Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Food for Thought ( School Meals ) 1st course - by Charles Joyce

Charles Joyce invites us to lunch at the City of Coventry Boarding School - 

Each mealtime was preceded by one of the three house captains ( Blount, Dudley, or Mortimer ) by saying grace. These were the usual - 

“ for what we about to receive, 
may the Lord make us truly thankful, 
and what we have just received, Amen."
Grace was sometimes translated to an agricultural theme concerning pigs, a little unkind to domestic staff, I’m sure they did their best with the budget available!

Jim Lovatt, Blount house master taught Music and Divinity, and a man of the cloth. Often liked to say grace in Latin, 

Benedictus Benedicat  per Jesum Christum dominum Nostrum,"
 ( translates to ; Blessed is he and may he bless this food through Jesus Christ our Lord." I only know of the first two words being used.

And wow  betide anybody pulling their chairs away before grace was finished.

The order of food collection was designated by House, Blount, Dudley, Mortimer.   A boy from each table would queue and collect the food in aluminium rectangular containers and taken back to tables to be shared out equally between 8 lads, the practice of undermining the portions of food in the tins, leaving a visual display looking like the White Cliffs of Dover, and the last share may be somewhat short of a full portion. 

Matron sometimes stood guard making sure we were not being overfed, with her cat perched  on her shoulder. When surplus food became available, a mad scramble from serving lads to take any food back to the tables. First and second courses were generally served in this manner.Talking at mealtimes was aloud, but only a designated times given the signals from a bell , rung by the duty house captain for that day,

Lunchtime was attended by staff and their spouses, a long wooden dining room table, and domestic staff would serve the meals. Q. Was it the same food ?

I  recall when only arriving at the school in Jan 63, Mr. Choping ( pranger)  had a problem with the general behaviour of the school in the dining room, and gave everybody 100 lines, which had to be in on a certain time, heads of table collected from each member of his table, What a complete waste of time !

Meal times : Breakfast 8.00 - 8.30 . Lunch 1.00 – 1.30 . Dinner (Tea ) 5.00 - 5.30. Supper , was that before or after prep ? (After Prep Charles (Ed) 9pm?

Terry Walker ( the art teacher ) did produce a staged production of the mealtime  routine  , with the music to William Tell overture, which I thought at the time was funny, with some of the older boys dressed as waiters.

I Think “ Food glorious Food “ has already been discussed, The play Oliver, springs to mind, which Terry produced as well, with pictures. As for music, Shakespeare : an army marches on its stomach, and if music be the food of love, play on.

525 songs about food, I shall leave it up to you, Boiled beef and carrots. Charles Joyce

Ralph Aldhous Sounds about right Charlie. You forgot the bells though (the bells...the bells). One to speak and two for silence.

Mash Potato Love - Chubby Checker - 

1 comment:

  1. As my brief stint as house captain (Mortimer) before being demoted for smoking, (thanks Tank) I do remember saying grace. Then waiting a few seconds before saying "you may be seated" some time you would make everyone stand back up because you had not said the magic words. "Elbows on the table" got you a swift kick to the shins by the table head