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Recreating school lunch at home

A post on the Midwest board got me to thinking about lunches way back in elementary school. I got used to eating the strange tasting hamburgers and would like to recreate them for old times sake. I guess they had some real meat in them but they must have had some kind of filler. Soy maybe? Any suggestions on how to make a school hamburger at home?

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  1. I would buy frozen patties and steam or bake them for that bland school flavor. Drown in the cheapest ketchup you can find. Enjoy?

    1. maybe steam a boca burger cause I think they were soy patties lol

      1. School lunches are made with the nation's agricultural surplus - literally, excess commodities that are super cheapo and super nutritionally bottomed out.... so maybe it's not a soy filler but just really junky beef?

        1. Here are links to some school cafeteria recipes:



          While were at it, here's a link to the U.S. Armed Forces Recipe Site


          3 Replies
          1. re: Antilope

            Thanks for the help on this. My memories of this go back to the early 1970's and I'm pretty sure the burgers would not have been all soy but Lauren might be right. It could have been some kind of mystery filler and I might never get my answer. I have looked for years though for burgers in the store that are part ground beef and part soy but so far, the combination has been impossible to find.

            1. re: Hooda_Guest

              I remember when soy was mixed into burgers in the '70s. My recollection was that when people realized they weren't getting all-beef, the reaction in the marketplace was strongly against the stuff. At about the same time, we started hearing McDonalds and other outlets begin to advertise "we use all-beef," to emphasize that they weren't using the cheap blend soy stuff. You can still buy TVP (textured vegetable protein) in health food stores (for example), and that's what they used - rehydrated - to mix into beef as a filler.

              1. re: k_d

                Maybe that is what I'm looking for then. I will search some out and see if it does the trick.

          2. I found this thread because I was searching for the same thing. I always called them soybean burgers because my parents told me that's what they were. Now, at 43, I'm wondering if they would be a lower calorie option. I remember loving the taste (with mayo). Did you ever get it figured out? My e mail is rhondamcgreger@hotmail.com

            3 Replies
            1. re: Rcm1216

              Rcm, They're definitely not lower in calories. There was a big outcry recently when people got hold of the ingredient list for one of the big school lunch burger patty manufacturers and found out the patties alone had 26 ingredients. -- All kinds of preservatives, soy flour, caramel coloring, and that stuff they call "pink slime" made up of chemicals pureed with fat, intestines and other gross stuff. They were higher in salt, sugar, calories, and fat than fast food burgers.

              There are some decent soy-based burgers out there, but the school lunch kind aren't like those at all.

              1. re: ninrn

                Wow. That's disgusting. Are actual soy burgers healthy, I wonder.