Frog spawn pudding, pink custard and over-cooked cabbage – your Falkirk school dinner memories

'School dinner cake' has become the latest lockdown baking trend, with thousands making the vanilla sponge with white icing and sprinkles that was a favourite of dinner ladies.

By David Hepburn
Thursday, 11th March 2021, 10:56 am

It got us thinking about school dinners of yesteryear – the good and the bad – and we wondered what your memories were of sitting down for your daily lunch as a pupil.

Many of you have fond recollections of sitting down for lunch as children, including Alan Gray: “I loved them. It was the best tomato soup I've ever had and I have never tasted any that compares since. Also the spaghetti bolognese was amazing. Best of all though were the chicken vol-au-vents. Yum!”

Anne-Marie Sneddon also looked forward to school dinners: “I remember the mince, chips and coleslaw. I had coleslaw with every meal but that's because I love it. Round sausage that was also arched, in gravy with mashed potatoes. I also remember the hot cubed beetroot. I loved school dinners.”

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We asked you for your memories of school dinners and here they are - the good and the bad.

A variety of puddings brought back postive and negative memories, with Linda Stoddart remembering “the toffee tart to was to die for, with lovely custard”, and both Deanne Fleming and Claire Brown recollecting the “best” caramel shortcake and custard.

Meanwhile, Judith Fawcett’s sweet treat of choice was butterscotch sauce on white ice cream, and Clare Moore enjoyed the rrainbow cake at Sacred Heart Primary

But it wasn’t all full stomachs and empty plates, with Heather Mcewan less than keen: “I hated school dinners. The only thing I ate everyday was salad and yoghurt. But you had to queue for ages even to get that.”

May Shedden Brown also has less happy memories: “I had a school dinner once when I was in P7, in 1968, because my friend was having one when her parents were moving house. I don’t know what the pudding was but it was lumpy white sludge, which I couldn’t even look at, far less eat. Never again.”

Katriona Brown agrees: “When I was at primary school in the 1950s school diners came in containers. The smell I can still remember and it’s not a happy memory.”

Another negative review comes from Jim Barker: “I remember rubbery liver and onions, yellow custard with a half-inch skin on top, and cornflakes on a layer of custard and apple sauce.”

And there was one school pudding that brought back particularly vivid memories for Margaret Dillon: “Frogspawn pudding – my stomach still heaves at the thought over 70-years on.”

Maureen Tarnawski also recalls the much-maligned dish and others like it: “Sago pudding, rice pudding, and tapioca – I can't think about any of them without getting the boak.”

Other plates from hell included Barbara Ward’s “over-cooked cabbage, lumpy gravy and custard”, Evonne Young’s “ice cream scoops of awful mashed potatoes”, and Sandra Trevis’ “horrible mince and macaroni”.

Finally, the most memorable gourmet experience? Sandra Craig and Annette Yuile both agree: “The bright pink custard”.