Vintage School Lunch Recipes and Menus (1916-1960)

A Dollop of History

With school fast approaching, if it hasn’t already arrived, I thought it would be fun to have a little look at the history of school lunch in the United States.

I won’t be covering the historical evolution of the school lunch programs or nutritional requirements in detail, at least not right now. This is more of a sampling/selection of recipes and resources I found dated between the years 1916 and 1960. Consider it something of a visual timeline!

There are plenty more where these came from, just click the links to the digitized texts in the Internet Archive. I hope you have as much fun as I did perusing these old recipes!


School Lunch Recipe Timeline

1916: “The Rural School Lunch.”

Cheese Fondue (more common than you’d think)

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 7.49.48 PM1928:“School Lunch Box.” Radio Transcript

Sandwiches Six Ways

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 10.02.43 PMScreen Shot 2020-08-14 at 10.03.06 PM1929: “School Lunch Box.” Radio Transcript.

Scotch Wafers plus Sample…

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