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Monday, March 15, 2010

Tuna’d Out

It’s been more decades than I care to admit, but I can still remember carrying my little metal lunch bucket each day and hoping that mama gave me something besides TUNA in my sandwich. Sadly, there was no cafeteria or hot lunches at my tiny school.

The “cloak room” was like a large closet without a door that seemed to draw and store the heat from the clicking radiators in our classroom. Our home-made lunches were also stored there, along with any wet coats, hats, and boots that accompanied us to school. By the time the little hand and the big hand met on the big round clock, the co-mingled smells of lunch box contents and musty mittens overpowered the chalk board dust and assailed our noses. 

I was always starved by 12 o’clock – a condition that encouraged me to consider a peanut butter and homemade jelly sandwich a gastronomical delight.  Sometimes a sliced cheese or bologna sandwich (with too much mayo) was a change of pace.  But, in spite of my tummy in growl mode, I didn’t feel the same about Tuna.   Oh! How the fishy odor of tuna would disappoint my taste buds before I even loosened the latch. The trauma was so great that today, if I catch a whiff of overripe bananas and canned tuna, I am instantly returned to lunch time in that little four-classroom schoolhouse.

If you want to chew on some more school lunch memories  -  click here and tell Faye that I sent you!

29 comments:

ChrisB said...

That brings back so many memories, except that when I was in school I had never tasted tuna, or peanut butter. I now love tuna but am less keen on peanut butter much prefer almond butter!

ChrisB said...

Just thought my lunch today was tuna, salad in pitta bread!

Jake said...

I have never eaten peanut butter in my life, can't stand to be in the same room as it!
Balogna with too much mayo not that's a lunch!

Worst memory of school lunches too warm milk!

Jenni said...

I love tuna salad, tuna noodle casserole, or creamed tuna. Warm tuna sandwich doesn't sound so good, but it would be the banana smell that did me in. Now, bologna is something I cannot eat--not unless it is fried well. I don't do squishy lunch meat. (Just saying that made me throw up a little in my mouth.) My personal worst school lunch memories revolve around the canned turnip greens that were served on a regular basis when we lived in Mississippi and the warm, grey bologna slice served as the meat course at so many schools. Is it just me or does that school bologna smell like b.o.? (Oh gosh, I did it again.)

grammy said...

you made me nauseous just reading that
may I say Yuck!
Hot tuna
We had a cafeteria...Thank Heavens
and great Italian cooks.
You my friend are a good writer.

Coffeypot said...

Thanks for the memories. I remember the cloak-room and the old steam radiators. Standing outside in the cold waiting for the school to open and running around and flipping the ears of the other boys. Hurt like the dickens, but fun anyway.

Janis said...

Seems your not the only one that disliked their warm smelly tuna sandwich. Isn't it funny how a smell can trigger such memories.

Kila said...

I have tuna every day for breakfast, LOL. It keeps me satisfied through the morning.

I think my favorite school lunch sandwiches were apple slices & peanut butter.

Celeste said...

Funny how smells/tastes can last a life time. I was once given a banana to calm me after wounding the bottom of my foot, stepping on a nail. I was crying so hard, I threw up the banana. To this day, I associate bananas with blood and injury -- and I can rarely eat them unless they are green. No such associations with tuna.

Jill said...

I was wrinkling my nose thinking about it! My post is up, I just now found out who was hosting! Thanks to you!

Gattina said...

It's funny that memories come up when you smell something, like you and tuna ! I can understand that you don't like it anymore. I hated milk ! By no means I would swallow a drop and my father could stand on his head ! Now I know why, I am allergic, lol !

joangee said...

Potent smells are good at stirring memories. Thank you for sharing and helping me picture some of your memories. The only thing that was stored in the Junior school classroom was a crate of milk. We each had a gill (third of a pint) of milk daily. This tradition lasted until second year of Grammar school and Government cut-backs. Such fun in Winter as milk was stored outside in the yard. Sometimes it froze!
Makes me realise how little variety there was in foodstuffs throughout my school-days.

Sayre said...

Too bad you didn't have the same kind of lunch box kids have today. They're insulated and you can even put in a little ice pack to keep stuff cool. That would have been perfect for those tuna sandwiches! Ironically, after reading a couple of accounts of tuna lunches (which did not get rave reviews), I was craving tuna for lunch yesterday!

Debs said...

I loathed school cooked lunches, but love tuna with most things.

Jennifer said...

Sounds like an episode of Little House on the Prairie!! My personal favorite lunch memory is pizza...soggy, square pizza that somehow tasted like the most gourmet of delights!! much better than tuna!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

You musta been a rich kid..we could never afford canned tuna...mostly I had bread and butter..I loved sugar sprinkled on it! Thanks for sharing your great old memories:)

Phil Elliott said...

Since we attended the same school and ate out of the same damp musty closet, I remember the very same dread for what might be in the sack that day. I had some dislikes, fersure, but mom did her best in her limited time and fund constraints. And if I hated the cottage cheese and vegex or homemade sandwich spread sandwich, there was always fresh fruit...

foam said...

ugh .. i just lost my taste for tuna i think .. :)
anybody ever get upset tummies from warm cold cuts and warm tuna?
i've had some school lunch traumas too.
all in recent years when i unfortunately forget to bring my lunch and i end up eating the school lunch.

lisaschaos said...

Didn't your mama love you tons? Tuna is just wrong. lol I used to take abc soup in a thermos, or sometimes bologna, but I liked soup days. :)

C said...

I love tuna. I could eat it everyday. The only smell that makes me feel that way is the smell of tomatoes. I seldom eat the stuff. :)

loonyhiker said...

I like tuna but only if it has been refrigerated. Give me PB & J any day! :)

Steve Skinner said...

Boy, you took me way back to grade school! I too detested tuna but it was the main offering every Friday. In those days, PB&J or bologna were the sandwiches of choice.

grace said...

I hate Tuna too!! Nice and sweet post.
yes, we were spanked for being late, it was a HUGE crime and you had to kneel down as you wait forthe school assembly to be over

dawn said...

Your post is enough to give me lunch time nightmares. I never had tuna growing up. We had salmon sandwiches which I didn't mind. We made our own lunches and lunch for Dad by the time we were 10ish which helped. We had egg sandwiches sometimes and I do remember the smell opening the lunch kit. I haven't really thought about those school lunches but the memories don't appeal to my appetite now.

happily retired gal said...

I actually like tuna and used to WISH for it in my lunches as a child. My sandwiches usually consisted of one thin slice of chipped beef or cheese (never both) with a little mustard ... occasionally peanut butter with a touch of jelly. Funny how all the memories come flooding back as I read your post and type a response. My best friend had tuna almost every day and I was sooooo jealous. Every now and then she'd TRADE me for my sandwich and I was in heaven.
Hugs and blessings,

Hayden said...

I only lived four blocks from school so had to run home for lunch. I was so jealous of the kids who stayed!

Wendster said...

... and for me? It was peanut butter and BUTTER. Every day for six years. And I never tired of it, either. Especially when Mom threw in a little baggy of cheetos which I crushed into my sandwich. Peanut butter, butter, and cheetos. If you've never had it before, prepare for elation.

Susie Q said...

I love your shared memories...and they do bring back so many for me. For most of my childhood, we went home for lunch. I loved walking home to a lunch my Dad (when he was off duty from the fire station) or my Grandma (when she was there M-W each week) fixed.
It was a treat when my Mom (who taught at my school) had lunch room duty. Only a handful of kids ate at school (No kitchen, just 2 tables and a teacher who supervised)and I longed for a cute lunchbox. Mom got me one so I could eat with her on those days she had duty. Grace thinks it is a hoot that I LOVED that! She would love to be able to walk home! But they don't have as long to eat these days...and no time for play on the playground either at lunch. Some things lost are sad. : (

Love,
Sue

Intense Guy said...

Your vivid writing brought the scent of my old school lunch box quite clearly to my nose. Such a distinct, rather pungent odor it had - not neccessarily super nice (like a floral perfume) - but not at all objectionable.

Made me flash back to when I was a little kid for a moment... decades ago.