Not a salad in sight
Thinking back on my school days brought to my mind memories of the school meals we used to get. Of the savoury dishes I remember hot pots and sausages, fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. But mostly I remember the sweets; spotted dick, chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce, treacle sponge, jelly and custard and rice puddings. Not a salad in sight, but there were plenty of vegetables, either mashed roast or boiled. Sometimes you were called up for seconds, if your table was lucky. Those smells were fantastic and for many of the kids that had school meals, that was there only hot meal of the day.
The arrival of the ‘pig men’
In those days nothing was wasted and so once a week, usually after the school had closed for the day, a truck would turn up from the local pig farms and collect the waste food. Having been left in the sun for days on end it used to smell bad. When I was in the infants’ school, and the wind was in the wrong direction, I innocently asked my Mum where that awful smell was coming from over at the school. “Yes”, she said, “it is very bad today, but the pig men will be arriving tonight so it won’t be so bad by tomorrow”. For a six year old boy the thought of what these pig men might have looked like gave me many a sleepless night.
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Jockeying in the lunch queue
The juniors used the bottom half of the canteen and the seniors came down from the secondary school to the top half. There always seemed to be so many and it was hilarious to watch them jockeying to get to the front of the queue without the accompanying teachers spotting them. Elbows and the occasional trip were all called into play as the line sped up to a gentle gallop by the time it was twenty yards from the canteen gate.
School meals today?
The pushing and shoving continued until the teachers managed to catch up and slap the backs of a few heads. Once order had been restored, the seniors trooped in for their lunch, with some gently administering to the occasional blackened/elbowed eye or staunching a bloody nose. What a testament to how good the school meals were. How many kids would run to get a school meal today?