Monday, March 15, 2010

Fun Monday - Why Tuna Fish?

Our hostess this week is Faye from Summit Musings.

Our assignment?

... to share your memories of school lunches. What kind of school did you attend--public, private, parochial, city or country? Did you bring lunch from home or buy in the school cafeteria? Or, did you go home for lunch? What did your lunch look like? Who prepared it? Who did you have lunch with? Was this a happy part of the school day? What did you do during lunch time other than eat your PB & J sandwich?

I went to school back in the day when, by today's standards, our parents were trying to kill us. There were no car seats, no seat belts, no bicycle helmets, no pads except for professional football players and we drank warm milk at lunch time.

I went to Catholic school. Our school had no cafeteria and no gymnasium. We had no lockers and there was no lunchroom. Our lunches lived, in brown paper bags, under our desks until lunchtime, At lunchtime, we put our school materials inside our desk, took out our place mats, said grace, and ate lunch. There was milk available for $.10 but it had been sitting out in the breezeway since the milkman delivered it early in the morning. Most of us chose to just have water after lunch from the drinking fountain.

My mother made my lunch. Even after she started working nights, she still made our lunches. My dad always got lunch meat and cheese and us kids got peanut butter with homemade boysenberry jelly or jam. I so wanted store-bought Welch's grape jelly. I never got it. Mom also included a couple of homemade chocolate chip or peanut butter or oatmeal cookies which I always tried to trade for Oreos, This even though we were not allowed to trade food or even talk to each other during lunch. There was also a piece of fruit.

This menu only varied on Friday. Friday fasting was not contained to Lent when I was growing up but was an every Friday occurrence. On Friday, the peanut butter sandwich was exchanged for tuna fish. Yep, tuna fish that had been sitting in a bag on the floor in the classroom for 4 hours. It was warm and soggy and smelled nasty and everyone had the same thing. On rainy days, you could add the smell of wet wool sweaters for a truly memorable olfactory experience.
It wasn't until I was a grownup that I wondered why I could not have just had peanut butter - it's not meat, you know. Oh, well.

My grandson is in Catholic school now. His school not only has a cafeteria, it has some of the best cooks in town. They pride themselves on never repeating a menu during the month. Parents and grandparents alike stop in to have lunch with the kiddoes. Sometimes progress is a great thing.


Celeste said...

I forgot about tuna fish! As a fellow brown bagger, I lived much of my life with PB, but I LOVED tuna fish. Yeah, by the time lunch rolled around it was probably teaming with bad things, but I loved the soggy bread.

Swampy said...

How did we ever survive? By today's standards, our parents would have been cuffed and stuffed for what we did...or didn't do !
My mom's tuna fish sandwiches were the bomb ! Lots of mayonaise, sweet pickles, tiny pieces of onion, and chopped apples...slathered between two pieces of soft, fresh "white" bread.

Sayre said...

I loved tuna sandwiches, but they were a true rarity for me. Tuna was saved for dinner. With all those kids, we ate a lot of tuna casseroles and tuna on toast.

I'm kind of thinking tuna for lunch now...

Faye said...

Oh lordy, another little eater who just wanted what everyone else had in her lunch sack--none of those odd "homemade" things that would set you apart.

No talking at lunch? Didn't you almost bust a gasket? School lunches have come a long way--the choices are great and the cafeterias a lot more cheerful than sitting at your desk. I think it's nice for you to have lunch with your grands. My friend Ann does that. Only she pretends to eat and then we go out to lunch

Janis said...

I forgot about the tuna fish soggy sandwiches...and yes your right about the milk sitting out in the hall hours before lunch..nothing like drinking milk thats about to go bad! Glad things are better for our grand kids.

Pamela said...

OH MY... we both wrote about tuna and smelly wet clothes. bwaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha.
Like I said... we are sisters.

I just gotta come visit you... or you me!

I went to a parochial school, too. The milk sat in the janitors closet which was next to the girls bathroom

But, we DID get to talk during lunch. And we weren't catholic so we didn't have to have fish on Friday --

Jill said...

My husband and I BOTH laughed at this. Why tuna fish indeed? I hated the smell of the lunchroom cafe during Lent. I often wanted to glare at the Catholics for foisting this useless notion on the rest of us good Christians who still ate meat on Fridays. Ugh. I didn't though, I often just held my breath and ate my... peanut butter. Yeah..
Please feel free to come and visit, I just got my post up, as I hadn't found out until late who was hosting!

loonyhiker said...

Hmm, I planned on having tuna for lunch today but now I'm not sure. Ewww, the smell that must have been!

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