School Lunches

Remember your school canteen? In the 60’s and 70’s it probably served  a combination of sticky cream buns, sausage rolls, pies, chips, fizzy drinks and lollies. These kinds of  foods would end up contributing to a national crisis of childhood obesity! School food has now changed dramatically. Gone are the sticky buns, lollies and fizzy drinks we all remember, these days students are offered a variety of healthy foods which are low in fat and sugar.

But back then, for most of us lunch from the canteen was a rare treat. Our mothers usually had the time and inclination to make our lunch every day and not a lot of disposable income to do otherwise. In my case (& no doubt many others) Mondays provided me with the post-weekend no-fresh-bread luxury of buying lunch from the school canteen. The choice consisted of meat pies, pasties, sausage rolls, hot jam donuts and cream buns (literally oozing with dollops of fresh cream).

The canteen was staffed by none other than our mums! There was a roster system whereby mothers were seconded to work in the canteen & serve the little angels for a day every six weeks or so.  It was exciting & comforting to see you own mum behind the canteen hatch!

Lunch Orders

Remember these? In the mornings the teacher would hand out brown paper bags to students lucky enough to have money for a lunch order from the canteen. You wrote what you wanted on the paper bag & put the money inside. Then the designated “lunch monitor” would take the bags to the canteen, so the ladies could make up the orders. . When lunch time arrived, the monitors would be sent off with a wooden crate to collect the lunch orders. You could smell them coming…lots of brown steaming bags, full of sausage rolls, meat pies  & jam donuts!

5 comments to School Lunches

  • Derek

    We had school dinners, every Monday we had to bring 5 shillings to school to pay for our meal at lunch time. Kids whose families could not afford it, got meals for free but most families didn’t want the shame of being seen as poor.
    We got a cooked meal and desert, wonderful things like mashed potato, sausage, baked beans & beetroot. I know, but don’t knock it till you have tried it. Jam and coconut slice was a favorite, you should have seen the rush if there were seconds. There were 2 sittings, it was best to go to the second sitting as there was more chance of a second helping.

  • Sue

    How cruel was it when you were lunch monitor for the week and you weren’t lucky enough to have a lunch order!

  • Malcolm Holt

    “Gone are the sticky buns, lollies and fizzy drinks we all remember…”
    This is probably true for primary schools, but with many (most?) secondary schools having the tuck shop contracted out (and therefore, almost no control over WHAT they are allow to sell), this junk food is most definitely STILL on the menu. 🙁

  • School lunches were the best. I really loved the menus and the radio that announced the school lunch menus for the week.

  • No-one wanted to swap sandwiches with me, nor did they
    want to sit near me – I are Italian brick-sized sandwiches
    which mum made for me most days – even when I protested
    that they smelt – salami, cheese, pickles, etc. Oh, mum
    what about vegemite or jam sandwiches on rindless white
    bread like the other kids have?? Well sandwiches have
    evolved – they’re now called Gourmet!

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