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School Cafeteria Food--The Good, the Bad, and the Inedible

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Someone suggested this topic in the Pizza thread, but no one has started a thread, so I'll go ahead. Reminisce about your favorite and least favorite foods your school cafeteria served.

My own school day favorite was the macaroni and cheese which we got on some Fridays. It wasn't a Catholic school, but there was the occasional kid who still kept meatless Fridays, so that was when we got M&C. Ravioli was also pretty good, although it was overcooked. They served sloppy joes for the first time when I was a senior, accompanied by apple or blueberry pie, and they were a big hit. I wonder why no one thought of serving them before. Desserts were decent--it's hard to mess up dessert--but the best was a really large chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and coconut.

Most of the other foods were "meh" but the only truly horrible one was a baloney sandwich that I think gave me food poisoning.

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We hardly ever ate cafeteria food; we brought lunches to school.  There must have been a cafeteria at my elementary school for those who didn't (I remember the auditorium, with the stage at one end, and I think there might have been a mini-cafeteria at the other end), but all my memories are of eating outside, everyone with their lunch boxes, and sometimes sharing/trading food based on what our parents had made us.  When it rained (which wasn't often; this was Los Angeles), we ate in our classrooms, and I don't remember anyone having to run out and get food to bring back.  So I really don't think the cafeteria got much use.

In junior high/high school, I know we had a cafeteria, but - although the lunch boxes had been placed by lunch bags - most people still brought their lunch.  The cafeteria was down the hill from all the patios with lunch tables, and I do remember walking down on the occasional Friday to get a slice of pepperoni pizza instead of bringing a lunch.  Which makes no sense, because the pizza was terrible!  I don't think I ever ate anything else from there, other than maybe stealing some of my friends' fries, so I have no other specific memories of what was an offer, but I think it was the kind of menu that gives school cafeterias their bad name.  We had a food truck for our "nutrition" break in the morning, and sometimes I'd get a bagel from that.

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The lower elementary served spinach with the life boiled out of it and drenched in vinegar. It was gross.

I started taking my lunch in third grade. Mom said I could as long as I made it.

In junior high, the cafeteria served something called a crusty beefeater on Fridays. I am pretty sure it was leftover pizza slices put together with the crust on the outside. The students called them barfy beefeaters. They were also gross.

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I don't remember anything special about junior high or high school lunches, because I think by that time the schools had a 'hamburger and fries' line that was an option from the regular school lunch line.  Or I brought my lunch.  However, I do remember some good meals (really!) in elementary school, which would have been in the late '60s.  Most days were just 'meh' (fish sticks, anybody?) but they had good spaghetti.  I think it was because they mixed up the pasta and sauce and served it that way, which was different than how I had it at home (pasta on the plate and you spooned sauce on top).  It just tasted good to me.  They also had really, really good pizza.  It was deep dish baked in huge pans so they could cut it into squares.  It was probably simple crust, browned ground beef, pizza sauce and cheese, but I loved every caloric, greasy bite!  I also remember that the sheet cake they would serve was good.  Again, it was probably nothing special, but it was good dense cake (possibly a simple recipe from scratch, not a mix) and they frosted it with a icing that was definitely not from a can (and I remember that it was sometimes yellow, sometimes pink when it wasn't chocolate).  One last memory:  Right before we got out for the Christmas break, we would have novelty ice cream on a stick for a dessert for one or two days. It would be shaped like a bell, or a Christmas tree and would be ice cream in different colors (green for the tree with red sprinkles, for example).  I don't know if those favorites of mine were really good or just good to me, but I remember them fondly.  The only 'bad' memory I have is that the milk (in those little pint containers--white or chocolate) never seemed to be cold enough.  If I have to drink milk, it has to be ice cold.

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I never ate cafeteria food until college. My Mom was, how should I say it, "thrifty". So I took my lunch to school from elementary through graduation. When I was in 4th grade, they built a new elementary school that was close enough to my house I could walk home for lunch. This was late 50s early 60s - can you imagine a school these days allowing a 4th grader walk home alone for lunch?

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I usually brought my lunch because it was so much better.

In elementey school we didn't have a cafeteria,  there were food carts that would go to each classroom pod to serve whatever the dish of the day was and sell milk and then we would eat at our desk, sometimes if it was sunny (this was Seattle so it was rare) we could eat outside. Students were in charge of selling the milk, it rotated through every student. For reasons I don't remember my second grade class had the same lunchtime as the 6th graders so would have to go to their area. My sister was in sixth radeand she and her friends would talk my money and taunt me for a few minutes before giving me my milk, I am still tramatuzied!

We had a cafeteria in junior high and high school and by high school we could leave campus so it was a ton of fast food! 

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can you imagine a school these days allowing a 4th grader walk home alone for lunch?

I did it everyday from the age of 5.   Students who lived within walking distance weren't allowed to stay for lunch.  

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1 hour ago, chessiegal said:

I never ate cafeteria food until college. My Mom was, how should I say it, "thrifty". So I took my lunch to school from elementary through graduation. When I was in 4th grade, they built a new elementary school that was close enough to my house I could walk home for lunch. This was late 50s early 60s - can you imagine a school these days allowing a 4th grader walk home alone for lunch?

At my son's elementary school now, they don't even get to leave unsupervised after school. The walkers leave with staff members until after crossing the street (which is a busy highway, so it's probably wise), and the others wait in either the gym or cafeteria until someone with the right placard comes to get them. Car riders are called out as their parents' cars come up and someone helps them in their cars. Others are released as a parent/guardian/approved picker-upper walks up to the correct door. You have to let the school know who is allowed to pick a child up, and the picker-upper has to have the placard with the child's last name on it.

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We weren't allowed to leave school for lunch in high school, although I did pretty much every day. I wasn't a big eater in high school either. My lunch consisted of a Whatchamacallit and gatorade. We did have a taco bell line and when I stuck around school I always got some nasty taco bell thing called a Chillito. I thought it was good back then. No way in hell I'd touch that now. In high school we also got to have real triangle pizza instead of the rectangle pizza from elementary and middle school. 

My kids now don't even have  a cafeteria. They attend a new school (four years old) and they are in a temporary location until they get a new facility built which should be completed in two years. I make their lunch everyday. You do have the option of buying what they call a "boxed lunch" and I believe it is a catered lunch from a local place. They eat lunch in their classrooms and have a strict no peanut policy. I have learned to expand their lunch menu to include several options but sometimes I get in a rut of what to pack for them that is different and not just a sandwich everyday. This is our first year attending this school after going through grades K and 1 at a different school that did have a cafeteria. Lunch was $2.10 a day and I felt I could make lunch cheaper than that so I would let my son buy lunch on Fridays only.

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I never ate lunch in the school cafeteria.  I either went home (1st & 2nd grade plus all of high school) or brought my lunch from home.  In middle school I got to buy my lunch once in awhile, but I always bought the ice cream treats they sold instead of anything actually offered as lunch. 

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16 hours ago, auntlada said:

At my son's elementary school now, they don't even get to leave unsupervised after school. The walkers leave with staff members until after crossing the street (which is a busy highway, so it's probably wise), and the others wait in either the gym or cafeteria until someone with the right placard comes to get them. Car riders are called out as their parents' cars come up and someone helps them in their cars. Others are released as a parent/guardian/approved picker-upper walks up to the correct door. You have to let the school know who is allowed to pick a child up, and the picker-upper has to have the placard with the child's last name on it.

Interesting.  In my (very safe) neighborhood, the school bus stops at nearly every house, but there's one bus stop where there are a ton of kids within 4 houses of the stop.  The parents are all in cars with their kids waiting for the bus because I guess they can't take turns watching the kids or watch them from their windows a couple of houses down.  Meanwhile, I pass an elementary school on my way to work in the same town and you would think it was the sixties with all the kids walking or riding their bikes to school with no parents around, just crossing guards.  I guess it all depends on the parents, the school and the neighborhood.  Topic: my high school cafeteria had the best sugar cookies, I've never had a better or even close to equivalent one to this day, and that's a hell of a lot of days.

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The rolls.  Pure heaven.  I'd pick off the top and eat the insides and the buttery bottom. 

 

21 hours ago, BooksRule said:

The only 'bad' memory I have is that the milk (in those little pint containers--white or chocolate) never seemed to be cold enough.  If I have to drink milk, it has to be ice cold.

That's why I keep a glass in the refrigerator--for milk.  It's also why I love those milk machines like in my college dorm had where you pull up on the silver ball thing and milk comes out a spout.  It's always ice cold and foamy.

 

1 hour ago, mansonlamps said:

Topic: my high school cafeteria had the best sugar cookies, I've never had a better or even close to equivalent one to this day, and that's a hell of a lot of days.

My junior high cafeteria had some wonderful cookies that I didn't know what they were called, so I referred to them as sand cookies because they were kind of like sand.  Found out years later they were peanut butter cookies.  That was also where I had my first encounter with hominy, which I found out is not just giant corn.

I think I posted this somewhere else here a long time ago, but I had a friend who would always ask her kid what he had for lunch, and he'd say "lunch balls."  Finally one day she asked him what lunch balls were.  Tater tots.

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For kicks, I looked up the cafeteria menu on my high school's website (I know, I lead an exciting life), and, wow, I guess kids don't bring their lunch to school anymore.  The cafeteria is now open from breakfast through afternoon snack, and there's a hot breakfast buffet, all sorts of offerings for lunch - a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, and then several daily specials - and a sampling of snacks (cookies, fruit, cheese, etc.) and a majority of it is reasonably healthy.  I'm impressed.  It would still be more nutritious - and definitely more cost effective - to pack a lunch, but at least there are good options now.  Had this existed in my day, I'd have probably brought a lunch four days a week and then picked one day a week (based on the menu offerings that week) to buy a cafeteria (I'm sorry, it's now a cafe) lunch.

Edited by Bastet

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The only thing I remember about food in my elementary school was milk was a penny.  I think chocolate milk was 2 cents.  I'm pretty sure I brought my lunch from home most days, but my memory is really hazy.  I don't remember anything about food in junior high or high school.

However, in an example of good timing (or something), the WaPost has pictures of local elementary school district lunches in the Post Magazine this weekend.  I hope this link works...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/food-for-thought-photos-of-elementary-school-lunches-around-the-dc-region/2018/03/20/d654ce4e-2882-11e8-bc72-077aa4dab9ef_gallery.html?utm_term=.387894c2fef4

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I had to drop off some items for my daughter at the high school a couple of weeks ago.  I timed it near her lunch so that she could go by and grab it without getting pulled out of class.  Behind the reception desk there was a TON of fast food bags that had been delivered for other students.  I asked the receptionist about it and she said everyday there are a lot of parents who drop off a fast food lunch for their kids.  Chic-filet seemed to be the most popular that day, but there were some Panera Bread and some local Italian places. 

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13 minutes ago, ebk57 said:

the WaPost has pictures of local elementary school district lunches in the Post Magazine this weekend.

A lot of those are super carb heavy, I mean a loaded baked potato and Texas toast?

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The rolls.  Pure heaven.  I'd pick off the top and eat the insides and the buttery bottom. 

I had forgotten about the rolls.  They were good yeast rolls, if I recall correctly.

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I went to a small private school undergraduate (500 students total), and we had a couple ponds on campus with lots of ducks. We would grab tons of rolls at dinner to feed the ducks. Happy well fed ducks.

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I didn't eat cafeteria food until undergrad when I lived on campus.  My university had an experimental farm campus.  Guess where a lot of our food came from? It was not good.

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2 hours ago, Bastet said:

For kicks, I looked up the cafeteria menu on my high school's website (I know, I lead an exciting life), and, wow, I guess kids don't bring their lunch to school anymore.  The cafeteria is now open from breakfast through afternoon snack, and there's a hot breakfast buffet, all sorts of offerings for lunch - a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, and then several daily specials - and a sampling of snacks (cookies, fruit, cheese, etc.) and a majority it is reasonably healthy.  I'm impressed.  It would still be more nutritious - and definitely more cost effective - to pack a lunch, but at least there are good options now.  Had this existed in my day, I'd have probably brought a lunch four days a week and then picked one day a week (based on the menu offerings that week) to buy a cafeteria (I'm sorry, it's now a cafe) lunch.

I did the same thing, and boy have things changed!  

I almost always brought lunch from K-12.  In elementary school, it was largely a matter of survival due to menu offerings like chopped beef with gravy over rice (we called it dog food) and fish sticks every Friday. I don't even know what the high school menu was because I brought a frozen cup of Dannon Dutch Apple yogurt every day for three years; by lunch, it was thawed to a yummy slushy consistency.  Now kids in my old school system can have sushi, a pasta bar, and all kinds of salad offerings - looks like the cost ranges from $2.70-$3.40.  You can get the carb counts for everything, but I'd be more concerned about the sodium content; a lot of it looks pretty high.

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I went to college in the same town as the Malt-O-Meal factory which made knock off of all the name brand cereals and tgey would brimg in just made, never been boxed fresh cereal for our dining halls and the taste was noticeable better!

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My least favorite meal was at college (I brought my lunch K-12). Luckily it happened only once a year, for our Mardi Gras celebration (I went to school in the South). They would convert the salad bar to a crawfish bar - all the smelly, disgusting steamed crawfish you could eat, which in my case was none. I could smell it as soon as I opened the doors to the refectory (AKA The Rat) and just turned around and left. Apparently the other Mardi Gras offerings were nice but I could not get past the smell. 

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On 3/25/2018 at 1:42 PM, Bastet said:

For kicks, I looked up the cafeteria menu on my high school's website (I know, I lead an exciting life), and, wow, I guess kids don't bring their lunch to school anymore.  The cafeteria is now open from breakfast through afternoon snack, and there's a hot breakfast buffet, all sorts of offerings for lunch - a salad bar, burgers, sandwiches, and then several daily specials - and a sampling of snacks (cookies, fruit, cheese, etc.) and a majority of it is reasonably healthy.  I'm impressed. 

Is this a school where a lot of the kids would be on the free or subsidized breakfast/lunch program.  I would love it if schools with a high percentage of them had offerings like this.

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1 hour ago, StatisticalOutlier said:

Is this a school where a lot of the kids would be on the free or subsidized breakfast/lunch program.  I would love it if schools with a high percentage of them had offerings like this.

I would, too, but, no, this is a private school.  I'm sure the government continues to abdicate its responsibility to public school kids in general, and those from low-income families in particular, in this way just as it does in most ways.

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On 3/24/2018 at 9:47 PM, Mountainair said:

We did have a taco bell line and when I stuck around school I always got some nasty taco bell thing called a Chillito.

We did too! And I also ate that gross thing!

On 3/25/2018 at 4:14 PM, StatisticalOutlier said:

The rolls.  Pure heaven.  I'd pick off the top and eat the insides and the buttery bottom. 

OMG the rolls. We called them Hornet Rolls because that was our mascot and they were amazing and everyone who went to my high school still talks about them and tries to get the recipe. It's been over 20 years and we're still obsessed. That high school had EVERYTHING there was the "hot lunch" line which changed menus daily, then the sandwich and salad bar line, then there was a stir fry line where you could pick your protein, then there was the "snack bar" around back that had burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken fingers and steak fingers and then Taco Bell Express which had a limited selection of taco bell items. I used to joke that it was like going to school at Sizzler. 

I also liked my previous high school's pizza pockets. They were gross but I liked them. 

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Chicken a la king with rice.  EVERYONE at my school loved that and it (almost) always sold out within the first 20 minutes!  Chicken fingers and fries weren't bad either.  Grossest?  Looking back, I'd say the tacos, because it was totally Old El Paso shells (now that I'm more taco-experienced).  The grilled cheese was kind of blah as well.  I suppose that's why we drowned them in ketchup!

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Hey! That was me and masonlamps posting nostalgic in the pizza thread way back when.

Thanks for starting this thread GreekGeek.

Google lunch lady recipes and lots of good old school YUM will come up!

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I think the only cafeteria item that I remember with fondness was the peanut butter toast they served for breakfast during a summer program.  I was a precocious rising 5th grader, and my 1st and 2nd grade teachers, who taught the Pre-K summer session, brought me in as a little classroom helper (I read Ferdinand the Bull to the kids about 283474938 times that summer).  We never had breakfast during the school year, but the summer session always had breakfast, and that peanut butter toast was DA BOMB!  I found out that they actually toasted the bread in the oven--it was super-crunchy, and so delicious with peanut butter.  Sometimes it's the simple things in life, yanno?

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In elementary school, I brought lunch every day except Friday because that was pizza day.  It was that square Elios-like pizza, and it came with a chocolate milk, and a delicious cookie.  The cookie was the real reason I bought lunch on those days.  When I brought my own, all the way through my high school graduation, it was a peanut butter sandwich. 

Even when I first became a teacher, I would bring a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, though I've now switched to yogurt.  The kids in my school have both breakfast options before the first bell, and lunch.  Having had cafeteria duty though, you couldn't pay me to eat what they serve even if I forgot to pack something. It just looks nasty.  And there aren't any drinks with any kind of sugar, it's all diet.  You can't even get a plain water, only that diet garbage or low fat milk.   They also have a vending machine with "healthy" snacks, like whole wheat Pop Tarts.  We have a lot of students on free/reduced lunch and I wish they had better options. 

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I was really spoiled as a kid with a mom that was a fantastic cook, so school lunches were the absolute WORST for me, because we had it so much better at home-frozen peas/corn/green beans from our garden versus the mushy canned stuff, my mom's spaghetti was so much better, so were her tacos (not sure how-it's the same ground beef with taco packet, lol).  There were 2 things I looked forward to with school lunches-hamburgers on BUNS (we had burgers from our own cow, but Mom didn't like buns.  Sigh.   So we ate them Eddie Murphy style on sandwich bread.), and MOTHEREFFING TATER TOTS.  I still love tots to this day.  If they are on the menu, they are in my belly.  Although I was certainly attracted to the terrible-for-you foods that we didn't get at home like pizza, hot dogs, etc, I didn't like the school's version of them for whatever reason.

I did like it when they would do breakfast for lunch every once in a while, I think it was when French Toast sticks came out.  

I hated milk as a kid, and would only drink chocolate milk at school.  Thank god they had that option, otherwise I would have DIED.  At home, I would chug the required 1 glass at every meal in order to avoid delaying my misery in being forced to drink the stuff.  

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Early 1970s the public school system I attended had a budget crisis.  We were served "flying saucers."  Fried bologna with a scoop of mashed potatoes and cheese on top.  Nutrition at its best.  I also remember beets and prunes--neither of which I can stand.  

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My favorites were tator tots and what my school called Smoky Joes (Pork roll with melted cheese on a potato roll). My least favorites were the things that were slightly off. The purple and/or green tinged hot dogs being a prime example.

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13 hours ago, wallysmommy said:

Early 1970s the public school system I attended had a budget crisis.  We were served "flying saucers."  Fried bologna with a scoop of mashed potatoes and cheese on top.  Nutrition at its best.  I also remember beets and prunes--neither of which I can stand.  

I agree those Flying Saucers sound icky. 

Were the beets and prunes in the same dish? I hope not!

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Beets and prunes on separate days, thank goodness.  We found out how much fun it was to use your straw on the beets to make little pellets that could be shot across the cafeteria like a spit ball.

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11 hours ago, wallysmommy said:

Beets and prunes on separate days, thank goodness.

Just for fun, I googled "beets and prunes" to see if there is any dish where they appear together. Lo and behold, there is a Russian dish where they do, although I wouldn't expect it in an American school cafeteria. In case you're curious: Beet, walnut, and prune salad

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The school district's recipe for baked "fried chicken." I loved that chicken and the beefaroni. This is when the cafeterias actually cooked in the kitchens before they started serving reheated contracted  meals.

 

My mama made killer lunches those days when they didn't have the above. 

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I was a lunch packer 95% of the time. We also had limited time in the cafeteria, and you could easily spend half of that time waiting in line. My standard packed lunch was a sandwich, a bag of chips, and a juice box. (I don't remember if I always packed a dessert or it was only some of the time.)

There was a period of time when milk bags were offered instead of the small cartons. Those were "fun." (I am not Canadian.)

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8 minutes ago, Unraveled said:

I was a lunch packer 95% of the time. We also had limited time in the cafeteria, and you could easily spend half of that time waiting in line. My standard packed lunch was a sandwich, a bag of chips, and a juice box. (I don't remember if I always packed a dessert or it was only some of the time.)

There was a period of time when milk bags were offered instead of the small cartons. Those were "fun." (I am not Canadian.)

That sounds a lot like my lunches, except I usually put some kind of drink in a thermos. I don't think they had juice boxes back then. In fifth and sixth grade, we discovered that if you froze a can of Coke and then wrapped it in several layers of foil, it would be thawed but still cold by lunchtime.

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I mostly bought lunch in high school. I liked chicken fries (they were like chicken nuggets but shaped like fries) and the stuffed pizza.  There were some not so great meals like turkey and gravy because it was really dry.

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First time over in this neck of the woods.

The worst:

Grilled cheese sandwiches which were so hard that they could have been used for roofing tiles.  I have no clue how lightly toasted bread can get that hard.

Biggest turnoff: 

A fellow classmate had hot lunch (turkey like substance and gravy on bread).  He found an earwig in it.  He went up and grabbed another tray and more food, returning the old food. 

What we never found out.

Was the earwig on the plate already, or was it in the pot of turkey and gravy?

What did the lunch lady do with that old tray of food? 

I was grossed out.

My favorite hot lunch was pizza slices.

The canned vegetables were all sorts of gross.

The canned fruit cup wasn't any better.

Apple crisp wasn't too bad.

French fries were soggy.

Edited by icemiser69

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The worst thing they served at my school was a mac and white cheese with broccoli.  It looked like...puke...and no amount of ketchup could fix it.  They served it once and never served it again.  It was replaced with regular mac and cheese (still kind of gross, but ketchup remedied it).  Favourite?  Chicken a la King w/ rice!!!!!  I also liked grilled cheese - we dipped it in ketchup (since tomato soup wasn't always available).  Chicken fingers (or fish sticks) and fries were okay - if the fries weren't rock hard.

I had tacos for the first time in middle school (they were SOOOO El Paso shells, but it was the early 90s and people didn't know better.  In Toronto, anyway).  Mexican/Tex-Mex just wasn't something we had at home or went out for.  I think I had fake Chinese food for the first time at school too (you know, chicken balls and stuff like that).

Note:  this was the day girls' cafeteria (aka The Canteen).  Boarders ate upstairs and had better food.  These days, the girls are eating much, much better.  I was told students can now buy sushi and ACTUAL, REAL salad (rather than the limp greens (i.e. iceberg) and packaged Kraft dressing we had back in the 90s) and other goodies.  I remember kids making their own "grilled cheese" by melting cheese on (crappy) bagels in the microwave.  I think I did that a few times, but it was never good. 

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I usually brought my lunch(except for Hot Dog Day), but my elementary school had Salisbury steak with gravy and mashed potatoes, with two slices of buttered bread in a wax paper envelope on the side, and we would make a sandwich out of it.  Yum!

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Beets and prunes on separate days, thank goodness.  We found out how much fun it was to use your straw on the beets to make little pellets that could be shot across the cafeteria like a spit ball.

This is from way back, but thanks for bringing back the memory of using a straw to punch little holes in the beet slices and blowing the bits around like spit balls.  I had totally forgotten about doing that!  

This isn't about food served in the cafeteria, but what kinds of lunches did others who 'brown-bagged' it bring to school?  I vaguely remember a lot of PB&J sandwiches (creamy PB and probably either grape or strawberry jelly), bologna (aka 'baloney') sandwiches (white bread and mayo), and other types of meat, including 'luncheon meat' (anyone else remember that kind?  It looked a little like deli ham slices but had a 'mottled' appearance, probably due to added fat.  Probably gross, but it was tasty), and ham slices with bits of cheese in it.  I think all would have been either Oscar Mayer or Bryan brand.  I do remember my mom buying olive loaf and ham with pimento in it, but I probably didn't have those sandwiches, because I wouldn't have liked those.  I also probably had a little plastic baggie of either potato chips or Fritos, but don't remember what I had for dessert.  We would have had Little Debbie and Hostess snacks in the house, so it might have been one of those snacks, but I also was a big fan of fruit even as a kid and an orange would have been eaten, not traded away.  Now that I think about it, I know I used to have the occasional pudding 'snack pack'.  I either bought milk or brought Kool-Aid in my thermos. And I might have used a brown bag in junior high, but in elementary school I had one of those plaid lunch boxes that I loved (I wish I still had it). It was cool. 

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My favorite days were the ones where we had peas. I'm sure tons of peas went into the trash on those days, but not mine!

My elementary school actually had pretty good food. The pizza was awesome. Once I hit middle school it was take your lunch everyday. When I hit high school you could not be caught dead bringing your lunch to school so it was back to cafeteria food and it was so bad. I ate nothing but mashed potatoes, rolls and chocolate milk for the remainder of school except for the days we'd sneak out for lunch.

I also remember being jealous in elementary school of the kids that ate breakfast at school even though I only ate cereal for breakfast.

Edited by festivus

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On 2/20/2019 at 9:10 AM, BooksRule said:

This isn't about food served in the cafeteria, but what kinds of lunches did others who 'brown-bagged' it bring to school?  I vaguely remember a lot of PB&J sandwiches (creamy PB and probably either grape or strawberry jelly), bologna (aka 'baloney') sandwiches (white bread and mayo), and other types of meat, including 'luncheon meat' (anyone else remember that kind?  

I hated baloney and 'luncheon meat' so my sandwiches were either PB&J or tuna fish. Now I was a child in the 70s who took her lunch in a metal lunchbox so that tuna was sitting there half the day not refrigerated. Somehow I'm still here though. 😄 I also loved soup so I'd take that in my thermos and just buy my chocolate milk at school.

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On 2/20/2019 at 7:10 AM, BooksRule said:

This isn't about food served in the cafeteria, but what kinds of lunches did others who 'brown-bagged' it bring to school? 

Lots of sandwiches (or pita pockets) -- turkey, tuna or chicken salad (with the filling in a little container to be put on the bread only when it was time to eat, so the bread didn't get soggy), peanut butter & honey, stuff like that.  Sometimes a chicken caesar salad, or mixed greens salad with baked chicken, instead but it was hard to fit a salad big enough to be filling into a lunchbox/bag (it was box in elementary school, then bag in junior high and high school) and have room enough for much else.  Every once in a while, a side salad and some cheese/salami/crackers goodness.  (Not exactly a proper lunch, so only every once in a while, but I love snack food, and, hey, there was a salad.)  Some fruit - usually an apple, an orange, some grapes, a pomegranate, or a nectarine, depending on the season.  A little baggie of chips, crackers, or nuts.  Sometimes a cookie for a treat.  (And sometimes an encouraging note from my mom, aww.)  I think milk or juice as a kid (in the Thermos that came with the lunch box), and then usually water as a teen, but sometimes a lemonade or Pepsi.

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On 2/20/2019 at 10:10 AM, BooksRule said:

This isn't about food served in the cafeteria, but what kinds of lunches did others who 'brown-bagged' it bring to school?  I vaguely remember a lot of PB&J sandwiches (creamy PB and probably either grape or strawberry jelly), bologna (aka 'baloney') sandwiches (white bread and mayo), and other types of meat, including 'luncheon meat' (anyone else remember that kind?  It looked a little like deli ham slices but had a 'mottled' appearance, probably due to added fat.  Probably gross, but it was tasty), and ham slices with bits of cheese in it.  I think all would have been either Oscar Mayer or Bryan brand.  I do remember my mom buying olive loaf and ham with pimento in it, but I probably didn't have those sandwiches, because I wouldn't have liked those. 

It wasn't "salami," was it?  Oscar Meyer

My dad still eats pickled pimento loaf.  And, I am 100% foodie, but also 100% his daughter, and every 6 months or so, I get a hankering for bologna on Wonder Bread with Miracle Whip.  And NO, you cannot substitute the WB or the MW.  And NO other toppings!   I used to LIVE for field trip days when I got to bring a lunch!!!  It was so exciting!  Plus, we got soda and we didn't get soda at home.

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No, it wasn't salami.  I'll find a photo of it somewhere and post.  I also get a hankering for certain sandwiches, so instead of my healthier-these-days all natural peanut butter and no-sugar-added jam on whole wheat bread or lean ham on WW, I will make meals for a couple of days (lunch and dinner!) of reduced-fat Jif (I love that stuff.  It's sweet, so it's like eating peanut butter frosting) and strawberry preserves or bologna and cheese sandwiches with mayo (Hellman's or Blue Plate) all on smooshy white bread. Or, I'll splurge and buy a container of pimento cheese and make thick sandwiches (also on white bread).  Bonus points if I remember to buy some Fritos so I can layer some on the sandwich.  

(I'm glad I don't have any of those foods in the house right now.  I haven't had dinner, and I'm really hungry. I would pig out.  I'd better go fix my baked pork chop and green salad!)

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Oh I remember exactly what you're talking about with the "ham" luncheon meat. I put that in quotes because just thinking about it makes me want to barf.

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