The Rural School Lunch

Nov 7, 2013 by

ruralschoolThe Rural School Lunch by Nellie Wing Farnsworth was originally published in 1916.  What a find! Nellie wrote this as a guidebook for teachers and school administrators during the early 1900’s so that they would be able to make warm school lunches for the students. It has some great basic good recipes too using all natural ingredients. I’ve posted the potato soup recipe below as well as a few paragraphs from the opening of the book:

“On the principle that anything worth doing is worth doing well, it might follow that anything that must be done must be done well. We do not live to eat, but we must eat to live. Study, work, play are all alike destructive of bodily tissue and necessitate repair. Children must have extra food for growth besides repair, and at their age impoverishment is likely to retard both physical and mental development and have irremediable after effects.

Many rural children come from homes in which no attention is given to the characteristics or proper proportions of food elements. If the meals which they have at home are composed of unsuitable food, improperly balanced or injudiciously prepared, it should be one of the functions of the school not only to help the pupil physically and indirectly mentally, but to reach through the child into the home and establish conditions that count so much for the common betterment.

The following conditions are not unusual and form a basal argument for the warm noon lunch and for the inculcation of scientific principles of feeding:
1. Children walk or ride from one to six miles to school and in cold weather the lunch, carried in basket or pail, is often frozen. In this condition it is not very appetizing and it is not much better even if it has thawed out.
2. Little thought or attention is given to the school lunch in many cases. When the pail or basket is opened it is found to contain cold pancakes, salt pork, cold potatoes, pie and bottles of cold tea or coffee. None of these foods is suited to the needs of the child and, as a rule, they all prove unpalatable and indigestible. 3. On the farm, the hearty meal of the day is served at noon; so, during the school months, the children miss the principal meal and are frequently underfed — taking a hasty breakfast, a cold lunch and a light supper.”

POTATO SOUP
4 large potatoes
4 c. milk
4 slices of onion
3 tbsp. butter 2 tbsp. flour
1 to 3 tsp. salt
A few grains of pepper and celery salt

Cut potatoes in small pieces and boil with onion in salted water till very soft, mash through a sieve and save the water in which they were cooked. Rub together butter, flour, salt and pepper, add milk and cook until slightly thick. Add strained potatoes and potato water, cook a few minutes and serve. This amount will serve six persons.

CORN SOUP
1 can corn or 2 c. milk
2 c. corn cut from cob
2 c. boiling water
4 slices of onion
3 tbsp. butter 1 to 3tsp. salt
2 tbsp. flour A
few grains of pepper
Cook fresh corn till tender in the 2 c. of boiling water. Canned corn should be cooked in the boiling water fifteen to twenty minutes. Mash through sieve, having cooked onion with corn. Proceed as for potato soup. This amount will serve six persons.

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