Did you lust after a Chopper or crack your knuckles on clackers? Did you cut the roof of your mouth on spangles or fancy the Milky Bar Kid? You did! Me too, excellent; we lived through the heyday of school dinners. Time was when all schools had a cook, each cook had her ice cream scoop and she wasn’t afraid to use it.
Whenever I get together with friends for a meal and several bottles of wine the conversation often becomes nostalgic! If the discussion turns to school days someone always mentions school meals. Top of the list of for us all seems to be the school puddings. Whilst people sometimes had elements of a school meal that they disliked mostly the desire is to be able to recreate these meals we ate as children. Whether we want to eat the food ourselves or cook them for our families varies from person to person. I know many who buy ready meal versions of these dishes but long to be able to cook these simple recipes themselves.
In this book I hope you will find tastes that awaken memories of your days at school. Food is a fantastic way to time travel. Transport yourself back to a time when tank tops were cool and lapels were so wide they could catch on doorframes. Take a few friends with you whilst you are about it. All you really need is a tray of mashed potato and an ice cream scoop and off you go.
My children cannot believe you had to eat liver and bacon at school, and my husband can’t believe I had seconds. I did because that got me front of the queue for puddings, somewhere you will still find me today. I am sure the others in the pudding queue have memories of their favourites, mine being Butterscotch tart.
First courses at school were hearty and filling but it was school puddings that really made us finish our cabbage and sit up straight. Some were real traditional favourites such as Jam Tart whilst others like Chocolate Concrete, were only found in school canteens. Everyone has a foodie guilty pleasure and often this started at school. This cook book may well contain the recipe you seek allowing you once more to indulge your school dinner secret.
As children we had a favourite school dinner and also had some we liked less, but usually with enough custard or gravy most flavours could be masked. Due to overwhelming gluttony on my part I have attempted to revive the nostalgic flavour of the school canteen during the sixties and seventies. Some original recipes I collected over the years, prized from the apron pockets of school cooks. Others I have recreated using my own memories of meals eaten.
All these recipes are, I hope, as you remember them from school but in some cases I have also added a version that allows for the maturing of our palates and the changing ingredients available to us today.
Cooking the recipes from this book will help to fill the kitchens of the nostalgic with glorious smells and the stomachs of their loved ones with custard.