• Tony Frobisher

Breakfast Served


I went to a boarding school in the late 70's and 80's

A school of 500 boys, all of whom had fathers or mothers who were serving or had served in the army. A school with a military charter...that saw us in uniforms for parades, and marching to breakfast and lunch...called to the dining room by the sound of a bugle.

The dreaded bugle call...3 square meals...of indifferent quality, bereft of taste or variety, lacking in colour and appeal, nutrient and sustenance. You ate everything you were given, despite its greasy, lacklustre, unpalatable nature...but were always left hungry...where blancmange was common and olives unheard of...where you could lay concrete slabs with the porridge and the word vegetarian never graced any dictionary of cooking.

My memories are of food without colour or texture, browns mingle with yellows and greys, everything unseasoned, everything stringy, chewy, weak, bland, powdered or reconstituted. My poem...

Breakfast Served

Bugle sounds

Breakfast is served

Marching in file

A uniformed herd

To sit on bench

To await your fate

Will the last greasy fried egg

Land with misfortune upon your plate

To drink tea weakened unbrewed

Milk lumpen powdered not drunk but chewed

Trudge in silence to stand in line

Present yourself for it is time

Eat, scoff and swallow with rapacious speed

So to avoid tastes that assault, not out of schoolboy greed

Feed the stomach but starve the soul

Finished off congealed custard atop Arctic Roll

Vegetarian vegan dietary needs unlearnt

Eat what you're given even if it is burnt

"Endure your meal" was often said

As we dripped in hot grease from stale fried bread

Mealtime done released from the trial

To collect books and bags to class with not a smile

To sit and stare at blackboard and chalk

As the breakfast sits, heavy, restless and ready to talk

#school #food #breakfast

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