Golden salad and savoury potatoes

School dinners… the school dinners of the 50’s when my mother-in-law was head cook at a junior school in Surrey, were very different from the cafeteria style meals children have these days. School dinners of the 50’s have an undeserved bad reputation – I have mother-in-law’s official school cookery book and the recipes all strive to be balanced with plenty of variety, plenty of vegetables to go with the meat, fish, eggs and cheese dishes, a lot of fruit in the desserts as well as the comforting and filling puddings and pastries and custard!

In those days the children would walk to the school, some from farms several miles away. The schools wouldn’t be as well heated and playtimes were just that – were children ran around and played, as they also did at dinner time.

Here is the school dinner cook book recipe for golden salad – for interest I’ve given the quantities!

Golden salad

for 100 servings

  • 6 ¼ lb cheese cut into 1 oz portions
  • 50 eggs, hard-boiled and cut in half
  • 4 lbs carrots, grated
  • 3 lbs apples, chopped coarsely
  • 4 lbs tomatoes cut into 100 portions
  • 10 oranges, medium size, washed and cut into 10 portions (skin left on)
  • 15 boxes mustard and cress
  1. arrange all the ingredients on serving dishes
  2. serve with salad dressing

It sounds very healthy!! I don’t know if anything else was served with it such as slices of bread and butter, but there wouldn’t have been any cold meat as the protein was there with the eggs and cheese. Maybe they would have had the savoury potatoes – it’s suggested they are served with salad meals or baked or steamed fish.

Savoury potatoes

  • 50 lbs potentates, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 4 lbs onions, peeled and sliced thickly (optional
  • 2 lbs cheese or more if available, grated or cut into small pieces
  • 2 lbs margarine or dripping
  • chopped parsley
  1. put potatoes into roasting tins, season
  2. spread with cheese and onions
  3. brush with melted margarine or well-flavoured dripping
  4. start cooking in a hot oven, then turn down as necessary until the potatoes are cooked
  5. sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving

No school and few homes these days would make this with dripping, well-flavoured or not, and probably oil would be substituted for margarine – would these modern ‘twists’ be as tasty? I doubt it! With the amount of exercise children did sixty years ago, walking or biking to most places, playing outside, working on the farms in the rural areas such as where mother-in-law lived, there weren’t as many overweight children. I love the fact that presentation was important – sprinkling with parsley to make it look attractive!

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