School lunches: oh, how we lamented them at the time. But now? Now we realise just how valuable they once were.
Granted going outside to clean the duster; cries of "teigh a chodladh", and gloopy bowls of nature table tadpoles were all highlights – but little makes us pine for the classrooms of yesteryear more than thoughts of lunch-box loveliness.
Yes, having been hit by a generous gale of nostalgia, SHEmazing! brings you the top six things that really make us hungry for a traditional primary school lón… just like mammy used to make them.
Your mam just didn’t get it: you don’t like brown bread; you don’t do cheese, and smokey bacon crisps are not now nor have they ever been for the win.
Fear not! Even if your own lunch-box was looking less than appetising, there was always another child only delira to embrace your hand-me-downs in return for their own unwanted ware.
Everyone’s a winner! Except your unsuspecting “oh but you’ve ALWAYS loved under-ripe pears!” mam – who continues to this day to pile you with your least favourite lunch foods.
2. Penguin Bars
The day was always off to a good start when you found one of these gems snuggled in beside your sambo. Those with self-control saved theirs until big lón; others scoffed theirs during 11am sós.
Understandably, the idea of sharing was never entertained; if nothing else, it would have been far too challenging to try to pry apart the delicious, chocolatey biscuit exterior from the soft, sweet centre.
Almost as good – the gloriously woeful jokes on the back. Qs: How does a penguin make pancakes? A: With its flippers. Golden.
3. Billy Roll
Ah, beautiful Billy Roll. If you strutted onto the playground with a Billy Roll sandwich, you could expect to be on the receiving end of many a jealous stare. You could hardly blame them. Mr Robert Roll was a treat of the highest order.
And even in the days before selfies, those feeling daring might delicately remove Billy’s eyes, nose and mouth, next placing the cold, moist piece of questionably-sourced processed pig on their faces for the ‘larf’. The messers.
4. Milk from a carton
Come rain or shine, you were always greeted at the school’s entrance by piled-high cartons of ice cold milk – all of which came complete with a straw.
You wouldn’t, of course, drink a glass of milk for love nor money at home, but put it in a cardboard box with a plastic drinking tube attached (gently warmed to room temperature too) and you suddenly you couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
Feeling fancy? Strawberry and banana varieties were also on offer on special occasions. And afterwards… oh behold – the pure joy of blowing into the cartons and jumping on them to make a loud bang.
5. Triangle sandwiches
The traditional no nonsense sambo was cut down the middle, wrapped in tin-foil and contained ham, turkey or cheese (no uppity notions here, no siree). But then – lo and behold! – you also had the triangular strain. And for some reason, triangle sandwiches always tasted nicer.
The one downside, however, was that they couldn’t really accommodate a sprinkling of Tayto, which sadly meant no spur-of-the-moment crisp sandwiches.
Popcorn at school was a BIG treat. A Ziplock bag of the homemade kind did very nicely, though the real Holy Grail was a bag of salt-filled, Manhattan goodness.
Taking the runners-up spot was a bag of Monster Munch.
Unfortunately, your classmates were also far more likely to dive their greasy hands into your bag to help themselves. You had to concede lest you be labelled a ‘scab,’ so a good ploy was to furiously stuff as much as possibly into your mouth before your peers had the opportunity to pounce.