Lunches, of the packed variety- a journey back in time

I look at the masterpieces that wifey loving crafts for our kid’s packed lunches and I am amazed. The variety, the emphasis on healthy stuff (and to a lesser degree, what doesn’t get eaten too), is a complete contrast to what I used to get in my packed lunches.

It got me thinking though, this is a list of what I had in my school packed lunch at St Augustines RC JMI between 1982 and 1987:
  • Sainsburys wholemeal bread, margarine and Marmite, cut into 4 triangles with the crusts left on and wrapped in cling-film;
  • packet of crisps (either Smiths Square Crisps, Monster Munch, Farmer Browns or Walkers French Fries);
  • apple;
  • carton of drink- either Um Bongo or 5 A-Live;
  • Club biscuit- either mint, rasin or orange.

If the crisps were the right sort, I used to peel my sandwich open and insert the crisps into them, thus making a Marmite and crisp sandwich. It tasted best with salt & vinegar crisps but worked well with ready salted too. While I’m on the subject, this was in the days before Walkers had the dominance in crisps that they seem to now and it was NORMAL for salt & vinegar to be in a blue packet and cheese and onion to be green. I believe we can trace the decline in Western society this his unholy switch between colours.

We had quite a strict lunchtime routine. The headmistress (Mrs. Smith) came round and checked that everybody had eaten all their packed lunch and nobody was allowed to leave if their packed lunch box was satisfactorily empty. As I got older and more savvy about how things worked, I used to unpick the bottom of my drinks carton when it was empty, stick the crusts from my sandwich into the carton and then fold it up again. That was about the sum total of my rebellion during my time at school. In fact every time I hid my crusts, I had sweaty palms and a feeling of dread in my stomach. Didn’t stop me doing it though.