Friday, April 6, 2012

Food Friday: School Lunch

Do you have fond memories of school lunches? No, not the ones your mom made and you  brought to school in your plain brown bag or themed lunch box. I'm talking about the ones prepared by the lunch ladies and served to you on plastic-molded trays where every food item had its place.

In elementary school I rarely ate in the cafeteria. My mom prepared my lunches and though today I will admit I was lucky she did that for me, as a young child there was a certain allure to the lunch ladies' school lunch. Now in those days the lunch ladies really cooked the lunch. They didn't microwave foods and they didn't heat up the food sent to them. They cooked the lunch.

When my kids were in public school, the school lunch was quite different. The only fresh food was the salad bar. All other foods were bought prepared and  then heated except for the one day a week that the local pizza chain brought in pizza.

I knew the school lunch had gone down hill when a week before school was to go on summer break, all the food that needed to be used up was brought out. This was a child's idea of a feast since the only things they had in abundance were chocolate muffins, doughnuts, and pastries. Oh you could get something from the salad bar, but really what kid is doing that when it's an all sugar menu?

In honor of the 1940 Census, I thought I would post something found in a 1940s cookbook this week. The American Woman's Cookbook had several printings but for those purchasing it during the World War II years you could get The Victory Binding of the American Women's Cookbook, Wartime Edition. Edited by Ruth Berolzheimer.  This edition included "victory substitutes and economical recipes for delicious wartime meals." Being a Wartime Edition, very fittingly it was dedicated to General Douglas MacArthur.

This cookbook also includes menu suggestions. One set of suggestions involves the school lunch. Why not celebrate the 1940 census in a big way and pack one of these lunches for your children or grandchildren?