchers ;)

      I’ve only read media not the legal side/judgement, so this is a personal rather than objectively assessed view.

      So, I don’t believe it was taken to court to prove constitutional bollocks, I see it as an attempt as a spoke in the wheel, to slow down/prevent Brexit.

      Like many people (for once an ok article in the Guardian about people pissed off with the ruling, and also being labelled as racist bigots) I think it does sound like the metropolitan elite deciding for the masses who are too thick to do what they are told.

      My constitutional theory is weak these days so I don’t know how accurate it is. If the government says ‘we will implement your decision’ have they the right to overturn that? Shouldn’t someone have complaned back then? Did Parliament vote on the results of all the other referendums? Did Parliament vote on the gradual ceding of power to Brussels that wasn’t on the cards with the previous Wilson referendum?

      I think backtracking would be the Most. Stupid. Decision. Ever.
      I also think, as a trade union negotiator, that discussing options in public would be an Even. Worst. Most. Stupid. Decision. Ever.

      There is a difference between adminstrative functions and voting decisions. Decision has been taken. Get on and sort it.

      Also, the government needs to change its lawyers or its self-interested judiciary.

      What did you think?


      • I am not surprised. The political elite are more powerful than we even imagine and will blatantly ignore the will of the people.
        For Example – We have three pointless, out of touch with reality judges in silly costumes overruling the will of 17 million people.
        In my opinion the referendum was a catastrophic misjudgement. Cameron and co were so conceited that they thought that it would never come to this. I see trouble ahead, the country is now so polarised over the issue that it will end in tears.
        I suspect Parliament will not dare vote down Article 50 but we will see a couple of years of negotiation and then a second referendum to vote on the detail and there will be a fudge. That may not be such a bad thing.
        I note that Gibraltar supported the legal challenge – do they really think that UK Government is any time soon likely to abandon them?


        • Not just the political elite, the financial elite and the class elite. Leaves 90% of people out of the equation.

          For Example – We have three pointless, out of touch with reality judges in silly costumes overruling the will of 17 million people.

          Nicely said. But you know, courts, sovereignty, parliament, and People Who Know Better.
          And are not out of work, or using food banks, or struggling to claim any damn benefit at all.

          Of course they were conceited. Rich people are conceited. Rich people in power are even more conceited. Ergo, judges’ decision.

          Tears? Doubt it. Poll tax style protests. Just endless whingeing. And abuse. Instead of looking for anything positive.

          Or even trying to understand why people voted out.

          What use is the Working Hours Directive limiting hours when people get sacked for not doing compulsory overtime? Useless. Absolutely useless. Trade Unions used to achieve more.

          No more collective bargaining because there is always someone to undercut the rate. Where is the EU supporting workers there? As usual. On the gravy train. Doing stuff all for people.

          There is serious cognitive dissonance in London. And Scotland which has had more EU money than you can poke a new road or a big new croft house at.

          I wouldn’t put anything past them. The labour MPs might be a bit more careful. But they’ve hardly got a majority.

          I don’t think we should see a referendum on the detail? Why? Get on with it and negotiate. Why is it so difficult? We all do deals in daily life. And we don’t get paid one or two thousand grand plus pa for it.

          Gib switch hits. It’s complex. While I hate to agree with you, people like the best of both worlds, so they want the freedom to have houses in Spain and buy cheaper goods in Spain. We do know some people who voted out, an odd mix.

          Mostly the 800 out voters, or at least the ones we know, don’t like the undercutting of wages. Look at Boston in your part of the world.

          Gib relies on cheap obedient cross border workers. That includes the government of Gib.

          I don’t think Tories are a worry. Labour was.

          But while ever Britain wants a military presence, scrapping Gib is idiocy.


          • Trade Unions have been fucked. They are now powerless. mores the pity. But, let’s face it, workers are in part responsible as they have abandoned the unions as a position of worker power and allowed employers to assert post Thatcher control. Her far right Tory Government did so much damage.
            I don’t think we need a second generation it is just my prediction.


          • Primarily Thatcher’s legislation – deliberately – fucked unions. Directly by banning secondary picketing and lightning strikes, insidiously by luring people to buy their council houses and taking on the responsibility of a mortgage. Back in the late 80s, we discussed a strike, only three of us voted for it, me, a die-hard Tory (?!), and an indeterminate. All my red-hot lefty colleagues were so not there. Working-to-rule served no purpose. Suck it up and strike, or go under. And …
            So I think it’s a combination of factors. Thatcher’s era/legislation plus personal ambition/greed, lack of real union ethics/understanding. Nowadays unions sell insurance. Huh? When we needed a union here I did more work. US. Totally fucking useless.
            I think the in brigade are so pissed off they will stop at nothing. And yet, every out voter says, well, we would have accepted it.
            What’s with this very bad play? And I’m not even sporting!


          • There would have been no high court challenge if the result had been to remain that’s for sure.
            Went to South Wales last month to the coal mining valleys, sad to look down on them from above and remember a noble industrial heritage swept away by the hard line Tory Government of Thatcher and co.
            Nice rant by-the-way!


          • All of which makes me think leave was the right vote. I am heartily suspicious of the remainers. Polly Toynbee wrote a pile of vitriol the other day. Absolutely nasty. The assumption (which I made too) that remain would win, and yet failed to do so, has obviously given these people a serious jolt. How dare the lesser beings disagree with we-who-know-best? I read – referring to the HC decision – that someone said ‘we don’t live in a popular democracy’ which is true. We live in a kakistocracy.
            As for south wales, don’t forget the steel too. Like yorkshire, death of two major industries and thousands of jobs/incomes.
            The subject’s at my fingertips :D We regularly discuss (lack of) workers’ rights and useless unions, and the destruction of industry in our two home areas.
            And the next favourite topic is … the EU Working Hours Directive. Ha. Just. Ha.


          • We simply shouldn’t put trust in the political or judicial classes. Their only interest is self-interest!
            Gina Miller was brave enough to go on TV this morning and face Nigel Farage. She put up quite a strong casein her defence and I think she deserves credit for that considering the abuse she has been subjected to. No sign of the judges of course!
            Fishing Industry in Grimsby was a casualty of the Cod Wars and the capitulation by the then 1975 Labour Government so can’t really blame the Tories for that.


          • I don’t think a lot of people do trust them. Sadly we have no governmental/constitutional option. Dictatorship by King Charles? I think not.
            I didn’t know Miller had been abused. I think anyone debating with Farage is … well, words fail me. I’d struggle to say good morning to him.
            Yes, the cod wars were a real debacle. Although living in a haddock-eating community there was little interest in it in my community.


          • Grimsby is exclusively haddock, cod is regarded as a dirty fish because it is a bottom feeder. If you want cod in Grimsby then you have to specially request it.
            From what I read Gina Miller has been the victim of some fairly awful abuse.
            What our political elite need is a shock but I can’t imagine where it might come from – maybe if Trump wins the Presidency (God Forbid) there could be a knock on effect!


          • I don’t know if our f&c shops sold cod. If they did, it would be special request like you say. I’ve always had the impression cod was more the norm darn sarf.
            Of course if we were all in hedge funds and investment we could probably take the government to court too for previous ddgy dealings. But the average person in the street just has to suck it instead of wittering on about constitutions and sovereignty and tin-pot dictatorships (subtext: implementing decisions we personally don’t agree with).


          • We probably agree. The people have spoken. Parliament is irrelevant in this instance. Westminster influenced by Cameron fucked up! I remain confident that we will be out according to blessed Theresa’s timescale!


          • While I accept that referenda are technically advisory, I think Miller (just watched some of the exchange on youtube) is being disingenuous when she says she has created legal certainty for Brexit to proceed. I see nothing wrong with using the royal prerogative. I think it’s a cheap excuse for a rich woman who benefits from the London financial services sector and doesn’t want to leave Europe. She went to Roedean FFS. Her father was an attorney general. I wonder how much of her philanthropic efforts benefit people in the industrial wastelands? And to say the judges are the greatest minds in the country is a little OTT. Farage wasn’t too bad. Bit blustery but I might say good morning to him after all. He pretty much said ‘the people have spoken’ too.


          • MP? Or just fame and glory as the woman who stopped Brexit? Or just not wanting to lose dosh?
            I think his attitude towards her was sexist, but anyone who supports Trump is hardly a card-carrying feminist. But what he said was actually ok to my surprise. He’s an odd one IMO.

            Liked by 1 person

  11. Ah, such delicious memories of being obliged to eat kidneys and liver and then ordering a plateful of powdered Smash potato in an attempt to hide said meat underneath. And the desserts?
    Vile just does not come close.
    And to top it all, one was obliged to pray before ”digging in”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May the Lord make us truly thankful for what we are about to receive.
      She rattles off after 14 years of indoctrination … that is still with me, no wonder the heretics have problems if even I can remember that.

      Don’t think we ever had kidneys. I LIKED kidneys. Lambs kidneys anyway. And rabbit kidney too. I don’t think we had smash. We saw the kitchen staff peeling potatoes from 8am!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This brings back memories better forgotten. We too were attacked by semolina, but my worst memory was of cubed beetroot soaked in vinegar. Put me off beetroot for life!


  13. English school meals were so different from what I remember eating but some of it remains fuzzy. I always ate what ever was served and from week to week each days menu remained about the same.

    Salmon patties, macaroni and cheese. creamed potatoes, peas, green beans, corn, carrots, white bread, tuna fish, ground beef patties. That’s all I remember. I vaguely remember ice cream in a paper cup, and maybe a piece of cake. I think the lunch was 20-25 cents.

    Interesting to know about other cultures and what you ate/eat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the only thing we have in common there is creamed potatoes and carrots. We may have had tinned peas but I don’t remember.

      Can’t remember the price as the cost was paid in advance for the full term, my mum threw out interesting things like school receipts.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. The version of grace that in my family as we grew up was “For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful.” I guess the line switched when my great-great grands came across the water. Most of my friends grew up with something else — some of the versions quite light and fun — but all thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No you’re right Diana. Senility creeping in here. My only excuse is that we didn’t have to say it in senior school so it was 45 years ago! Never said anything at home. No. Elbows on table at either school or home, and had to wait for everyone else at the table to be served before we started both at school and home.


  15. School dinners have changed beyond all recognition and I first realised this whilst attending my son’s school lunches at primary school on special days. The variety was astonishing, superb tasting and as a vegetarian I couldn’t I have more pleased with the options available. Also available is the possibility of packed lunches. My memories of school lunches are just grim…I was always counting down the minutes until playtime!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They certainly have hence my stunned amazement at chicken chasseur on the current menu.
      I thought the veg options at my school were less interesting than the carnivorous ones, pasta and veg, veg curry, veg lasagna, quorn and veg pie, the sort of things you’d get on an average/mediocre pub menu. But, there was something which is better than when I was at school. Luckily I wasn’t veg then.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Not a boarding school, but public ones had lunches you could buy. They always smelled bad and Friday’s was fish of some weird shape or sort. I packed lunch and ate sandwich/apple slices/carrot sticks the entire time. No dessert – we did not get sweets. After graduation I could hardly stand looking at a tuna sandwich or apple slices.
    Funny how much alike our meals at home were. We either had potatoes or rice with the meat and 2 veggies. Maybe ice cream for dessert. But the kitchen then was closed and no one dared go in and dirty up any dishes until morning.
    We are mostly avoiding news/TV until after the election. Utterly sick of it all.
    (You do know Hillary and her husband pay their women staffers/workers in campaign and Foundation 75 cents to all of their male employees – Well known little fact. Has been this way since governorship Little Rock and AR.(She was/is well known for her throwing things, temper tantrums, foul mouth and cursing out secret service and employees both in AR and in DC) – Irrtates me terribly when she goes out and pushes the Womens’ Button. And I’m more than hacked that she’s on stage and smiling with foul mouth rapper Jay-Z who is so demeaning to women ( That’s the only copy with some of his words.
    Hillary – Whhhyyyy? What were you thinking? Oh, votes…anything for votes. Great.
    I would have voted for her last time. Silently told her “don’t take that State Dept job”- which didn’t go so well – too much has happened since then. And now it’s out she directed her maid to print out some of those classified emails for her? Geesch.
    I want a woman who is tech savy, honorable, isn’t a hypocrite, and has actually held a real job so she understands what women in business in the real world face (not tax payer supported millionaire….Failed the bar exam. Couldn’t get a job without her husband asking for a favor from a firm – and still even though she is running for office herself keep talking about how “during my husbands term of office”…GAG! Stand on your own feet and abilities. Be the woman we need.
    Don’t get even me started on Trump. These two are what we have to choose from? Two totally ridiculous, comic book type millionaire dunderheads?
    So as you can see, better I sit, watch sailboats, and avoid thinking about this election.
    So food is good!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I used to dislike taking sandwiches to work. They tasted horrid by lunchtime so I’d eat them at ten o’clock. We had a council firm come round at one point selling sandwiches. Really good as they did real vegetarian sandwiches. Cheese was vegetarian, eggs were free-range, and they had a salad sandwich that was vegan.
      I’m a big fan of radishes and celery, carrot is ok too.
      My mum made ice cream a few times. Seriously delicious. Otherwise, never had it at home.
      I don’t know about Hills. Just, not as bad as Trump. I wonder if she has got worse over the years because her ambition has been thwarted by the male establishment? Just speculating. I thought her original health care proposals were meant to be quite radical. But I read today they were terrible and expensive. And so is Obamacare. Well, health services are expensive. But at least state care cuts out insurance company profits. I’ve only ever understood a state-based free at point of delivery system though.
      I’ve – so far – resisted writing about it, although …

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hillary should have never stepped out of line/fought harder when she ran in the primaries agains Obama. The party wanted him – and the banner of “First Black President”. And a male. And even her husband seemed to be torpedoing her. She was more qualified and it was her time. I voted for her then. She tripped herself up. And she does seem to have become even more ruthless, win at all costs, and bitter in recent years. Not surprising.
        Under our “new improved” healthcare system, doctors (most are now salaried employees of hospital corporations). The profit driven corporations are controlling doc’s appointment schedules – insisting that they can easily see 18 patients in a hour – with “health practicioner”/tech not always a nurse doing preliminary work before doc walks in room. That is NOT giving good healthcare. No is the “new” video visits that are now being pushed: a room full of the new “health care professionals” with a script and one doctor overseeing the room. Docs now have about 15-20+ (depending on patient and issue) min of computer coding and documentaion per patient – done at home at night. My last check up, the doc spent 90% of the time typing in info into the room computer and hardly had time to look at me. And I know her and have gone to her for some time. I know she has 3 kids at home and I know the fed. gov. has mandated she ask certain questions each trip incuding “Are there guns in the home?” (which usually has nothing to do with reason a person goes to see a doctor…) but all this superficial extra stuff takes up my time for my concerns. And then there’s the back to back call days – 2 sometimes 3 in a row which means a doc many not have a normal sleep for 3 days. Not the best for good patient care. Health care must be available for those who need it, but the current system is not working and far worse and more expensive. Back to the drawing board, indeed.
        Some states had workable systems – maybe they should look at those. We had free family health clinics in schools. Worked really well to get immunizations up to date, take care of colds, starting health problems before they became bigger, kids missed less school, parents – documented or not – felt comfortable coming (immgration does not go in schools – ever). But funding was redirected to funding insurance subsidies for people. Those clinics closed.
        It’s not working. A better solution has to be found.


        • Yes. First black male is more important than first white woman. Always will be. Don’t know enough about him. Not bad, not good, would be my across the seas verdict.
          But back to black. A lot of my, at the time, american feminist forum friends went for Obama too. No real reason. Wanted to prove their non-racist credentials? Didn’t really want a woman in charge? Who knows.
          The UK is on its second female PM. I think the people have got used to it. When it came to the final ballot, the last two candidates were women (the other was Leadsom). The Labour party is rubbish on letting women lead though. I digress.
          But is this a new country old country thing? Merkel hasn’t done badly, Le Pen is certainly courting votes, yet in Australia, Gillard was virtually hounded out of office. Maybe Thatcher set the standard? And we can all talk about that for hours.
          Health care. Just don’t start me.
          In the UK people go to a GP be ause they can. And, after a certain point they need a sick note to stay off work.
          Studies say people overuse health services. If I sprain an ankle or wrist and can’t walk or type, then I need a medic to say so. I don’t need intervention, but I do need someone to certify I have that problem. Ergo, I need to visit a medic. Who would prob send me to hospital for intervention …
          Crazy world right now.


  17. I’m staggered by what your old school offers for lunch these days. I remember simply dreadful school meals – and yes, at the end of the week everything that hadn’t been eaten was clumped together into an unrecognizable dish best known as the mystery meal.

    And it always amazed me how a school cafeteria could mess up pizza. Even I could have made a minimally palatable pizza, rather than the thinly disguised cardboard, tomato sauce and cheese monstrosity that turned our stomachs on a regular basis.

    I suppose it made me appreciate my mom’s cooking all that much more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not half as staggered as I am. No wonder fees are £12,000 a year.
      Pizza? You’re having a laugh. We didn’t get pizza, or spaghetti, or curry, or stir fry, or anything that seems to be standard fare these days.
      We actually stopped buying pizzas a while ago. If we want one I make it, no horrid sloppy sauce or claggy cheese. Ugh. It had got to the point where I picked off the olives and ate the crust. And the dog/s got the rest.


        • There is one decent pizza place, but costs a fortune, so why bother?
          Well remembered. I got the double glazing sales call too from a current pupil as they were all assigned an Old Girl to ring. I just didn’t answer. It really sticks in my craw. I don’t have an issue with a more varied menu and I’m pleased to see an unimaginative veg option. But flogging the Hepworth sculptures? Wearing poncy gowns as though they are university grads?
          Going to Costa Rica when we went to th rhubarb fields down the hill? Nope. My money they ain’t getting. I am not funding chicken chasseur.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. Food has come a long way since those early days. Even when I was in college the food was more mysterious than recognizable. I lived on souffle for four years. Twenty-five years later when I went back there with my daughter, I was amazed at the difference!


  19. i thought i may have commented on this one, but i obviously hadn’t.
    i lived sufficiently close enough to my elementary school so that i would walk home for lunch – sometimes with a friend, and my mom would have cooked a warm meal or a pot of soup. that was for grades 1 to 7.
    but there were occasions when my mom would be busy otherwise and i would get to have lunch at school. and since it was a rare occasion, i always enjoyed those meals. they were cheap – 15 cents for the main dish, 10 cents for a cup of soup and 5 cents for cocoa.
    I remember having to pay for the lunch in the mornings and then being handed tokens which we would later give in exchange for what we ordered. and I also remember there always being bowls of fresh fresh carrot, celery and turnip sticks on the table. it was a rotating cycle, with five menus that appeared. Every Monday would be the same meal, every Tuesday, etc.
    Wednesdays were hamburger days – i remember them because my mom volunteered in the cafeteria once or twice a month, along with some of the other moms (don’t remember seeing any dads there), and she was always there on a Wednesday. Mrs Long was there every day of the week, and she ran the kitchen. She did an awesome job.
    Tuesdays my mom would sometimes be busy, so I would have lunch then too. Tuesdays there was shepherd’s pie, and very occasionally I would stay for lunch on a Friday which was always hot dog day. Growing up, that was the first and only kind of shepherd’s pie that I knew, and it was actually quite yummy. to this day, if I have shepherd’s pie, I always do a mental check to see if it measures up to Mrs Long’s. I can still remember how it tastes to this day.
    I don’t remember what was served on Mondays or Thursdays. I always had lunch at home on those days. but i am quite sure that no fish was served.
    And no dessert either. So sometimes my friend and I would opt out of cocoa or the main dish and we’d spend the rest of our lunch money on a bagful of penny candy at the corner store nearby. some candies were two for a penny or even three for a penny…. so delish and so very unhealthy…
    so of course i had to google what lunches are being served at my former school these days, if any. it turns out there are some meals, but not every day by a long shot, and there are no photos. But the calendar shows that between the beginning of October and the end of December, there were/are four scheduled hot dog days, three pizza days, and four barbecue days. Prices aren’t marked and I didn’t want to sign up an account to find out :)
    thanks for this walk down memory lane…


    • Well for £12,000 a year I guess they have to provide a few luxury items. Shame they don’t have the delicious meat pie on the menu. But perhaps the steak and ale one on the current menu is even better. The choice is fascinating, vegetarian every day, salads, pasta, sandwiches, fruit, soup, even I could make a meal out of that selection.

      Liked by 1 person

          • Tbh, while I can cook, there are times (like now!) when I have no interest in it, and that’s when the food seems mediocre to me. The cook needs to love what they are doing. Well, this one does. My mother got sick of cooking but it didn’t seem to affect the results. There again, she wasn’t vegetarian and it’s difficult to ruin chops/casseroles/roasts etc.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Well, you’ll be impressed by the fact that I made a delicious apple and pear crumble last evening! I got in all the ingredients, it didn’t burn, and everyone said it was very good. Major culinary success in my books. Haha….

            Liked by 1 person

          • Very good Cynthia. We made apple crumble in DS around age 14. Don’t think I’ve made it since. I did not enjoy DS. We made the most awful recipes. It was cookery for half the year and sewing for the other half. I must have been the only one whose mother had no sewing machine so I was way behind everyone else and had outgrown the items before they were finished …

            Liked by 1 person

          • When I learned to cook, it was Chinese food, but I wasn’t good at it. I was good at smocking and light embroidery. I can crochet, but it bored me. And I still have the same very primitive knitting skills I acquired back then. … no improvement at all.


          • Isn’t it strange what we learn? My cooking was French orientated, so in vogue in the 70s. I did embroidery too. Boring lazy daisy stitch! Never crocheted. Never taught, never learned, never interested. Mind you, I knitted a cotton top, and the buttonholes needed my mum’s crocheting skills, or I would have been stuffed. I can knit. Cable, multi colours/yarns etc. I do wonder how much of this is genetic or taught? My grandma: brilliant cook, baker, knitter, crocheter. My mother: I would say the same, although other family members revered grandma. Me: ok cook, baker (I can do bread which my mother never did), good knitter but not bothered with four needles, my mother’s embroidery was superb. Must. Post. Pic. Of her beautiful cut-out work.
            What I did do, was learn the dressmaking and sewing. I bought Vogue Designer patterns and made some beautiful clothes. Loved it. Still got a part-finished Donna Karan jacket in the wardrobe! But I moved onto curtains.
            And now? I have enough clothes. I don’t need sharp suits (she’s too old to employ), and I have brought all my curtains with me. Life changes.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Speaking of what we learn, this reminded me of my grade 8 cooking class in Home Economics. The boys had shop (metalwork, woodwork and electricity or something like that) and the girls had HE, with half a year dedicated to sewing and the other half to cooking. There was no option for boys to cook or girls to get into woodwork in those days. At the time, no one seemed to mind. But I am sure times have since changed.
            Anyhow, cooking classes were a sad state of affairs, although I am sure the teacher meant well. Every meal was demonstrated by her in one class, and we had to write down the recipe as she went along. and then on the following class, we had to emulate it and repeat the process. So there were two classes per cooking event, and about four classes per week. This only went on for and only half a year of it, so needless to say, we did not get very far.
            The first lesson – how to spread your butter on a slice of bread. Seriously. With only one fell swoop of the knife across the top two-thirds of the slice from left to right, and then another short one across the bottom from right to left, and voila. I kid not.
            The second cooking session was making hot cocoa from scratch, and the third one was apple sauce.
            At this point about one month of classes had passed. Still to come were buttermilk biscuits and fruit cobbler, and I don’t remember the rest. Nothing that made a lasting impression. But to this day I know how to spread butter on my bread efficiently even though i don’t follow the procedure.. :)
            i don’t cook much but my soups and sandwiches are not too shabby if i say so myself, even if there is no efficient bread spreading involved. and everyone enjoys my banana loaf. my secret is to cut the sugar in half and add an extra banana.
            don’t knit or crochet, although i’ve done some embroidery and i can sew straight lines. When we moved here more than 20 years ago, I sewed all the curtains. Most of them have since been replaced, but a couple of them are still hanging. But they are not as clever as yours that I once read about in your everypic blog, with the pouches for hiding the drawstring.


  20. Great post! I recently started a blog about my law school experience check it out if you have a chance.


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