This has to be the number one thing everyone remembers from their schooldays, the dreaded school dinner.
My primary school was Barclays in Leyton, and there was a teacher there so old he actually taught my dad and to say he hadn’t mellowed with age would be an understatement. He was as harsh as an arctic winter and he used to walk the canteen floor with ruler in hand examining your plates. I think the Pink Floyd teacher was modelled after him as he used to utter those famous words “If you don’t eat your meat you won’t get any pudding!”
To be honest most dinners weren’t that bad, I used to absolutely love the liver and bacon, the liver used to be as black as can be and hard as nails but I used to love it. The one everyone seemed to hate was the meat pie. I have no idea what meat they used but it was mostly gristle and fat and the technique for hiding it was to hollow your mash scoops out carefully and hide the worst of it inside. The disgusting mixed veg just had to be swallowed as quick as you could before your taste buds had a chance to respond.
The other dinner I didn’t mind was the much maligned spam fritter. As long as the batter was crispy which it mostly was I found it pretty good and didn’t need the Vikings to extoll spams virtues to entice me to eat it.
After the mains there was of course the pudding or what we referred to as afters. The most famous of these was the much feared tapioca pudding or renamed frog spawn. I must confess with a splodge of jam in the centre and after mixing it up so it turned pink I found it quite pleasant. I can’t think of a sweet I didn’t like aside from the prunes but I can tell you one of my favourites was blancmange. The texture I seem to remember was almost mousse like and i’m pretty sure you got a dollop of cream with it. Very nice indeed.
If I’ve forgotten your favourite or most hated dish or you just want to leave a comment please do I’d love to hear your memories of school dinners in the 70s.