I can remember the day my school dinners went from being cooked from fresh in the kitchen to being delivered by a van. I would have been about 10 and I still recall the crushing disappointment that I felt when we went from proper plates, table service (performed by the older kids) and real mashed potato to compartmentalised plastic trays, queuing and instant mash.
Much worse was in store when I moved up to secondary school where the “highlight” was the pizza. This consisted of heavy, gooey squares of warm dough, tomato puree and melted cheese served on a paper towel. Honestly, it was, a blue paper towel, which did a terrible job of soaking up the grease from the horrible cheese. From the limited options, I do remember choosing chicken pie, as it was the thing that most resembled real food. It was pretty grim. If only Jamie Oliver had been campaigning when I was at school.
As you can probably tell Pie Week has given me a great opportunity for a good rant about crummy school dinners in the nineties…as well as a chance to brush up on my pastry by making a simple chicken pie my way!