School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 23 Nov 2012, 05:34

Ray, in poor areas the Sally used to have kitchens where they gave out free meals. They would serve anything they could get cheap or had donated. It's possible they sold meals at subsidised prices.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Sunray10 » 23 Nov 2012, 22:11

Stanley that sounds about right, thank you. They still sell bowls of soup with floaters in it. Hahaha. :laugh5:

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by minimiller » 24 Nov 2012, 21:26

My first school dinners memories are from All Saints in Bradford which I attended from 1957 to 1963.

My older sister warned me in advance of the Cheese Pie, making it sound almost poisonous.
Stories were told of pupils hiding it behind the radiators or stuffing it in their pockets. If fact doing anything other than eat it. That first mouthful was taken in dire trepidation.
I was almost disappointed when it turned out to be quite good.

The rule there at the time was that "YOU ATE EVERYTHING" and didn't leave the table till you had cleared the plate. I remember some poor unknowing new kid leaving some food and when the headmaster asked him why he still had food on his plate the lad said the reason was because he was full. FULL? That was the wrong answer in a really big way and when he left the table that plate was clean.
The only one time I remember there being an exception to this rule was when the carrots were found to include quite a bit of wood and I mean chunks of it. The headmaster announced that we could leave them "if we so desired" I nibbled as much of the carrot from around the larger bits as was possible, just to be on the safe side.

Dinners were ninepence a day at the time. My dad was out of work for quite a long period due to illness so I got free dinners. You were issued special tickets and had to stand in a separate queue from the people who had paid.
Could you see them getting away with that now?

When I moved and attended Barlick Modern I always had school dinners as I lived in Earby so going home was not an option.
Being a "Rancher" I traveled to and from school on the "Ranch Bus" and could usually be found with the rest of the smokers on the back seat or thereabouts.
Mrs McGowan was the head dinner lady at that time and I can't remember ever having a meal that I didn't enjoy. We never, ever got chips.
We had one of the teachers on our table and he was obviously a favourite of hers. He never missed a chance to tell her how wonderful everything was. He certainly knew which side his bread was buttered. Needless to say, if there were any "seconds" available they seemed to regularly find their way to our little location.

I do know that it was the main meal of the day for me, I usually got a sandwich for my tea when I got home. This could have been a good incentive to eat everything and I have continued to be omnivorous throughout my life.

There were 6 to a table I think, and one of the kids who sat with me was Jack Pearce (he of the Billy Daniels was my dad, fame). Passing around the aluminium containers, it was regarded as fair game to savagely undermine the adjacent piece of sponge pudding or whatever to such an extent that the last piece would be of a normal size when viewed from the top but around a quarter of an inch square at the bottom.

Geez, all this talk of food has made me hungry. Maybe I'll go and have a bit of Cheese Pie................
Mick

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Wendyf » 24 Nov 2012, 21:50

Have you had a look at the Ranch pages on the Earby History Society website Mick? (See link below)

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by minimiller » 24 Nov 2012, 22:06

Wendyf wrote:Have you had a look at the Ranch pages on the Earby History Society website Mick? (See link below)
Yes I have Wendyf, but not fully.
Thanks for the reminder.
Mick

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Sunray10 » 24 Nov 2012, 23:50

Thanks minimiller great story really enjoyed that. Any more, please. I can remember refusing to eat un-cooked liver that we called "boot leather". I used to slowly push to piece of said liver to the edge of my plate and when the teacher wasn't looking I flicked it over the edge and into my pocket to be later flushed away down the toilet. The problem was when teacher saw it was gone he/she thought you like it, so you got a bigger piece next time. :laugh5:

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Sunray10 » 29 Nov 2012, 22:31

Can anyone remember eating peas-pudding. Cut into fairly solid pieces if I remember correctly. Very tasty.

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Moh » 30 Nov 2012, 13:49

Got on to the site Wendy but cannot see anything about the Ranch (I have signed up!!). They used to have their own website.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Wendyf » 30 Nov 2012, 15:27

If you look at the menu along the top of the homepage The Ranch button is towards the right hand side. All that was on the old Ranch website has been incorporated into the History Soc. website.

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by rossylass » 13 Jan 2013, 12:04

Just read this thread and it brought back many memories.

I went to a C of E controlled primary school in Carrington, Cheshire. It consisted of two rooms, one which could be divided by a partition on rollers. There was a cloak room with large sinks where the dinner ladies washed the pots. The bier, which was used for funerals, was kept in the entrance hall. The school was cheek by jowel with the parish church and when funeral corteges passed the classroom we had to place our heads on our arms. I got into trouble for waving to my Dad when he was following Mr Blowers' coffin.

Outside there was a small playground and the toilet blocks...a brick urinal for the boys, which was uncovered...and pail closets for the girls; these were emptied through small doors located on the main road and sometimes, when enthroned, you would get a shock when one of the boys opened the door. We girls got the boys back by shinning up the wall & peeking at them in their urinal.

The school was heated by a coke boiler, which was stoked by the teachers (all three of them and one of them part time). Sometimes it was so cold when we arrived at school we were made to do exercises to warm ourselves up. There were holes in the roof and lessons were often accompanied by the sound of the plink plonk of rain falling into buckets.I remember that we would dry out our hankies on the heating pipes, which gave off a sort of biscuity smell.

The milk stories rang lots of bells. To this day I have a mat made out of cardboard bottle tops which have been wrapped in string & crocheted together. It is absolutely filthy, but I won't part with it; do you think it may be unique?

Our dinners came from central kitchens in insulated drums. I thought our school was unique in this until I read this thread. Dinners were served by Edie Heaton and Jinny Holt, who had her plaits coiled over her ears like earphones. The dinners were largely dreadful, although puddings were better. We ate them at our desks and one day a photographer came in to record this; I still have the photo, but I have no idea why it was taken. We were not allowed to eat pudding until we had finished our first course. The all pervasive smell of cabbage used to put me off my dinner so I often went without pudding; my favourite was syrup sponge, but I liked semolina & prunes too. I seem to remember that roasts were awful, but I did enjoy beef stew. I think I was too traumatised to remember the full range of dinner offerings! We were allowed to take bottles of sauce in, but that didn't help much.

The records for the school are held in the Cheshire Record Office and are an eye opener.

Christopher, a lad with Downs' Syndrome, was a fellow pupil; he was double jointed and could do the splits. There was another boy who had epileptic fits & was quite violent. It was fairly common to see people having fits then, but it is now controlled thank goodness. He disappeared after a short spell at our school.

A Head Teacher was imprisoned for two years for indecent assault on some of the boys. My mother was very friendly with his wife & campaigned tooth & nail on his behalf. She couldn't believe that such a nice man could do such a thing, especially as he had not interfered with my brother.I read an account of his trial in a contemporary newspaper and he had pleaded guilty, but said, in mitigation, that he was worn out by the twice daily cycle ride from his home in Sale - about five miles away.

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 14 Jan 2013, 04:42

Rossy, we could have gone to the same school. I'd forgotten about the sauce but yes, we were allowed to take it in as well.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Sunray10 » 14 Jan 2013, 23:03

Rossy thank you so much for that story of your school days. Mine was much the same C of E infants school next to the church St John's. I remember the urinals there. It was a brick built building and we had to share with the girls. I thinks the girls waited to the boys had all done what they had to do, then they would come in and get on with what they had to do as well. I don't think it had a roof and was very cold in winter. So you wouldn't want to linger long. The school meals were not up to much - very similar to what you have described. I can remember the smell of boiled cabbage and potatoes - bubble and sqeek as we called it. They meals were brought to the school in what I think were iron or steel containers with handles at either side - this was supposed to keep everything warm but that wasn't always the case. Little bottles of milk with cream at the top and a straw were my favourite which were brought round to your desk by milk monitors. :laugh5:

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 21 Jan 2013, 05:52

I remembered something more about school dinners yesterday. The rush when the dinner ladies occasionally shouted "Seconds!"
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by chinatyke » 30 Oct 2014, 14:16

Confession.

I remember one lunchtime at Colne Grammar when it was liver and onions on the menu. Each table was served with a square aluminium tin containing 12 portions. After everyone had been served there was a lot of gravy left in the tin. It was the thick gravy loaded with bits of liver debris and I decided I'd grab it. A boy named Moorhouse, can't remember his first name now, was sitting opposite me and also had the same idea. The two of us were tugging hard at the rectangular tin when I let go. He got the lot! He stood up dripping with brown gravy and small pieces of liver and cooked ox-blood soaking into his blue school blazer. Everyone else was howling with laughter. His nickname was Marmite, can't remember if that was a consequence of this incident.

Bet he has never forgiven me.

Sorry, Marmite, hope you have forgiven me!

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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 31 Oct 2014, 05:31

I was once given the full treatment of a wait outside the Headmaster's door and six strokes of the cane at Grammar School (The highest form of corporal punishment). My offence? I'd bent a spoon to get into the corner of one of those tins to get the last of the gravy! The sods! I have never forgiven him!
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Cathy » 31 Oct 2014, 09:23

I only remember the half frozen milk at Rainhall Rd School, but I wouldn't mind betting that the food we were served at the Children's Home (Oz) was based on school dinners. Ah! the memories of mashed potatoes with pumpkin mixed thru, or was it turnip, or was it... could never eat it!! And the lunch sandwiches which we all had to line-up for, wrapped in greaseproof paper (green I think).
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 01 Nov 2014, 05:35

Ah, greaseproof paper! I still use it occasionally but it was much more common when I was a lad before we had lunch boxes. My mother used to make me a sandwich and wrap it in greaseproof paper when we went out on our extended play-outs at weekend. Someone always got the job of carrying the large screw top bottle of Dandelion and Burdock pop we invariably shared.
On the subject of chasing gravy.... I once got into trouble when having lunch with a bunch of psychiatrists at a conference in California. I mopped up the steak gravy from my plate with a piece of bread and noticed that everyone was watching me aghast! It turned out that in their experience this was a clear signal that I was greedy and anally retentive! I told them no, it was just that I had been brought up during strict food rationing....
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Moh » 01 Nov 2014, 12:55

I love Dandelion & Burdock pop.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by PanBiker » 01 Nov 2014, 13:16

So do I and Sarsaparilla.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 02 Nov 2014, 04:53

There used to be a herbalist's in Prince's Street in Stockport and mother used to take us in for a drink of proper D&B or Sarsaparilla. Last time I saw any of the proper stuff was in a herbalist's in Rawtenstall in the late 90s.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Moh » 02 Nov 2014, 13:12

When my daughter lived in Essex they had never heard of Sarsaparilla, she took a bottle back with her to show them - they loved it.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 03 Nov 2014, 04:12

One of the main ingredients in both drinks when made the old-fashioned way was liquorice. Not the Pontefract variety but what we used to call 'Spanish'. This was liquorice concentrate and was like very brittle black stick glass. I think it got its name because it was imported from Spain and I last saw it when I refurbished an old treacle boiler for the bloke who owned Maxylin Giant Flyers at Swan Mill Number Two in Bolton. He used Spanish that was imported in blocks from china. The only ingredients were water, cornflour, Spanish and black treacle. The mixture was boiled in an iron steam jacketed vat with paddles that slowly revolved driven by a large electric motor on top through a bevel gear. These paddles scraped the sides as well and as I was making the lot, motor drive, shaft and paddles I suggested making new paddles out of stainless steel but he wouldn't do it because he said that the iron vat and the cast iron paddles were part of the secret of the taste. They're still going, I bought two the other day and gave one to Elaine on her market stall because I knew she loves liquorice as well....
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Cathy » 03 Nov 2014, 09:10

A lady at work was saying the other day that liqourice is bad for you if you have high blood pressure and are on medication for it. She had six pieces of Liqourice Allsorts recently (after a few years of not having any) and she started shaking and feeling sick.
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Stanley » 04 Nov 2014, 06:34

I get a similar reaction to them Cathy but in my case I'm sure it is the artificial colourings used in the fondant, not the liquorice. Sarsaparilla tablets have the same effect on me. I think I am so detoxed that even small amounts of some relatively innocuous additives affect me. Transfats do it as well....
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Re: School Dinners - Good and Bad Memories ?

Post by Cathy » 09 Nov 2014, 10:14

Do schools still have Water Drinking Fountains? Just thought about it due to health and safety regulations.
I still see a few of them around the place and they now have plastic cups supplied to use.
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