I taught them to cook vidya4 - Flipbook - Page 28
their families. And sometimes they share unfair things. They get
a ‘Mind your own business’ if they ask for any of my secrets, but
I’m pleased to chat and enjoy their teenage banter.
Mr Lewes is insistent. ‘Lock your room at break times, visit
the staffroom and mix with the other teachers. And come and
join us at the pub on Friday evenings.’
This sounds like a very grown up agreement but the pub down
the road does not fill me with glee. It’s a dismal, 1930s building
designed for smoking, drinking and old men. During opening
hours the Public Bar is filled with a lot of them. I’d rather be
with my jolly friends in the pubs of Hampstead sipping cold lager
and eating crisps.
In the 1970s school cookery rooms around Britain received
instructions to replace all cooking equipment that uses old
imperial measures like pounds, ounces, pints and inches. WE
ARE GOING METRIC.
Out go sturdy metal jugs to measure pints and fluid ounces
and in come plastic ones with metric millilitres.
Out go the heavy weighing scales with metal weights in
pounds and ounces. In comes cheap, plastic scales measuring
grams and kilos. They have a plastic arm that swings round a
dial, and when boys push too hard on the weighing bowl, the arm
snaps off, broken forever.
Our money went metric on February 15th 1971 and how people
moaned that it was a trick to put up prices. The five new pence
coins replaced the shilling, and we use fifty new pence coins instead
of ten shilling notes. Adding up metric money is easy. Changing
my school recipes into grams and litres is a real headache. The
maths is complicated. There are 28.35 grams to the ounce, 453.6
grams to the pound, one pint is 568.2 millilitres, and one inch is
2.54 centimetres. People round numbers up or down and no clear
guidance arrives for swapping from imperial into metric.