With school fast approaching, if it hasn’t already arrived, I thought it would be fun to have a little look at the history of school lunch in the United States.
I won’t be covering the historical evolution of the school lunch programs or nutritional requirements in detail, at least not right now. This is more of a sampling/selection of recipes and resources I found dated between the years 1916 and 1960. Consider it something of a visual timeline!
There are plenty more where these came from, just click the links to the digitized texts in the Internet Archive. I hope you have as much fun as I did perusing these old recipes!
School Lunch Recipe Timeline
Cheese Fondue (more common than you’d think)
1928: “School Lunch Box.” Radio Transcript
Sandwiches Six Ways
1929: “School Lunch Box.” Radio Transcript.
Scotch Wafers plus Sample Menu
1934: “School Lunches with Recipes to Serve 50 Children.” This one includes three weeks’ worth of menus! This should give you a good idea of what a 30’s-era school lunch would have looked like.
Codfish, Spaghetti, and Tomatoes
1943: “School Lunch Recipes”
Liver and Rice Loaf
1944: Lunch at School. If you’re interested in reading about three types of lunch sponsorships and nutritional requirements as laid out by the War Food Administration, check out this six-page pamphlet.
Turkey Pie and Turkey Noodle Scallop
Date-Peanut Butter Pudding
Baked Scrambled Eggs