This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking. If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.
I grew up in the 1960s and attended Catholic school, so of course I couldn't resist when I was offered an opportunity from TLC Book Tours to review Kevin Killeen's novel Never Hug a Nun, about a young boy from an Irish-Catholic family set in 1966.
The scenes set in his Catholic elementary school made me chuckle with recognition, and this paragraph from the school cafeteria brought me right back to my old school days in the basement cafeteria:
"At the bottom of the second flight of steps, the lock-step line broke as the commotion of the cafeteria and the smell of institutional food overtook them. Those who had money got in line by the steam trays. They glided their plastic trays- still warm from the dishwasher- along the steel rails, looking through the stained glass at the hot food and the Mothers' Club volunteers. The volunteers served up fish rectangles, factory hamburgers made off site, super salty chicken noodle soup or, on Wednesday only, pepperoni pizza slices. Buying lunch was expensive. A good lunch cost nearly forty-five cents, or sixty cents if you wanted to throw in cheese popcorn, a pretzel stick or an Eskimo pie. Patrick and the others who brought bag lunches got in the milk line. He paid Mrs. Heimlich, the heavy-set cafeteria lady, four pennies for a carton of milk. Mrs. Heimlich shook her head as the pennies she would later have to count and take to the bank piled up."As soon as I read about the "plastic trays still warm from the dishwasher", I could feel the warmth of the tray in my hand. I was in the third grade all over again, in my plaid school jumper with a yellow Peter Pan collared blouse. What's too funny is that my sons attended the same Catholic school I did, and except for the price of the lunch, that paragraph could fit their experience as well.
I'm enjoying this sweet and funny book, and the cover is just too darn cute. (And I'm pretty sure the jacket the young boy is wearing is the same one my mother-in-law gave my younger son when he was in pre-school.)
|I swear my son had this same jacket in pre-school|
This is the second book about growing up Catholic that I have read recently, the first one being Joan Cusack Handler's more serious memoir Confessions of Joan the Tall about growing up in a 1950s Irish Catholic family. My review of that book is here, and you can enter to win a copy of the book in the comments section.
I grew up in a heavily Catholic community and as I was reading both books, all I could think was how appropriate these books would be as Christmas books for so many people I know. My review of Kevin's book will be posted on December 10th.
I'd love to hear any school lunch memories you have in the comments section below.