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School packed lunches......

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


DazedConfused Report 12 Feb 2013 16:31

Some have mentioned how good school dinners used to be
I started school in late 1957 or mid 1958 - left secondary school in 1969 our school dinners were vile.

Lumpy mash - sausages where the skin was totally inedible - vegetables which were cooked beyond recognition.

The only meal which no-one tried to avoid was Fridays as it was either cod and chips or Fish FIngers and chips - although the chips were often soggy.

Better school meals in the past - not in my opinion and you were kept at the table until your plate was clean - for me many a rush to the loo afterwards to be violently sick.... Desserts were less hit and miss...


GinN Report 11 Feb 2013 19:44

I remember my grandmother telling me that the fat rendered from horsemeat made the best chips , as she used it during the war. My grandad was quite partial to whalemeat steaks, apparently! :-P


JoyLouise Report 11 Feb 2013 19:16

A grandchild of mine pays £1.50 per day for a school lunch (primary school) and I often wonder whether it's worth it.

The times he comes to me after school I often give him his dinner/tea and it's become difficult to hit the right note with food because, although he has two choices, much of the time the second choice or all that's left is something like a ham sandwich, salad (which he eats but there's only sometimes lettuce and tomato or lettuce and cucumber left). On more than one occasion he's had mince, potato and a bread roll (and this child eats a big variety of vegetables). For dessert he will sometimes choose an apple but they're often gone and he ends up with a yoghurt or, as he calls it, cake (sponge but no custard - he doesn't like custard).

Why can't schools make 'proper' school dinners any longer? We used to get mince and vegies, chicken and roast pork dinners, casserole, vegies and mash, pie, peas and mash, baked fish (never battered or breadcrumbed) with peas/macedonies (is that the right spelling?) and mash followed by custard/white sauce with ginger sponge, chocolate sponge, bakewell tart, rice, sago and tapioca pudding and fruit. We never once got chips at school and every day we got a couple of vegetables.

If a school dinner was a school dinner (even curries and pasta dinners included) with a decent dessert which would include fruit one would know that a salad or sandwich would be enough in the evening. If they could do that years ago what's stopping them now? It would also mean that children who get free school meals were having vegetables every day.

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 11 Feb 2013 18:25

Oh dear StaffyKnot, I do hope that you complained to your local authority, as they can do nothing about second class meals unless they are told. Bad catering companies will lose their contracts if meals are not up to standard.


BarneyKent Report 11 Feb 2013 12:45

Twice a year I have to suffer going to "Grandparent's School Dinner Days" when my wife and I attend school dinners with our granchild. Last week we paid £2.52 each. I had one fishcake, made of (mostly) potato, with a taste of tinned salmon, and breadcrumbed. It was three inches in diameter and half an inch thick. With it I had a spoonful of mixed (tinned) peas and sweetcorn and two scoops of mashed potato. For pudding it was a slice of tart, 3" by 2" and a spoonful of very watery custard. The drink choice was about quarter of a pint of weak orange squash or a beaker of water. It was disgusting and tasted very bland. The cost of the ingredients could have been bought in a supermarket for under £1. The education authority say they subsidise the meals and that there are wages and overheads to consider but I think the meals at this school are very bad value for money, both in quality and quantity. My wife and I went straight home and made ourselves sandwiches.
If I was my daughter I would send the children to school with packed lunches. I dread the next time we have to attend one of these meals.


DazedConfused Report 11 Feb 2013 12:27

During both wars meat was scarce and horsemeat (probablly old nags) was sold openly by butchers. But all who remember will tell you the worst was Whalemeat.

My dad and grandparents regularly talked about the awful meat they ate during the war.

This may be why I and the rest of my family were and are so fond of veggies!


Muffyxx Report 11 Feb 2013 11:44

I have a bowl of carrot and celery sticks in my fridge....i tell the girls..they are absolutely NOT to be picked at they're there for my they disappear..LOLOLOL if i gave them the green light to eat them eldest would not touch them.(youngest would because she'd have fruit/veg over anything else anyhow.)


PollyinBrum Report 11 Feb 2013 11:33

I agree Kay, one of our grandchildren will only eat raw vegetables.


Janet Report 11 Feb 2013 11:32

We had beef every week for our Sunday roast and occasionally when it appeared to be tough my father always said the same thing.....
.......this has pulled many a canal barge. .......

I have omitted the expletives and as I couldn't understand why a cow would pull a barge it took a few years for the penny to drop.-jl


Kathlyn Report 11 Feb 2013 11:30

Multi grain bread used in sandwiches is a good route to take, along with washed carrot and celery cut into fingers. a few cubes of cheese and a some grapes or orange segments make a nice finish to a packed lunch. Sadly, children are not introduced to raw vegetables nowdays, so this could be a none starter.



PollyinBrum Report 11 Feb 2013 10:54

I used to love school dinners but that was a long long time ago. I understand that not all school meals are now cooked on the premises. My son hated his school dinners, so I began giving him packed lunches. We always used to cook together when he was at home, and he is now a superb cook.
My 4 1/2 year old grandson takes packed lunches. I asked him last week what he had eaten at school.
He said
Lemon curd sandwich
Slices of spicy sausage
Sticks of cucumber & Carrots
A banana
One chocolate biscuit
A bit of a strange mix, but he has become a rather picky eater so DIL varies it to give him what likes and knows he will eat.

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 11 Feb 2013 10:21

I think the cost is reasonable as it is a main meal, the packed lunch many children have is equivalent to what they could be given in the evening when they get home.

I also know that some of the so called healthy fromage frais contain a lot of sugar, it is worth checking.

I was actually quite shocked at what some children had in their lunch boxes when I was working at a Pre-school.

There were several that had the same every day:
A jam/chocolate spread sandwich
A packet of crisps
A chocolate biscuit
A small bag of sweets

My award for a sensible packed lunch went to one Mum who always sent her son with:
A small pot of meat/fish
Small slices of bread & butter/crackers or a pot of cooked pasta
A small pot containing raw vegetables... carrot sticks, celery, tomato etc.
A piece of fruit or a fruit salad in a pot.
No 2 days were alike, it was always "What have you got today?"


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 11 Feb 2013 09:44

Its all very well saying 'ban packed lunches' but not all parents could afford the cost if every one of their children had to purchase school ones.

Carol is quoting £2 per day, so that's £10 pw. 2 children at primary school and thats £20 for the parent to find. If you have a fussy eater, at least a home-packed lunch means they have something during the day.

Our local Secondary school is an Academy and having eaten there on at least one occassion produces very good main meals or filling snacks. Their website says that a student can buy a main and a pudding for £2.50. Good value if you can afford it!

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 11 Feb 2013 08:59

If you want to see what lunches are available at schools near you, try looking here, you may get a shock.

Most schools in my area charge £2 a day at Primary & £2.10 at secondary, for this main meal. (Free meals for those children who are eligible)

My Grandson up to this year would check what was on offer for each day & take packed lunch on the days when he did not like anything on offer. Now he has school lunches as he likes the hot & cold salad bar.


DIZZI Report 11 Feb 2013 08:06




Penny Report 11 Feb 2013 06:41

I was, until recently a schoo cook. I can assure you, no horse meat was knowingly served
The cooking got a little boring if I am honest - you had to cook exactly what you were told.

Because the menu as prepared at a central office by a nutritionalist. I can assure you , they were not employed for the sake of it. We provided the right mix of food, inc carbs. which children do need for energy,


LadyScozz Report 11 Feb 2013 01:53

My brother gives cooking lessons.

A friend of his (who works for an company that makes electric frypans, kettles etc) saw a need for teaching "single again" older men.

That was a few years ago. Now the classes are a mixture ~ a few older men (who don't know how to boil water) but mainly young men & women who have left home, and don't know how to cook!

As for packed lunches...... I went to school in Scotland and Australia. I hated "school dinners" in Scotland, most of the time I went home for lunch. In Australian schools there is usually a "canteen", the lunches vary from school to school. I used to take a packed lunch in winter, but in summer the sandwiches were a bit "off" by lunchtime, so I would buy my lunch.

I did "domestic science" at school, but my Mother taught me how to cook!


SylviaInCanada Report 11 Feb 2013 00:39

YES ..................

horse meat was eaten during and after WW2 ......................

it was one of the very few meats that was not rationed.

There used to be special butchers that dealt with horse meat ................ my mother would buy it, and then make a stew out of it. It was very tasty

You did not buy from the ordinary butcher ............. I guess there were regulations ........ and this meant that it was not mixed with beef.

Then there would be the Game and Fish shop ................... where you could buy rabbit, to use in stews or braised.

I think that market died out after the rabbits were given myxomatosis in the late 1950s to kill them all off.

Horse meat is also eaten in Europe ................. in 2006, we were taken to a very high class, expensive restaurant in a small village in Switzerland. Their "signature" dish was kebabs that you cooked yourself over a little stove that was brought to your table.

The options were veggies plus beef, pork, chicken, or horse meat ;;;;;;;;;;;;; and the horse meat was why most people went there.

Again, it was delicious.

The problem that you guys have is that the manufacturers of all those pre-prepared meals were not honest with the ingredients they used.


Muffyxx Report 11 Feb 2013 00:07

I shall most likely be shot down in flames here..but some children just don't DO this phonics eldest didn't......she'd at 12, still be struggling to read to this day if I hadn't ignored the teachers and taught her the way I was taught.

There's very little wriggle room with teaching methods these days...and one size does NOT fit all !

Carol 430181

Carol 430181 Report 10 Feb 2013 22:00

Trouble is some children leave school unable to read so not much chance of them being able to cook.

Carol :-(