1980S School Dinners

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badhorsey | 14:53 Tue 14th Sep 2021 | Food & Drink
19 Answers
I went to high school in Croydon from 1981-86, and have many not-at-all fond memories of the school dinners. In particular:

- Cheese & egg flan
- Mystery meat pie with chopped eggs, baked in a huge tray with ultra-dry shortcrust pastry
- Tasteless pasta with faux-bolognese sauce
- Lumpy rice pudding with a spoonful of jam

– and so on.

What I've always wondered was, were these dishes consistent up and down the country, or even across the other parts of Croydon? Was there a government-issued recipe book (and does anyone have a copy)?


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The only decent meal at my school was fish fingers and chips on a Friday. I liked the rice pud with a dollop of jam
I loved treacle tart which was actually golden syrup with cornflakes on the top!
Hated the chocolate custard!
Hated the cowboy hotpot
Loved the mince and tatties
Loved the egg flans too
a foreigner asks: is it called "dinner" everywhere? (It does sound like a substantial meal; we just took sandwiches for lunchtime.)
Badhorsey- Hpw can rice pudding be anything other than lumpy? Those lumps are the rice!

Pink semolina - urrgh!
My secondary schooling started in the early sixties and the school dinners were always lovely.

My two favourite puddings were Manchester tart and sponge cake with icing on top. When the custard was poured over the top, the icing melted. Scrummy!
My dinners at primary school were substantial meals.
I went to Primary school until 1988 and one of my favourite meals was the egg, cheese and bacon flan with chips and beans. I hated the roast dinners with a passion.

At High School I loved the meals as we could just have what we wanted. I was particularly fond of the beef curry and the iced buns - the buns would be fresh out of the oven and they would scrape a load of icing over the top in front of you ... they were just dreamy!
My school days were earlier - 1958-1969, all throughout I loved school meals.

The liver and onions were the best I've ever tasted, never had a sweet tooth so often passed my puddings to a friend.
I ate school dinners for nearly 40 years. My favourites were Spam fritters and caramel tart.
I left school in 1981 ,they disguised parsnips as chips I hated them now I like parsnips!!
Sounds like a challenging plate, margarettom. :-)
Like mamya school dinners were very nice and looked forward to. Late fifties, early sixties. One shilling a day. Five Bob a week. Sometimes I had to stay off school as no money for the dinners. I sometimes got extra mash by asking nicely.
My school dinners cost two old shillings and one penny a week . Meat, two veg. and a pudding plus a bottle of milk.
I was at school from '54 to '66. Dinners were 10d (4p), rising to 1/- (5p) in '64.
I was eating school dinners every school day during the same years as you, Badhorsey, (and several years either side as well), when I was teaching in a Sheffield secondary school. (I got a free lunch every day in return for being on call as the teacher in charge of first aid). My experience was very different from yours, as the food that was served in the school that I taught in was generally delicious (and with a good choice available). My favourite was individual pizzas, with loads and loads of cheese, served on a wholemeal base. They were lovely!

During my own school days, I went home for lunch in the primary years but had school dinners when I went to secondary school. I was dreading them but they introduced me to spicy foods (instead of the bland traditional 'meat and two veg' dishes that my mother had always served to me), with the excellent curries being great favourites of mine.
I don't think that there was anything that I didn't like - which is probably why I have always had a weight problem - but my absolute favourite was Gypsy Tart. Bit of a southern mainly Kentish dessert
We had some lovely, nutritious meals at school. I liked most of it, even semolina!
I went to a secondary school in Norbury, just up the road from Croydon from 1982 but we had chips, beans and other food classed as junk now. I had a packed lunch 90% of the time.

In junior school we had semolina with choc flakes, rice pudding with jam, gypsy tart which I loved and cake with jam and coconut on top. The chips were soggy and the oil they cooked them in tasted awful. I can't remember much else about the dinners but they were quite grim.

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