Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around?

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KimChee43
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2003/10/07 13:48:36 (permalink)

Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around?

Dear Friends:

So many of us have fond memories of home-cooked, made-on-the-premises school cafeteria food when we were growing up. Some of it was great; some of it, not so great...but it was always cooked by the dedicated "lunch ladies" in the school kitchen, most of them known to us by name.

Nowadays, school lunches aren't made on the premises, at least in my area. The "food" is usually frozen pre-made stuff (origin unknown) that's warmed up at the school and served to the kids. Every so often we'll read stories of teachers and children stricken by salmonella poisoning because of unsanitary conditions at the plant where the food was prepared. The menus never vary either; there's no "creativity"...just tacos, pizza, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, etc.

MY QUESTION IS...are there any schools left out there (I guess I'm thinking public schools here) that still have "lunch ladies" that prepare the food on site and serve it up with love to your kids or grandkids? If so, would you mind sharing a sample menu with us? Thanks!

KimChee43
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10 Replies Related Threads

    i95
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/07 14:23:45 (permalink)
    I know for a fact that, indeed, hair-netted lunch ladies are still making meals from scratch in at least some places of this great land as I am the proud nephew of just one of those proud souls toiling without fanfare in a public vocational school outside of Boston.

    Lunch ladies, hooray !!
    #2
    KimChee43
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/07 14:41:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    I know for a fact that, indeed, hair-netted lunch ladies are still making meals from scratch in at least some places of this great land as I am the proud nephew of just one of those proud souls toiling without fanfare in a public vocational school outside of Boston.

    Lunch ladies, hooray !!



    I95: What great news! Do you think that you could get a "weekly lunch menu" or something like that from your aunt? Better yet, how about some recipes? Thanks.
    #3
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/07 14:46:44 (permalink)
    Just last evening I was talking with my 15 year old grandson about school lunches. He thought it fascinating that the first time I ever heard of school lunches was when I reached junior high school.

    I bought food at that school just one time. It was so bad, I never tried it again. When I got to high school I visited the cafeteria the first day, looked at what they were serving, and never entered the place again.
    #4
    i95
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/07 14:59:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by KimChee43

    quote:
    Originally posted by i95

    I know for a fact that, indeed, hair-netted lunch ladies are still making meals from scratch in at least some places of this great land as I am the proud nephew of just one of those proud souls toiling without fanfare in a public vocational school outside of Boston.

    Lunch ladies, hooray !!



    I95: What great news! Do you think that you could get a "weekly lunch menu" or something like that from your aunt? Better yet, how about some recipes? Thanks.


    I'll call and ask her tonight. I bet that the week's menus are web-accessible but stand-by.
    #5
    kdiammond
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/07 15:54:32 (permalink)
    There were Lunch Ladies (and Gents) all through growing up in the 60's and 70's. I remember learning to cook in self defense when at school I had tuna noodle cassarole and my Mom made Tuna Helper on the same day. The school lunch beat Tuna Helper hands down! I got the receipe from a Lunch Lady named Junie (sorry do not know her last name). Here with minor changes is a great tuna noodle cassarole:
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 lb mushrooms sliced
    2 tablespoons flour (Wondra sauce flour works best!)
    2 cups milk
    1 bag wide egg noodles
    2 cans tuna (I prefer albacore but any good tuna works)
    1 box frozen peas
    pepper and salt

    Melt 1 tablespoons butter, saute mushrooms and set aside with juices.
    Melt 2 tablespoons butter, add flour and cook till light golden.
    Add milk stir till you have a smooth sauce.
    Boil water for noodles and cook per package directions.
    Add to the sauce the frozen peas and cook till defrosted.
    Add mushrooms to sauce and then the tuna in large flakes.
    Mix with cooked noodles.


    #6
    KimChee43
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/07 17:01:41 (permalink)
    KDIAMMOND: Many thanks for posting that tuna noodle casserole recipe! I posted a recipe for "Salisbury Steak" on another thread someplace--I'll try to post it again on this thread. It was contributed to an old church cookbook by a former "lunch lady"; the recipe dates from the early '60s.

    Here's a recipe for "WIENER WINKS", though...

    Take a piece of cheap white bread and place a "Kraft Single" on it. Now, take a cheap hot dog and place it on the bread/cheese diagonally. Bring up the two corners of the bread and secure with a toothpick. The hot dog is supposed to "peek out" (wink?) at both ends of the bread. (I am not very erudite, as most of you know.) Bake in a 350F oven until the cheese is melted and the hot dog is heated through. I'm not sure if the bread was supposed to be buttered on one side--if memory serves me, it was buttered, but I can't remember which side!!! (Another sleepless night in store for me, but it's been over 30 years.)

    Come to think of it...who thought up the name, "Wiener Wink"? I can't help but think that the name had a sexual connotation amongst the adult staff and was an inside joke. No wonder the most crotchity teacher (no pun intended) seemed more mellow on "Wiener Wink Day". Or maybe I have a warped imagination.
    #7
    KimChee43
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/07 17:03:22 (permalink)
    I hope that my previous post regarding "Wiener Winks" was not too risque...if so, sorry.
    #8
    i95
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/20 07:55:00 (permalink)
    I haven't forgotten re. following-up on this. I will get a hold of my lunch lady "source" tonight and try to fulfill my contribution to this thread tomorrow.

    LUNCH LADIES UNITE !!!
    #9
    RockyB
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/20 12:25:51 (permalink)
    The Wonderful Lunch Ladies. Yes, I know for certain that in Candor, New York, the school cafeteria there is still staffed with lunch ladies turining out some great grilled cheese sandiwches, and turkey/gravy/potatoes lunches. The school I grew up in Union-Endicott still makes it's own lunches. Now the school my sto-son attends which is in Hazleton, PA, they actually contract out to a food service, and he often complains that the food he gets is half frozen.
    #10
    Liketoeat
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    RE: Lunch Ladies...Long Gone or Still Around? 2003/10/21 00:37:29 (permalink)
    Back in my school days Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Bagwell, Miss Gertrude, and Miss Wanda did a great job of getting us kids fed for a quarter a meal, given what they had to work with. They did it from scratch and with very limited government help back then, unlike today. Though there was some griping, think the majority of us enjoyed most of the meals and appreciated their efforts.
    #11
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