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Quantock School Cuisine

The Main Meals

Breakfast was probably the best meal of the day; as well as the usual fare such as Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes and Weetabix, there was also toast (for which one had to wait in a separate queue if one wanted that "just cooked" taste) and such delicacies as bacon and sausages. Both of the latter were absolutely fantastic if one got to the dining hall early; getting there late meant that one received the dregs, which more often than not were swimming in a luke-warm greasy fluid. Things were very often worse for those in the junior years who had to queue up for longer - the luke-warm grease was usually stone cold. Delicious.

One of the risks one always ran during breakfast centered around the person who was serving the sugar - if you were unlucky, you sometimes ended up getting a massive lump of sugar dumped right into the centre of your bowl. This was often avoided however if Mr Phil was behind the serving counter, which he was for most of the time in my days at the school, more often that not serving the milk from the large silver pail. In addition to the option of cold milk for a drink, tea was also available, contained in large and very distinctive silver kettles - like those you used to see on the hob at Grandma's.

Lunch was pretty much a mixture of good, bad and indifferent; the best lunch day was probably Thursday, when one had roast beef with all the trimmings, usually accompanied with a fresh yoghurt for dessert. Sunday lunch was poor in comparison, alternating between processed lamb burgers and processed "Bernard Matthews style" rolled turkey. During the mid 1980s, the alternative of peanuts and raisins was also offered; while some may flippantly say that this might have been a cost-cutting exercise, it is more likely due to the fact that the mid-1980s was to see the growth of the vegetarian movement. Many people went along with the fad for the first week, but after a week of nuts and raisins most people actually realised that processed turkey was perhaps not so bad after all.

Other standard luncheon fare included rice and mild curry with large hunks of meat, sweet and sour chicken, the sauce of which was such a distinctive blood-red colour that many likened it to "roadkill", and more modern fare like cheese and tomato mini pizzas. This was usually washed down with a cup of tea or the rather insipid and I would imagine E-number packed orange juice stored in a large pail on a table next to the serving counter.

Meals at High Tea included traditional staples such as Toad-in-the-Hole and the rather curiously nice tasting Shepherd's Pie as well as more adventurous things like breaded lamb cutlets ("Schnitzels") and grill steaks in barbecue sauce; however, there were some classic teatime meals at Quantock that will be fondly remembered by many - Salad day on Wednesday and Eggs and Beans on Saturdays - the stuff of legend. One could choose between the ubiquitous orange squash or tea to drink, and there was usually a range of desserts on offer, which included yoghurts, cakes and distinctive sugar-covered cones made of a light pastry filled with a UHT substitute cream and strawberry jam.

To read a little bit more about some of the delicacies served up by the Quantock School kitchen, have a look at the Classic Dishes page - you will be surprised at how many wonderful gastronomic masterpieces you might have forgotten!

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