1950’s school dinners

My dear mother-in-law was in charge of a school kitchen in Surrey, and I have inherited her School Meals Service Recipe Book; her edition was the 1966 one, but it was originally published in 1956. I didn’t realise but school meals date right back to the nineteenth century; however it was only the implementation of the 1944  Education Act that school meals had legal nutritional requirements, and was  compulsory for local authorities. Unbelievably there was a huge backwards step, a backwards leap in 1980, when another education act which abolished the minimum nutritional standards for school meals, and took away the statutory obligation to provide meals other than to children of families who were eligible for free school meals.

So what meals were  provided for Surrey children from 1956 to 1980? Well in this recipe book there are some surprises; it’s not all spam and liver and boiled potatoes and suet puddings. here’s just a selection:

  • hamburgers
  • Spanish meatballs
  • salad including watercress, mustard and cress, parsley, mint, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber and celery
  • jacket potatoes, sauté potatoes
  • three different winter salads, including dates, apples and dried fruit
  • doughnuts and yeasted buns
  • homemade horseradish sauce
  • veal stuffing
  • beef olives
  • curried steak
  • fricassée of veal
  • navarin of mutton
  • goulash

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