A Story and a Recipe

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By Dorothy Johnson

Last week we were at the Village School.  One of my friends reminded me that Mrs. Watts’ name was Delma, not Thelma.  A mistake like that says either a lot about what I thought of her or a lot about my memory or lack thereof.  I would also like to say at this time that during the winter of my eighth grade year, the town finished the new school where it is now on the old baseball field and for the first time, we all were able to go to a school with a real bathroom, running water, central heat and a nice kitchen so we could fix hot lunches if we wanted to do so.  It was like having a new lease on rural education.

It was rather traumatic for me to move to the high school.  I had been sick in the spring when the rest of the eighth graders did their step-up day in Calais so my September beginning was all new to me.  For the first three days, I got sick going up on the bus and had to get a ride home before I even had a class. (Nerves can do a real number on people.)  All of us from the “country” had a lot to get used to.

We actually had Latin classes, a gym teacher and a gym, several classrooms, lockers, stairs and short times to get from one class to the other. Mrs. Lyons was the cook for hot lunch and her kitchen was near the front door facing Washington Street.  The little room across the hall became the cafeteria when I was a junior and we spent our lunch times facing the walls with a shelf for a table.

The Robbinston Ridge students rode the Calais bus from Cleland’s store at Mill Cove to the high school and the bus picked up students along the way.  The bus also picked up Calais students on the Shattuck Road, the Carson Road and the Hardscrabble Road.  Sometimes it was a long trip. The bus drivers at that time were Melvin Greenlaw and later Jimmy Doten.  We bought tickets in the principal’s office and each trip (before and after school) the driver punched our tickets.  When all the trips were used, we went back to the office and bought another ticket.  Lunch tokens were also sold in the principal’s office. No one ate hot lunch without the proper token.  Mrs. Lyons was strict about that.

She was a good cook and almost everything we had in hot lunch was home made. The Calais students went home for lunch and for some who lived on Price Street or Union Street or even South Street, it was a long walk.  That gave everyone a long lunch hour so after having hot lunch, we had time to go down town.  A group of us ate at the Fisherman’s lunch counter on Fridays so we could have a very good hot chicken sandwich.

My sister who graduated from Calais Memorial High School in 1955 gave me some advice on one of her trips home.  “Remember that Daddy is in town on Fridays,” she said, “so behave yourself at least on those days.”  With that advice, we will look at this week’s recipe.

I remember one of the great meals made by Mrs. Lyons was what we called “Red Bunny.”  I thought perhaps this was the same as Welsh Rarebit, but when I found that recipe it had beer in it.  I knew immediately that what we had could not possibly be Welsh Rarebit.  Here is the recipe I found for Red Bunny.

Red Bunny

Ingredients:

A pat of butter • 1 TBSP flour • Pinch of salt

1/2 TSP dry mustard • Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 C milk • One egg well-beaten

1C cheese cut fine

One can tomato soup

Uneeda Biscuits or regular old fashioned crackers

 

Method:

1. Melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour, salt, cayenne pepper.  Mix all together to make paste.

2. Add milk and cheese.  Let melt.

3. Then add the well-beaten egg and one can tomato soup.

4. Serve hot on Uneeda Biscuits or crackers.

Now I am sure Mrs. Lyons did not use this particular recipe, 

but this may come close as a single serving.  

On cold winter days this was a welcome lunch.