Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OUR HOT NOON LUNCHES; 1919; Putnam County, Ohio

Seventh grader, Odelia Konst, explains the simplicity of her school lunch program.

We have had hot lunches in our school for over two years. I think it is very good for the children. It helps the children to study their lessons. Many children do not eat much for breakfast and if they do not eat much for breakfast and if they do not get a hot dinner, they will get sick. Some children will not eat their cold lunch at school. The farmers will have warm feed for their chickens, pigs and cows. If the farmer takes good care of the animals, why should he not take good care of his boys and girls? Children should have something warm to eat at school.

In some rural schools there is hardly room enough to serve hot lunches but it does not take as much room as some teachers think. The only room needed is for the stove and cupboard. The parents of school children should help the teacher get the things together. We have had three chief cooks: They are the following: Emma P., Loretta W., and myself. We also have some waiters that bring the food to the pupil's desk. We have many things in our school. We have an oil stove, kitchen cabinet and another small cupboard. Our oil stove has three burners. We like it very well. We have a baker with our oil stove. Our kitchen cabinet is very pretty. The upper part is taken off and we use it as a table. In one drawer we keep the spoons, forks and knives, and in the other part we keep the dishes. We have three dozen dishes, large cups and small spoons, knives and forks. We also have pans, a dish pan, a water pail, a large and a small stew pan. All the things in school are bought with the money we received as premiums at the county fair.
Children of the New Cleveland School

The children take turns about bringing the soup meat. Every child brings a potato for the soup then one of the children brings beans, noodles, or whatever we put in the soup. When the soup is done the chief cook takes it from the fire and divides it into cupfuls for the children. The one who brought the meat divides it among his friends. By this way the children bring more and nicer meat. When we have mashed potatoes one of the children brings the milk. When we have baked potatoes or boiled eggs the number of the child is put on it so that each child gets its own egg back. The parents like it very well. We have no trouble in getting the soup meat. Almost every week we had soup three to four times. We have one hot dish every day. It does not take much time away from our studies to tend to the cooking.

In the morning when we come to school we peel the potatoes and put them in pans till recess. The teacher starts the oil stove and the chief cook puts the soup meat on the fire. At recess we put the potatoes in with the soup meat. At half past eleven we eat our dinner. Then we put some water on the fire so that it will get hot to wash the dishes.

Each child has a napkin which he puts on his desk. Then we take the soup from the fire and put it in cups. Each child gets a cup of soup. When we have mashed potatoes each child gets a place of potatoes with white sauce on them. When we have mashed potatoes each child comes to the table and gets his potatoes. We all go to our desks and eat our dinner. The children have to stay in school for twenty minutes while they eat their dinner. After they are through eating their dinner they have to bring the dishes to the table where they will get washed. Some times there are many dishes to be washed.

Oh, how inexpensive and simple! I wonder what Odelia would think of our present day school lunch program?!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful history lesson on school lunches. Historic life skills lessons taught then...
Also have read about how ink jars were burried in sand that the stove stood in in the middle of the room--with the idea that the ink would then not freeze overnight.

Leslie said...

Hi Laurie,
Odelia was my daughter's boyfriend's great aunt. His family was so excited when I showed them this link. They were asking me if I could find out from you where you found this as there is a family member who collects memorabilia/history about the Konst family. Any information would be helpful. I am making the FW quilt and was thrilled when I came across this blog. I saw the family resemblance instantly. The New Cleveland school is around the corner from their home.
Thank you,
Leslie Wittenberg