School Lunches of Yesteryear

by Paula Bosse

lunch-ladies_frontier-top-tier_dplMorning prep work: the calm before the storm

by Paula Bosse

Above, Dallas lunch ladies shelling what looks like black-eyed peas for an unidentified school’s midday meal. I can’t say I’ve ever imagined lunchroom employees ever doing something like this. In the 1920s and ’30s, schools used fresh foods when they could, but they were definitely using a lot of canned fruits and vegetables, too. All this effort — and all these women — for peas.

In a quick search for what school lunch menus were like in the late ’20s and early ’30s, here were a few delicacies that would never be found in a school cafeteria these days:

  • Roast veal
  • Sardine sandwiches
  • Creamed onions
  • “Italian hash”
  • Banana and peanut salad
  • Salmon loaf
  • Tongue salad
  • Stuffed dates
  • Prune whip/prune salad/prune pudding



Sources & Notes

Photo from the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.