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The best thing your school cafeteria served

At JG school back in the sixties, it was the cornbread: hot, salty, greasy. And the homemade peanut butter cookies. What was the best thing cooked at your school cafeteria?

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  1. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy...all from instant I am sure, (probably why I liked it as my Mother would never use them). I used to trade my chicken friend steak or whatever protein for another pile of those spuds and gravy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bubbles4me

      I'm with you on that. My mom never made instant potatoes so it was a treat for us.

      1. re: bubbles4me

        "I used to trade my chicken friend steak or whatever protein for another pile of those spuds and gravy."

        I like my freiends lightly sauteed and served on a bed of mesclin and a nice mujdei sauce.

        1. re: bubbles4me

          Flushing, NY in the mid to late 60's: Tuna fish hero with ice cold milk, Linden's Chocolate Chip Cookies and Scooter Pies. Otherwise, you'd best bring your own baloney sandwich!

        2. Deli sandwich on a bagel, with tater tots.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MattInNJ

            I just remembered this one. The nice lady from Afghanistan (I believe her name was Najeista(sp?)) made that best meatloaf ever! Me and my brother loved it so much, we got the recipe from her and still use it to this day....

            1. re: MattInNJ

              please post the recipe in Home Cooking with a description!

          2. Nothing was entirely edible at our high school cafeteria. They did make white rolls for which they clearly didn't sift the flour, because the top crust was always speckled with little globs of uncooked white flour. We'd peel those off and eat the rolls, which didn't have great texture or flavor but were always warm and much improved by real butter. It's a minor miracle there was real butter, because this was the era when catsup was considered a vegetable by the feds who administered the school lunch program. I can't remember anything else that wasn't delivered frozen and cooked on site.

            I mostly brownbagged it, or ate the packaged goods that were sold as fundraisers in the cafeteria.

            1. humbling and equalizing work experience - every student in my high school in hawaii was required to work in the cafeteria at least one day, serving or some other relatively safe chore (no knives or stoves).

              as for food - wednesday was always enchilada day in our jhs in texas. for some reason, i liked those things, though in retrospect they're probably no better than the frozen u-wave stuff from a convenience store.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Loren3

                >>every student in my high school in hawaii was required to work in the cafeteria at least one day, serving or some other relatively safe chore (no knives or stoves).

                public high school? that is an AWESOME policy.

                  1. re: cimui

                    I'm a principal in an elementary school. I think it would be a great service learning project to involve the kids more. We already collect all food waste and it goes to a pig farm. I'm going to have to think up a way to get the kids involved a little more... at least the older ones.

                  2. re: Loren3

                    Today at our little downeast Maine HS we had veggie pizzas w/ home made thin crust topped w/ tomatoes, peppers and onions grown in our school garden, served to me by one of my favorite "problem" students who beamed and smiled as he served me. Cool.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        Wow - Passadumkeg how did you get the school garden started? We just moved, my daughter is in a nut-free classroom and the teacher sent home a depressing list of processed snack foods that are nut-free. I'd love to get the school more inspired about food. If you prefer, email me - address is on my profile.

                        TIA :)

                        1. re: maplesugar

                          Nope, a young biology teacher, upon whom I have a terrible crush.
                          DOM

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            i hope your wife doesn't read chowhound.

                            1. re: alkapal

                              She might have a crush on her too, the bio teacher is very sweet, watched our dog while we were in Korea, lobsters by rowing dory and is married to a wonderful young man. A special person.

                          2. re: maplesugar

                            Our school has 4 plots in the local community garden. The students do all the planting, etc. before the school year is out. The plots are then tended by some of the teachers and the master gardener over the summer. All the produce is donated to a local food shelf.

                            1. re: lindainwi

                              That's great--I think gardening is so grounding and relaxing, and it really involves you in the miracle of nature.

                              Do you use any of the produce in the cafeteria?

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              When school gardens and greenhouses are incorported into the curriculum and funding process with the same importance as gymnasiums, we will see progress.

                              Healthy food consumption is part of Physical Fitness.

                          3. Food in the 50s and 60s was quite good. The best: enchiladas, bierocks, "chop suey", ground meat in brown gravey over mashed potatoes, lasgana, meat loaf, and beef stew.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              Without a doubt the 'Sloppy Joes'...I loved Sloppy Joe days (what was in those things anyway?) and I can still hear that lunch cart rumbling down the hall and the smell billowing in the air.
                              Ahhh....bring back the early '60's and make me young again :).

                              1. re: latindancer

                                Boy Latindancer I agree with you, I have been trying to find out and cannot duplicate them, I had them in about 1960 at University High School in West Los Angeles.

                                1. re: malibumike

                                  sloppy joes.... man were those things good! that and the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. That was my favorite school lunch ever.

                                2. re: latindancer

                                  Absolutely, sloppy joe days were my favorite too.

                                  The few brief encounters I've had with sloppy joes lately though, are not the same. It's like someone dumped a jar of jelly into the mix.

                                3. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Yes, beerocks! And when my kids were growing up, I often made hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes and christened it "Public School Food."

                                  1. re: mothrpoet

                                    served with peas, that's a deconstructed shepherd's pie? ;-)).