Start With Research
I’ve been researching one-room school lunches for a long time. I’ve collected information from parent and teacher magazines. (I’m also very distraught that there is a thesis from the 1910s I can’t lay my hands on.) I’ve also collected government publications talking about what you should have for school lunch.
What People Really Took
One of my on-going projects has been a survey on what people actually ate. I’ve been collecting surveys for what people remember taking. So far I’ve got 468 responses with answers coming from everywhere between Canada to Louisiana. Answers on what they took ranged from hoe cakes to ketchup sandwiches to a hot dog kept warm in a Thermos with string tied around the natural casing knot to pull it out.
I was surprised about how school lunch, or at least providing a hot school lunch, turned out to be a pretty political topic as it was an excuse given as one of the reasons to close one-room schools. Many creative efforts were made to fill the gap (until the Thermos made it unnecessary).
I also found out that where you ate lunch turned out to be a problem, if you ate on your desk how did you get it or keep it clean? Plus, were students made to wash their hands? It’s lead me down a lot of interesting questions besides food.
I’ve put together a presentation what I’ve got so far, but I’m still going to be collecting surveys. So if you went or taught in a one-room school or know someone who did, please fill out the survey and spread the word.
Here is my latest update of my Handout 2018 about what I’ve learned so far.
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.