Saturday, February 8, 2014
School Cafeteria Lunch and a Puzzler
Even though I mostly remember bringing my lunch, there definitely were days when I had to eat in the cafeteria. This was a much more fraught kind of lunch, as we were at the complete mercy of the cafeteria, with no choices about what we ate or how much. Of course the ever-present garbage-can-guard nun was there to scrutinize the tray before you slapped it upside down against the edge of the can and to send you back if you had left food uneaten.
Drawing 1801 is of nice Miss Cookie, our main cafeteria lady, wearing her hair net. She and all the other ladies always wore nets over their permed hair and white aprons over their dresses. Her main serving utensil was a large scoop (drawing 1804) with which every manner of food was dispatched in tennis ball- sized scoops. Down at the bottom on the left is my friend, the garbage can; toward the middle is a white milk carton (no chocolate on regular days, only with donuts on First Fridays).
Drawing 1806 is of one of those tiny cardboard tubs of ice cream and its flat wooden paddle. The tub held about two mouthfuls of ice cream. You pried the flat lid up by pulling on a little tab. Occasionally there were no wooden spoons, and we then bent the circular lid in half and used it to scoop the ice cream out. Ice cream came in chocolate (the best), vanilla (okay) , and the dreaded strawberry/pink, which I really disliked. Ice cream was a random treat. Once someone came into our classroom at the end of the day and doled out a carton to each of us for being good or something. It was served as lunch dessert on special pre-holidays, the last day of school before Thanksgiving, for example.
Lunch was served in divided rectangular tray-plates, a stack of which you can see at the top, still damp and hot from the dish machine. Beneath the stack is a fully-loaded lunch tray. See if you can guess what's in each compartment. The answers will be written in code at the bottom of this post.
Drawings 1809 and 1810 show the difference in viscosity between real pudding on the left (with its intriguing and delicious skin on top) and the thin, watery, fake (and probably instant) pudding that was served at school.
answer to puzzler (clockwise from top left of tray): daerb dna rettub, etalocohc dna allinav gniddup,
llabtaem dna der yvarg no ecir, gnilc hcaep