Tuesday, 19 May 2009

LUMPY MASH and other horrid things

Something I just read on Marie's A Year from Oak Cottage sent me off on a reverie - it doesn't take much, I must be getting old! She was talking about good old mince. That's what we call it in England anyway. I think it's ground beef across the Pond. I don't know what it is in Oz. You know what I mean though don't you?

When I was little 'mince' amounted to all the ground up odds and ends of the animal carcass (sorry) that the butcher couldn't sell any other way because they looked too horrid. That would always include bits of bone, fat, gristle and blood vessels and, for all I know, heart, liver and - forgive me - the dangly bits from lower down.

Great vats of the stuff would be gleefully boiled up by school cooks and served up especially to us 5-year-olds who had just started 'proper' school and didn't know any better. Perhaps it might be a cottage pie, in which this grey, evil-looking stuff would hide under a layer of lumpy mashed potato. Or maybe it would be served with a scoop of said mash floating in the greasy grey gravy at the side of your plate. In either case the other side of your plate was usually graced by watery, khaki-coloured cabbage. At the infant school (where we went at age 5) you had to clear your plate of everything that was given you. You couldn't shove it under your plate like Marie did because the eagle eyes of the dinner ladies were watching and I remember poor Glynis still sitting there at hometime with a plate of congealed mince in front of her. I suppose they must have let her out then so she could get the bus but think of the schooling she must have missed!

The difference between me and Glynis was that Mimuther had sent a note to school saying that I was not to be made to eat mince because I didn't like it. Unfortunately, they didn't give me something else instead so I had to survive the afternoon on khaki cabbage and lumpy mash! While Glynis was starving for one reason, I was starving for another, but at least I got pudding (dessert), she never got that far.

Apart from mince, school dinners were generally lovely and I don't recall hating anything so much I couldn't eat it, though with hindsight the meat pie was probably suspect! You could say mince got me into grammar school when I was 11. Poor Glynis only went to Secondary Modern; it'll be all the lessons she missed!



Marie said...

ummm...putting my hand up. I love lumpy mash and khaki cabbage, especially with lots of butter. Yes, I am a sad case . . .

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

That was so funny ***BIG SMILE*** here today. I did read Marie's post about the ground meat but it never occured to me that it was that bad. Thankfully I never had the stuff but my father made us suffer through chicken gizzards, which for some reason he loved and none of us did. We had it at home and had to sit there til it was gone too.

LYN said...


Jan said...

Oh you are funny ,I must have been luckier than you ,our school mince was lovely and I have often wondered how our school cook had made it ,mmm,I passed my 11 plus because my brain cells thrived on our school mince obviously hee hee ..love Jan xx

granny said...

Hi Angie,this is my first visit,I found you through outback.Ill be back when I have more time to read your earlier posts,love your sence of humour!! Thanks for the giggle this morning :0) Granny (from down under)

joolzmac said...

Hi Angie
Thanks for visiting. You caught me on a day when the place was nice and tidy.
Ooh, that mince does sound off! We have mince meat in Oz (you can get beef, lamb, pork or chicken and veal). Years ago, mince used to be used to make an inexpensive meal ($1 or $2 for a family). Now you can get 'heart smart lean mince' and it costs about $20/kg! Of course, the quality is much better - basically you are getting minced steak or chicken breast not rubbish.
I don't envy you having to suffer through those school dinners - Yuck! Does that come under cruelty to children?

I make spaghetti bolognese, shepherd pie, rissoles & hamburgers using mince and they are lovely meals (certainly nothing that is congealed and grey!). Ha ha!

Cheers - Joolz