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The best thing your school cafeteria served

fluffernutter Aug 21, 2008 07:28 AM

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?

  1. m
    mingvg Mar 19, 2014 12:53 PM

    Beef taquitos, beef empanadas, and the glorious graham cracker peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. What I would do to eat one of those again :(

    1. m
      marypittman Mar 19, 2014 09:04 AM

      the Atlanta ga. public schools had great lunches all food was cooked from scratch daily , some thing like roast or turkeys had to be cooked the day before, veggies was canned but you had to know how to seasoned them so they was good ,rolls ,corn bread ,even buns we on sight ,,,,the usda sent most of the staples so we had to use them , in my late teens I started being a supply helper in the cafeteria and ended up being a cook for aps for about 12 yrs I was on breads and deserts and some time we rotated so I could hold my own in any area while suppling I was used all over, but I like for my food to look good as well as taste good,and the manager was a no nonsense great person that made sure every
      thing looked good and tasted good also

      1. Rodzilla Dec 24, 2012 11:17 PM

        Western PA early 90s Elementary School

        Chicken Fryz

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rodzilla
          zoey67 Dec 25, 2012 10:56 AM

          Goodness oh yes, everyone forgot about the one thing that was prob the most consistent and highly sought after. They didn't serve it often but when they did Kids kill each over the greasy fried chicken.

        2. Passadumkeg Dec 23, 2012 09:14 PM

          Twice in teaching in Maine for 20 years, the price of lobster dropped so low, it was cheaper than hamburger or hot dogs. The past summer the price hit a low of a buck a pound! In 2 schools they made lobster stew for lunch. I was delish. A lot of kids dumped it. I wish I had an ethical way that I could have them dump it in a 5 gal. bucket and take it home. Obviously not a big Jewish population.
          Happy Holidays!

          1. b
            BuildingMyBento Dec 20, 2012 09:36 PM

            Only one day in my time at elementary school did they have a fluke offering- corn dogs. Which in Japan are called American dogs, but anyway, that was my first time trying them, and well, the following time was at a convenience store in Japan. Decent memories of those, with chocolate milk to boot.

            1. Meowzerz Dec 7, 2012 11:07 PM

              Pretty much the only days I ate school lunch were when they served " breakfast" for lunch. French toast , french toast sticks, pancakes,sausages, and cinnamon bakedl apple slices. Yum! Oh and they managed to not screw up grilled cheese as well. And the accompanying pickles were tastyy

              1. Fowler Dec 7, 2012 09:58 PM

                Most of our cafeteria food was awful, but I did really enjoy the kringle, SOS and bratwurst when they were served.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fowler
                  smaki Dec 8, 2012 12:03 AM

                  +1, SOS

                  1. re: Fowler
                    sandylc Dec 23, 2012 09:26 PM

                    Ah, a Wisconsiner....Wisconsinite?

                  2. l
                    lolabrw Dec 7, 2012 12:30 PM

                    Beefy burritos, which were actually more like chimichangas because they were fried to a delicious golden brown color and then served with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top.

                    1. k
                      KSlink Dec 7, 2012 09:57 AM


                      1. dave_c Dec 7, 2012 08:57 AM

                        Back in the 70's in SF, each school had it's own kitchen where food was made on-site.

                        The most memorable was some sort of open face hot creamy (cream cheese and mayo?) tuna sandwich. I think it was baked. I remember it being tasty.

                        I've never come across this type of sandwich in the real world and the thought of hot tuna sounds unappetizing now I'm much older.

                        One of the best things I looked forward to were their yeasty dinner rolls. Soft, fluffy, yeasty and buttery. Back when butter was our friend.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: dave_c
                          suzigirl Dec 7, 2012 09:27 AM

                          Oh I forgot about the rolls. I could eat those alone for lunch. I have been known to go to Golden Corral and getting just foods that taste good with their rolls like mashed and gravy, or salad or any meat in gravy for the sopping. Those rolls are the closest thing to lunchroom rolls. Mmm mmm

                          1. re: suzigirl
                            smaki Dec 7, 2012 08:47 PM

                            +1, rolls with real butter. Some gravy was better than others depended on cook(s).

                            1. re: smaki
                              suzigirl Dec 7, 2012 09:32 PM

                              But if the lunchroomladies were good so were the rolls

                              1. re: suzigirl
                                smaki Dec 7, 2012 09:41 PM

                                So true, without a good roll you did not get good gravy. You are right the best lunchroomladies usually made the best of both.

                          2. re: dave_c
                            sandylc Dec 7, 2012 09:43 AM

                            Try googling "tuna melt" and see if that looks right.

                            1. re: sandylc
                              dave_c Dec 7, 2012 12:01 PM

                              No, it wasn't a tuna melt.

                              The sandwich was very saucy. It was almost like clam dip, but made with tuna. Imagine that stuff/glop served heated on a hamburger bun. I seem to remember it was only half a bun.

                              1. re: dave_c
                                sandylc Dec 7, 2012 12:10 PM

                                hm-mmm...sort of like tuna casserole with bread rather than noodles....

                                1. re: dave_c
                                  John E. Dec 7, 2012 12:13 PM

                                  I detested the tuna noodle hotdish served in our grade school. I also dislike mayo. The dish you have described would have caused me great distress as a child. Of course if I were confronted with it now, I would simply not eat it. (Not eating your lunch was not an option in my school. Plus I was a scrawny kid).

                              2. re: dave_c
                                bbqboy Dec 7, 2012 11:13 AM

                                This gives a whole new meaning to the band name "Hot Tuna" that is 180 degrees from what I always suspected, but they ARE from SF.

                                1. re: bbqboy
                                  dave_c Dec 7, 2012 12:06 PM

                                  lol... Yes, what you're referring to "sounds" different from what I'm thinking of.

                                2. re: dave_c
                                  Antilope Dec 7, 2012 11:33 AM

                                  School Cafeteria Tuna Sandwich Souffle from 1962

                                  1. re: Antilope
                                    suzigirl Dec 7, 2012 01:27 PM

                                    Man you never miss a beat Antilope. You should be super proud for all the people here that are getting in touch with their nine year old selves because of you. :-)

                                3. Jpan99 Dec 6, 2012 12:09 PM

                                  American Chop Suey

                                  Elementary school in the '60s on the East coast.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Jpan99
                                    bbqboy Dec 6, 2012 12:08 PM

                                    That's what the rest of us call Sloppy Joes?

                                    1. re: Jpan99
                                      Antilope Dec 6, 2012 12:50 PM

                                      School Cafeteria American Chop Suey from 1962

                                      1. re: Antilope
                                        bbqboy Dec 6, 2012 12:51 PM

                                        Slumgullion or goulash in Midwesternese.

                                    2. s
                                      sandylc Dec 5, 2012 09:06 PM

                                      I liked the crumbcake and chocolate milkshakes in jr. high. I can't remember anything that was very good in high school.

                                      I remember that the peanut butter fudge was very popular, but I didn't understand why. Sometimes someone would throw one up and get it stuck on the ceiling - that might have had some influence on its popularity!

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: sandylc
                                        cheesecake17 Dec 6, 2012 11:56 AM

                                        Today, anything containing peanut butter is practically a crime in most schools

                                        1. re: cheesecake17
                                          sandylc Dec 6, 2012 12:03 PM

                                          I understand that this is a serious issue for some....that said, I wonder why it wasn't a problem a few decades ago?

                                          1. re: sandylc
                                            cheesecake17 Dec 6, 2012 05:56 PM

                                            When I was in elementary school, there was one kid allergic to fish and one allergic to nuts. They'd eat at an "allergy" table if nuts or fish were served. Today... I feel like its so much more common. My daughter ( almost 2) has acquaintances who are allergic to peanuts, eggs, dairy, sesame, and milk.m

                                            1. re: cheesecake17
                                              Antilope Dec 6, 2012 06:13 PM

                                              A lot of kids have always been allergic to school. ;-)

                                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                                smaki Dec 6, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                +1, also feel allergies are more common. But is reality as a cook we have to deal with that and make good food for all.

                                        2. c
                                          cheesecake17 Dec 5, 2012 05:33 PM

                                          I loved the pasta primavera. Linguine with carrots and zucchini. The sauce was very garlicky. I'd still eat it today!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: cheesecake17
                                            John E. Dec 5, 2012 05:37 PM

                                            The only pasta we got was the noodles in tuna noodle hotdish, the macaroni in mac and cheese, and 'goulash', and the spaghetti with tomato/meat sauce. All standard midwest pasta.

                                            1. re: John E.
                                              cheesecake17 Dec 5, 2012 05:46 PM

                                              Lunches were actually stuff you had to pay for, so I guess they tried to make it seem appealing. I also remember veggie burgers (soggy) and pizza (decent)

                                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                                John E. Dec 5, 2012 05:51 PM

                                                I remember bringing lunch money to school but about 1/2 of what they served I could have done without.

                                          2. a
                                            alepenazzi Dec 4, 2012 07:58 PM

                                            A few I remember well from middle school:

                                            Ravioli with ricotta and spinach with butter and sage
                                            Penne with tomato and basil
                                            Spaghetti amatriciana
                                            Breaded veal cutlet with roasted potatoes
                                            Every wednesday pizza margherita or pizza with tomato, mozzarella, parma ham and mushrooms

                                            I grew up in Italy... ;-)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: alepenazzi
                                              wavywok Dec 4, 2012 08:37 PM

                                              Veal cutlet!! Now that I get that this was about grade school food I will say this: the veal cutlet is the only thing I am able to recall from the cafeteria. I found it palatable until I chomped down on a hard piece of something. Now I realize it was a rounded piece of bone from a scraping machine. Never enjoyed veal again..

                                            2. s
                                              seamunky Dec 4, 2012 04:54 PM

                                              Elementary school in the 80's: Turkey & Gravy - an ice cream scoop of instant mashed potatoes smothered with a ladle full of shreds of turkey floating in gravy. Yum! I would still eat this.

                                              This was served directly on the compartmentalized tray. I'm not sure when cafeterias switched to plastic/paper single-use containers but I guess throw-away products are cheaper than employing a dishwasher.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: seamunky
                                                John E. Dec 4, 2012 06:46 PM

                                                The turkey and gravy you describe was one of my grade school terrors. I hated that particular lunch. The gravy was slimy and the instant potatoes were awful.

                                              2. charles_sills Dec 4, 2012 01:46 PM

                                                luke warm soggy chicken nuggets dipped in the instant spuds and snot-colored gravy. soooooo good. also, the aptly named "pizza boat". basically a pizza built on the bottom have of a sub bun, it resembled a boat. touchdown nachos were also quite good; essentially taco meat, lettuce, tomato , and sour cream in a bag of doritos.

                                                1. suzigirl Dec 4, 2012 01:11 PM

                                                  I loved the hamburger pizza they served on the dread/biscuit dough crust. Also the turkey nuggets in gravy w/ mashed taters. An the silliest one i still love but never tastes the same when I make it is 'snow on the mountain top'. Thick sliced ham, mashed potatoes and cheese broiled on top. Stupid simple but good. In middle and high school it was milkshakes and salads

                                                  1. f
                                                    foodieX2 Dec 4, 2012 10:53 AM

                                                    Our cafeterai made homemade donuts every Sunday. Amazing-fresh out the fryer. I loved getting weekend KP duty because you would be the first to get them. I swear they did this just get us to wake up in time for Sunday refelctions.

                                                    1. p
                                                      Puffin3 Dec 4, 2012 08:43 AM

                                                      In the early sixties in Britain. Private 'Boys only' school. Sitting at long benches. The kitchen ladies would wheel in carts with HUGE trays of shepards pie. One would be set in front of the 'head boy'/prefect at the head of the table. It was his duty to dish out each plate of food and send it along to each kid. The first to be served where his 'crew' sitting there next to him. One boy would take each plate and set it down in turn down the 'pecking order' until the boys at the far end of the table were served. By that time the first 'favorite' boys would have already scarfed their first helping. Being one of the last to be served I never got more than a small scraping. Funny. Somehow there was always enough left for the boys at the head of the table to be served up nice big helpings of 'seconds'. GOD how I hated that place!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Puffin3
                                                        John E. Dec 4, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                        Is your real name Oliver?

                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                          zoey67 Dec 4, 2012 10:32 AM

                                                          Does anyone remember breakfast and the crazy things they served? the completely drenched waffle or pancake soaking with maple syrup that would have stuck to the wall...but you would devour it because you were so hungry. That bowl of gross oatmeal that most wouldn't touch. The greasy raw/half cooked bacon or if you were lucky the much better round sausage patty that was heaven with the biscuit. Or the powdered block of scrambled eggs was not bad

                                                          The best day was the coffee cake, everyone loved that. But most of the time you can only rely on that little carton of OJ or milk with a lovely serving of frosted flakes...circa 75-79 grade school LA.

                                                          1. re: zoey67
                                                            John E. Dec 4, 2012 10:44 AM

                                                            Breakfast at school in the 70s? The schools did not start doing that until much, much later in Minnesota.

                                                      2. t
                                                        tardigrade Dec 3, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                        My high school cafeteria had a grand total of 10 dishes. Thursday was always spaghetti with meat sauce, salad and a roll (you could by the roll separately), every Thursday for four years. It was actually pretty good. My favorite was the cold pasta and tuna salad, with chopped hard-boiled egg, that they served on alternate Fridays - I still occasionally make it.

                                                        1. l
                                                          lemons Dec 3, 2012 05:25 PM

                                                          Skmall towns in eastern MO in the '50's: I admit I was a picky eater (but not the worst in my class!) and didn't like much; would eat the canned vegetables and the Dixie Cups, vanila ice cream w/ the little wooden spoons. Chocolate milk arrived about the 4th grade, in a vending machine for 3 cents. Very exciting until I discovered it didn't taste like the brand I could very occasionally persuade my parents to buy at home. Not very chocolaty, and artificial tasting. So really nothing much to recall.

                                                          By HS, we could walk the 3 blocks to "downtown" and buy 10 cent hamburgers. Yes, and smaller than today's White Castle sliders, but you'd buy 3 or 4 and that'd do it. Much better.

                                                          But then in my senior year I ended up @ Classical HS in Springfield MA, and began to catch up with the rest of the world. Peanut butter/marshmallow creme sandwiches. Something they called a water roll, crusty and prebuttered. And some great soup; I remember beef tomato. The first kosher hot dogs this kid from the country ever came across.

                                                          But mostly a school career not designed to make me a serious eater. Thank goodness I eventually learned!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: lemons
                                                            zoey67 Dec 3, 2012 07:43 PM

                                                            Picture those cold and rainy days when the lunch bell just rung and you're sick of sitting in class all morning with your butt aching. Starving and famished... everyone is running to their locker like it's the last day on earth in order to get a place in line.

                                                            Then you get that oh so yummy warm hot dog or burrito with a side of soft tater tots or crinkle fries. Those are the days when that was my 3 star Michelin dining experience.

                                                          2. p
                                                            perrottwilliamson Dec 3, 2012 04:56 PM

                                                            I'd say mashed potatoes.

                                                            1. l
                                                              laskiblue Dec 1, 2012 07:52 PM

                                                              Elementary through high school in southwestern lower Michigan late 1960s through 1980. There was this peanut butter bar the texture of a brownie with a chocolate icing/glaze that was so damn good that our alumni Facebook group managed to track down one of the women who worked in the school kitchens for years and she was able to get the recipe for us! I haven't made it yet, but I sure am looking forward to it.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: laskiblue
                                                                buzzardbreath Dec 3, 2012 10:24 AM

                                                                Would you be willing to share the recipe, please, if possible? It sounds a lot like the one my school in CA served. I would really appreciate.

                                                                Did most of the US school cafeterias in the 1960's-80's use the same cookbook? A lot of my friends remember the same peanut butter bar, yet our schools were scattered across the US. Just thinking out loud...

                                                                1. re: buzzardbreath
                                                                  Antilope Dec 4, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                                  The school lunch (1962) (recipes and cafeteria manual) by Marion Louise Cronan
                                                                  Several hundred school cafeteria recipes from 1962 - read online or download for free at Archive.org:



                                                                  USDA Menus and Recipes for Lunches at School - October 1936


                                                                  Here's a link to the current USDA School Cafeteria recipes (1988 (1971) to current).

                                                                  1. re: Antilope
                                                                    buzzardbreath Dec 4, 2012 01:03 PM

                                                                    Many thanks, Antilope! I appreciate the links.

                                                                    1. re: Antilope
                                                                      lcool Dec 4, 2012 01:56 PM

                                                                      Many thanks,
                                                                      Your post,info has made my twin sisters day.Her MIL was one of the "old" school cooks in Minnesota and Montana,back in the day.

                                                                      1. re: lcool
                                                                        Antilope Dec 4, 2012 02:44 PM

                                                                        Treasure State school food services newsletter (1971) recipes, etc:
                                                                        Montana. Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
                                                                        Volume: 1971-1972


                                                                        School food services newsletter (1972). recipes, etc:


                                                                        1. re: Antilope
                                                                          lcool Dec 5, 2012 06:19 AM

                                                                          Sis,we have most,originals and copies of the big spiral notebooks that the ladies kept,1940's into the 60's.At that time many Mt county schools had stables and bunk houses for the girls and the boys,rather than think there would be a class in normal to severe winter weather before modern plows,trucks and snowmobiles.These ladies often put 3 or 4 pretty amazing meals daily with wood burning ranges,limited water and ingredients.
                                                                          The links,thanks to the generosity of your time are helping fill in the gaps faster.
                                                                          Good winter pass time in Eastern Montana

                                                                      2. re: Antilope
                                                                        Antilope Dec 4, 2012 04:08 PM

                                                                        USDA Recipes for Quantity Service - Volume 135 - (Sept 1950).

                                                                        USDA Recipes for Quantity Service - Volume 157 - (May 1951).

                                                                        USDA Recipes for Quantity Service - Volume 178 - (Sept 1951).

                                                                        USDA Recipes for Quantity Service - Volume 197 - (Apr 1952).

                                                                        USDA Recipes for Quantity Service - Volume 212 - (Sept 1952).

                                                                        USDA Recipes for Quantity Service - Volume 223 - (May 1953).

                                                                        USDA Recipes for Quantity Service - Volume 226 - (July 1953).

                                                                        1. re: Antilope
                                                                          Antilope Dec 4, 2012 04:39 PM

                                                                          USDA School Lunch Recipes (Dec 1943).

                                                                          USDA School lunch recipes using potatoes (Jan 1948).

                                                                          USDA School lunch recipes using nonfat dry milk (Apr 1948).

                                                                          USDA School lunch recipes using dried fruits (Aug 1948).

                                                                          USDA School Lunch Recipes for 25 and 50 (Sept 1949).

                                                                          USDA School lunch recipes using cheese (Nov 1949).

                                                                          USDA Yeast and Quick Bread Recipes for the School Lunch (Nov 1949).

                                                                          USDA School lunch recipes for main dishes and desserts (Feb 1953).

                                                                        2. re: buzzardbreath
                                                                          laskiblue Dec 5, 2012 05:07 PM

                                                                          Sure - sorry for my late return to the thread. It looks like others have given you some excellent recipes too. Our school system's recipe came from the School Lunch Journal's May 1964 issue.

                                                                          1. re: laskiblue
                                                                            Antilope Dec 5, 2012 07:30 PM

                                                                            Here's the recipe I can decipher from the newsletter: (The original as posted is kind of small and blurry).

                                                                            School Cafeteria Peanut Butter Brownies (from 1964)

                                                                            1 sheet pan - 18 x 36 x 2 in
                                                                            48 portions - Cut 6 x 8 - 1 oz. Portion

                                                                            Butter or margarine 1 lb 4 oz
                                                                            Peanut Butter 2 lbs
                                                                            Sugar 2 lbs 8 oz
                                                                            Corn Syrup 12 oz or 1 cup
                                                                            Salt 1 oz
                                                                            Eggs dried 6 oz
                                                                            Water 2 cups
                                                                            Flour, all- purpose 1 lb 12 oz

                                                                            1. Weigh butter, peanut butter, sugar, corn syrup and salt.
                                                                            2. Using flat paddle, on #1 speed, cream together in mixer the butter and peanut butter. Turn to #2 speed at end of 5 minutes and cream 5 minutes more.
                                                                            3. Add corn syrup. Mix to combine.
                                                                            4. Add sugar and salt and cream on #1 for 10 minutes.
                                                                            5. While this is creaming weigh dried eggs and flour.
                                                                            6. Reconstitute dried eggs in water. Stir or mix until smooth.
                                                                            7. Add eggs to creamed mixture in 3 stages.
                                                                            8. Add flour on #1 speed and mix to combine. Mix only until flour is incorporated. Do not overmix.
                                                                            9. Weigh 9 lbs 4 oz in a greased sheet pan.
                                                                            10. Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes. Cut in squares, 6 x 8.

                                                                            Note: Frost each sheet pan with Peanut Butter Cocoa Frosting for 1 oz. portion. If frosting with Chocolate Frosting or serve with Rich Chocolate Sauce, one portion does not meet 1
                                                                            oz. portion requirement.

                                                                            Source: School Lunch Journal, May 1964

                                                                      3. smaki Nov 28, 2012 01:36 AM

                                                                        Grade school and Jr High in Oregon & Washington in the '70s. Thinking back my favorites were:

                                                                        - Milk Shakes - Thick. Eat by spoon. Often my meal. Made w/Slurpee-like machine. Uniquely good.
                                                                        - Hamburgers - Not all beef - maybe no beef. Soy? Grew to love - not available elsewhere.
                                                                        - tots / steak fries - when cooked right to crispy golden outside soft inside. With lots of ketchup
                                                                        - ketchup - was different than what we bought at home and would eat way too much of it.

                                                                        Thinking back wonder what else we ate - whatever it was did not make a strong impression on me. Did not like the pizza or over cooked veggies. Focused on a few things over and over because did not like most of the other garbage they made to serve us. Do recall many meal 'choices' were not so good compared to what ate at home, grandparents, out, etc. Terrible in general is what I recall.

                                                                        1. s
                                                                          sqmr3 Nov 27, 2012 07:53 PM

                                                                          At Webster Groves, MO high my favorite was the hamburger. It was mystery meat but I loved it (at the time). They also made an apple crisp dessert that was awesome!

                                                                          1. k
                                                                            Kontxesi Nov 27, 2012 08:22 AM

                                                                            I was always super stoked when I saw mozzarella sticks on the menu. I also loved "chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes, and a roll" days. The semi-soggy tacos with that melty, oozy cheese wen't half bad, either.

                                                                            Would not eat: "Steak'um on a bun", or that nasty hexagonal "Mexican pizza"

                                                                            EDIT: Central Virginia, redneck area, late 1990s to mid 00s

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi
                                                                              John E. Nov 27, 2012 09:49 AM

                                                                              Boy are you making me feel old. Chicken nuggets had not yet been invented when I was in grade school. The mashed potatoes were instant and the gravy was slimy. We never got tacos either. We did get bad cheese pizza however. Back then the cooks of German, Dutch, and Norwegian heritage had only made pizza from the Chef Boyardee pizza kit in the box before attempting to make it at school.

                                                                              1. re: John E.
                                                                                James Cristinian Nov 27, 2012 03:57 PM

                                                                                John E. Chef Boyardee would have been a major upgrade from our high school cafeteria pizza, absolute garbage topped with mystery meat, and that was the best thing on the menu. I think I ate there twice. We always left school with two BBQ places to choose from, plus Burger King when they were made to order. McDonalds had just opened here and we hated it from the start, so it was not in the rotation. Imagine ther horror when the BBQ sandwiches went from a dollar to a buck and a quarter, along with a dollar a six pack beer increase. Mid-70's inflation. Lunch was usually supplemented with the finest twisted green herb we could find. By the way, once it cools off I'm doing a Chef Boyardee pizza. I've been craving one since the first thing you learned to cook as a kid thread. That was mine.

                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                  Kontxesi Nov 28, 2012 04:41 AM

                                                                                  The potatoes were definitely instant, but they weren't the most terrible I've had.

                                                                                  Our regular pizza (as opposed to the "Mexican" one) was a rectangular block block of chewy bread with oddly-textured cheese and those chopped up chunks of "pepperoni" hidden under the cheese blanket. Ugh.

                                                                              2. Antilope Nov 27, 2012 12:59 AM

                                                                                Hot buttered slices of freshly baked french bread.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Antilope
                                                                                  John E. Nov 27, 2012 09:46 AM

                                                                                  The only bread we ever got was Wonder Bread (or the local equivalent) or the hotdog and hamburger buns.

                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                    Antilope Nov 27, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                                                    The cafeteria baked french bread and put it in automat type vending machines that kept it warm. A piece of buttered hot bread was 10 cents in the late 1960's in the San Francisco bay area. You could get it at break times or lunch.

                                                                                    1. re: Antilope
                                                                                      John E. Nov 27, 2012 07:41 PM

                                                                                      In grade school at lunchtime we got as much room temperature Wonder Bread with cold margerine on it as we wished. This was rural Minnesota in the early to mid 70s.

                                                                                2. alliegator Nov 26, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                                  Central Pennsylvania in the 80's and early 90's: slushpuppies. Other than that, I brown bagged.
                                                                                  In high school I left for lunch, so I can honestly say I never at a full school meal.There was a method to my madness: I was involved in sports pretty heavily, and a heavy, salty lunch would really bog me down.

                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                    buzzardbreath Nov 12, 2012 06:38 PM

                                                                                    My school cafeteria made a peanut butter cookie that was sort of like a brownie and had a thin powdered sugar glaze. I tried to make it at home for years but it had a flavor I was never able to duplicate, until I used some "commodities" (super cheap) peanut butter. Bingo! and ever so delicious!. :-)

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: buzzardbreath
                                                                                      wavywok Nov 25, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                                                      The Kosher and Vegetarian dishes were always best, likely because they were prepared in small batches. In particular the Kugel comes to mind..

                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                      cringle22 Aug 1, 2012 01:59 PM

                                                                                      lets see, Tuesdays were meatball sub day, Wednesdays were still-partially-frozen square pizza day, and Thursday..... pastrami sub day!

                                                                                      Bold choice for a school caf, and they pulled it off well!

                                                                                      1. p
                                                                                        phxjcc May 25, 2012 02:07 AM

                                                                                        Los Angeles Unified School District, 1960's:

                                                                                        Cinnamon Rolls - still legendary to this day; LA TImes reprinted the recipe years ago.
                                                                                        Sloppy Joes
                                                                                        But my favorite--the buttered French Bread, a big heaping handful of a slice of bread soaked in butter for, IIRC, $0.05.
                                                                                        At my nursery school in 1959, AllieMae made cherry cobbler that is still unrivaled to this day--sweet and sour cherries with an apple crisp-like topping. 53 years later and I am still tasting it. RIP AllieMae.

                                                                                        1. mamachef May 14, 2012 02:18 AM

                                                                                          Lucky enough to attend a very small rural public school, all the food was pretty decent in the mid-seventies. The thing I most looked forward to was "Lumberjack Stew" day: a casserole of ground beef, tomatoes and corn..this delightfulness was served weekly, and I always made sure I had a lunchticket. I think I found it sooo delicious because Mom the Uncook would NEVER use cans, what with being a Hippie and all. At any rate, I'd like to try a bite today. I really wonder if it would taste the same.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: mamachef
                                                                                            bushwickgirl May 19, 2012 05:36 PM

                                                                                            Only if you made it in your own kitchen, sweetie!

                                                                                          2. c
                                                                                            chope May 13, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                                                            I still can not find the bacon burgers or a recipe. I would kill for one right now.....

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: chope
                                                                                              Antilope May 13, 2012 05:19 PM

                                                                                              Is this it?

                                                                                              Bacon Cheeseburger

                                                                                              2 oz. protein per serving

                                                                                              50 Servings

                                                                                              7 lb. processed cheese, grated (firmly packed)
                                                                                              1 c. onion, finely chopped
                                                                                              2 2/3 c. cooked bacon, finely chopped
                                                                                              1 pt. tomato catsup
                                                                                              1/2 c. prepared mustard
                                                                                              50 sandwich buns

                                                                                              Combine cheese, onion, bacon, tomato catsup and prepared mustard.
                                                                                              Cut buns in half crosswise. Spread a #24 dipper ( 2 2/3 Tbsp - 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 oz) of cheese mixture on bottom half of each bun.
                                                                                              Toast both bun halves cut side up for five minutes, or until buns are toasted and cheese is melted.
                                                                                              Replace top slice of bun on bottom slice.
                                                                                              Brown top of bun. Serve immediately.

                                                                                              Source: 1962 School Cafeteria recipe from "The School Lunch".

                                                                                              1. re: Antilope
                                                                                                chope May 13, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                                                                Not a bacon cheeseburger a bacon burger I don't even think it had beef in it.

                                                                                                1. re: chope
                                                                                                  Antilope May 13, 2012 05:46 PM

                                                                                                  This recipe is called a Bacon Cheeseburger, but there is no beef in it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope
                                                                                                    cacruden May 13, 2012 06:59 PM

                                                                                                    That is because it is a "cheese" burger - not "beef" burger not "lamb" burger.... etc. :o It is a burger made of primarily cheese :p

                                                                                                    1. re: cacruden
                                                                                                      chope May 13, 2012 08:51 PM

                                                                                                      It was an actual patty looked like a chicken patty but tasted like bacon

                                                                                            2. arktos May 13, 2012 11:14 AM

                                                                                              Huge portions of lasagna with some sort of a tomato sauce, ground beef and topped with cheddar cheese in junior high. As I recall, it was quite delicious and would LOVE to have some of that right now. Sometimes this 'authentic food' thing sucks.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: arktos
                                                                                                Antilope May 13, 2012 11:22 AM

                                                                                                Here's the current school cafeteria lasagna

                                                                                                Lasagna with Ground Beef for 50 and 100 servings

                                                                                                1. re: Antilope
                                                                                                  arktos May 13, 2012 12:10 PM

                                                                                                  I am SO making that.. thanks!

                                                                                              2. c
                                                                                                cacruden May 13, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                                                The best thing my school cafeteria served..... was the exit.

                                                                                                The second best thing my school cafeteria served, was over processed deep fried fish sticks.

                                                                                                1. Antilope May 13, 2012 07:50 AM

                                                                                                  Again from the sixties (in southern California). The one thing all of the kids would finish, chili and cornbread and of course the fudgesicle . In high school in the late sixties it was the hot buttered bread sold in the cafeteria vending machines.

                                                                                                  Here's a link to the current USDA School Cafeteria recipes

                                                                                                  1. s
                                                                                                    subal May 7, 2012 10:57 PM

                                                                                                    Pittsburgh public schools, early 50's
                                                                                                    Large trays of bread stuffing served with meat loaf or baked chicken.
                                                                                                    IIRC lunch was $0.15 then!

                                                                                                    1. v
                                                                                                      venushakti May 7, 2012 06:26 PM

                                                                                                      Upstate NY, graduated in 2000. I dont recall eating much at all growing up, but I do remember:
                                                                                                      Elementary-canned plums and canned apricots, and a rotating cast of burger/pizza/chicken patty/hot dog/hot dish of indeterminate origin
                                                                                                      Middle School-1 bag Dipsy Doodles, 1 bagel, 1 Snapple. Repeat 187 times.
                                                                                                      High School-getting there early for a fresh cooked bacon egg and cheese on a hard roll. We also had a salad bar, and I remember no one using it so I was allowed to make myself obscenely huge salads with tuna on top.

                                                                                                      I teach now in a K-8 school, so routinely eat school lunch. Our cafeteria staff are phenomenal, and there are many teachers who will sacrifice their leftovers from home if something really great is in the cafeteria.Seriously, they do amazing things with an oven and a giant steam kettle back there. My favorites now:
                                                                                                      red beans and rice
                                                                                                      baked chicken and yellow rice
                                                                                                      twice baked potato with homemade chili
                                                                                                      chicken salad
                                                                                                      our salad bar includes pickled okra, sliced cucumbers, and baby spinach. Its a public charter school and we are lucky enough to have the freedom to do what we like with our food. Not too much Sysco.
                                                                                                      Coincidentally, it is Food Service Appreciation Week this week, so we'll be writing letters and making a big poster to say thank you in my class.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: venushakti
                                                                                                        John E. May 7, 2012 09:52 PM

                                                                                                        Your school lunch program is the opposite of many in the US. I understand many school cafeterias only have deep fryers and ovens to reheat, fry food for lunch.

                                                                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                                                                          venushakti May 8, 2012 05:55 AM

                                                                                                          Im not sure about the deep fryers, but yes, we are lucky to still have a functioning kitchen. Here in New Orleans, the vast majority of schools are charters and some put more effort into the kitchen facilities and food service, and some take the Sysco/Aramark cheap way out. There is an Edible Schoolyard here at another building, as well as this lucky school:
                                                                                                          I've eaten at Liberty's Kitchen many times and the food is great. Imagine the school lunches!

                                                                                                          1. re: venushakti
                                                                                                            Caroline1 May 8, 2012 03:16 PM

                                                                                                            When I was in first grade (1938), one of the great things my teacher did was have all of the kind in the class (maybe 12 of us?) ask our moms to cut the tops of carrots about a half inch below the stems (all carrots came with long feathery greens back then!), and to send them to school with us along with a cube of potato with an "eye" in it, and the caps off of onions. As a class project, we nursed these into plants and on harvest day, she supplied the beef and we made stew! That we had grown ourslves! Well, except for the beef. One of the more memorable teachers I have known! The only problem was that she used too many onions and didn't saute them first. I did not like oniony onions back then! But LOVED the experience!

                                                                                                      2. g
                                                                                                        gradishertom May 7, 2012 01:24 PM

                                                                                                        The frozen rectangular shaped pizza was the best thing at our school and even it wasn't very good.
                                                                                                        I don't know how school food is these days, but looking back the quality of the school food was not very good.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: gradishertom
                                                                                                          foiegras May 11, 2012 06:05 PM

                                                                                                          Yes ... loved that pizza. I really wouldn't mind having some right now ...

                                                                                                        2. p
                                                                                                          Puffin3 May 4, 2012 08:27 AM

                                                                                                          1963. Winchester Eng. Romsey Road boys school. Lunch: Sixteen boys at the long table starving. Woman rolls in cart with huge stainless roasting type pan with 'shepard's pie'. The Prefect at the head of the table serves out the plates supposedly with equal amounts. Trouble is he gives himself and this buddies sitting hearest him double portions. By the time I get my serving handed down to me it's about the size of a small apple. Happened every lunch.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Puffin3
                                                                                                            zoey67 May 5, 2012 09:25 PM

                                                                                                            Yes undeniable TATER TOTS in the early 80's usually served with the steamy hot dog or meat/bean paste filled burrito were out of this world. No 3 star michelin chef or Thomas keller can ever re-create something magic like that. The same cannot be said for the pizza's and hamburger's for some reason.

                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                            MonMauler May 2, 2012 11:44 AM

                                                                                                            Oh, man, this brings back memories. I went to highschool in the late '90's, and I thought just about everything they served was absolute garbage. I would get a pack of cinnamon and brown sugar pop tarts and a bag of Hannover's sourdough pretzels from the vending machine most days.

                                                                                                            That said, I did usually get cafeteria lunch on two days. First, double dog days ... two hotdogs, baby! That, I could not pass up, even if they were subpar dogs that had been boiled. I think they did this every other week, on Wednesdays. Second, pizza, which was actually delivered from a local pizza place and not too bad. They did that every Friday.

                                                                                                            1. j
                                                                                                              Jenn1234 Mar 28, 2011 12:36 PM


                                                                                                              1. junescook Mar 9, 2011 02:56 PM

                                                                                                                High School for me took place in a monastery. We ate in a refectory with long tables on each side that faced the center of the room. The students that would be serving that day or week, whatever, then would serve trays of food, family style, from the center of the room. The priests' table crossed the end of the room, the whole forming a square U shape.

                                                                                                                The one thing I remember most about meals is that we ate in silence, and there was a reader (again a shared job like every other like kp and every other cleaning chore in the place), who read aloud anything from biographies to more sacred readings to, on Fidays, the Rule of St. Augustine, read, alternatively, in Latin and in English. After that, Fr. Superior would proclaim "Benedicamus Domino," and allow us to talk freely.

                                                                                                                Our cook was Brother Ray who had been a Navy cook and there was nothing that really stood out in my mind, Two things that of hs that I do recall were one, his meatloaf, notable for its chunks of crunchy celery and onion (and I still use some raw onion and celery in mine now), and the white sheetcakes he made with fruit cocktail in them. I would never consider doing that to anybody now, much less to myself.

                                                                                                                1. q
                                                                                                                  Querencia Mar 9, 2011 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                  Buenos Aires, an American school, 1940's. A cook named Fiorina made an apple pudding as good as any dessert I have eaten in my life. Sliced apples were covered with a cakey topping flavored with grated orange peel and orange juice. Big pans of this were baked in a coal stove that gave a crusty edge all around, and it was dished up warm by the teacher at the head of each table and slathered with heavy cream poured from a pitcher. My father noticed that we always had it the day after the tuition bills were mailed ("Damn, this bill is here again." "O I love my school; the food is so good.")

                                                                                                                  1. KansasKate Feb 15, 2011 04:02 PM

                                                                                                                    Back in the day, we had open lunch, so I never ate in the school cafeteria... except on the days they served chili and cinnamon rolls. Both were made from scratch and delicious. How they came up with that combo is beyond me, but we all loved it. And it's not unique to my home town; they serve it where I live now as well. Perhaps it's a Kansas thing? Or a Midwestern thing?

                                                                                                                    1. c
                                                                                                                      caames Feb 13, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                                                                                      I went to school in the sixties and early seventies, our school was classified as a farm community something or other by the government, meaning our cafeteria served large lunches, each lunch started with a dixie cup of juice, a bowl of soup, all the bread and real butter you could eat, then the entree and dessert, most of the food was good, except tuna noodle, harvard beets and deviled egg day, all together on the same plate, it was awful, my favorite was pork patty, baked potato and spinach, it was yummy, our meals were served on china plates too, the only plastic dishes were little bowls for salads, some change from then to now...........

                                                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                                                        MamaCrunch Feb 12, 2011 04:44 PM

                                                                                                                        My high school had the daily option of this pasta dish which consisted of overcooked shells and watery, over seedy tomato sauce. It was the most disgusting thing ever yet, somehow 85% of the student body ate it everyday. It was rare to see someone in the "hot lunch" line!

                                                                                                                        Confession: I sometimes crave a bowl of this gross yumminess!

                                                                                                                        1. tatamagouche Feb 11, 2011 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                          Old thread, but thanks to the magic of Chowhound....

                                                                                                                          The best thing was actually the unintentional worst thing. How I figured this out I can't recall, but to the little styrofoam half-cups of crappy vanilla ice cream we'd get in elementary school in Oklahoma in 1978, I'd add a squirt of ketchup. Turns out that watery vanilla IC mixed with industrial-strgneth ketchup is the most gloriously disgusting thing you could possibly imagine. The smell was so offensive that it fascinated me, and I'd willingly ruin my lunch to smell it time and again.

                                                                                                                          If I ever actually tasted it, I've blocked it out.

                                                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                            FoodFuser Feb 12, 2011 04:23 AM

                                                                                                                            The thick taste of 'maters distilled down to ketchup
                                                                                                                            might indeed seek affinity with seeds of vanilla.
                                                                                                                            But I doubt if my tongue could give praise to those lycopenes
                                                                                                                            if the base of the ice cream was chocolate

                                                                                                                            But much of the joy was the peel of the tab of the thick paper top.
                                                                                                                            That, and the lathering and licking to prepare the rough grain of that flat wooden spoon..

                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                              Tripeler Feb 12, 2011 05:30 AM

                                                                                                                              I have always enjoyed your poem-posts, but this one is particularly brilliant, catapulting you into the poe-sphere of true brilliance.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Tripeler
                                                                                                                                FoodFuser Feb 12, 2011 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                It's just a recapture of cafeteria food
                                                                                                                                with which we gave grapple for twelve years our youth

                                                                                                                                Yet the feel of that pull-top on paper packed ice cream
                                                                                                                                and our strength of saliva as we stroked wooden grain
                                                                                                                                is something I wish I could capture again.

                                                                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                  buttertart Feb 13, 2011 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                                  Thank you for a very strong and specific memory revival. Remember the smell of those spoons? And the ice cream was best if frozen so hard you could barely get at it with the spoon.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                    FoodFuser Feb 13, 2011 06:53 AM

                                                                                                                                    ...and milk came in clear 8 ounce bottles, capped with a cardboard disc with a similar pull-tab.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                      buttertart Feb 13, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                                                                                      Indeedy. Crimped foil over lid.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                        John E. Feb 13, 2011 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                                        I hate to be the one to beak it to you FF, but you and buttertart are old. I can barely remember trying to drop clothes pins into milk bottle at pre-school birthday parties.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                          buttertart Feb 14, 2011 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                          Rub it in. I was a tiny child (kindergartener) at the time of which I speak.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                            John E. Feb 14, 2011 07:36 AM

                                                                                                                                            Sorry about that. When I tell my kids that their grandmother didn't buy milk at the store until I was in high school they think I'm a hundred years old. They think it's bizarre that a man in a truck would deliver milk to your house. They said "you mean like a pizza guy"?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                              buttertart Feb 14, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                              That's very cute. When I was even smaller we had a horse-drawn (!) bread van. Tell anybody that and they think you were born in 1870.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                John E. Nov 12, 2012 06:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                A year-and-a-half later I respond....My father (who is now almost 81) lied about his age and got a driver's license at age 13 and got a job delivering ice to homes and businesses for their iceboxes. This would have been about 1945 and many people did not yet have electric refrigeration. My grandparents got their first electric refrigerator in 1949 when my grandfather won a General Electric refrigerator in a raffle. I remember seeing that refrigerator in my uncle's basement. It was actually in use until shortly after he died in 1995.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                  buttertart Nov 13, 2012 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                  We had an icebox that was still in the pantry when I was growing up, long since decommissioned, but used as a cabinet. And the fridge we had in the late 50's lived into the 2000s, and may still be going for all I know. Frigidaire. The door was so heavy it sounded like a car door when you closed it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                    cacruden Nov 13, 2012 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                    The funny thing is that fridge from the 50's that lasted into the 2000's probably cost you much more than a new fridge would have. We had a second fridge like that down in the basement that my parents kept in operation until around 1980s, then finally unplugged it..... the electricity bill dropped significantly since the fridge consumed a lot of electricity.....

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cacruden
                                                                                                                                                      alkapal Nov 15, 2012 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                      i noticed that with our spare fridge -- which was probably from the mid 80's, even. once it died, our electric bill went down a surprising amount.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                            Querencia Mar 9, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                            That would be the same milk bottle in which the cream rose to the top and was ladled out using The Cream Ladle, to be used in coffee? Also found on Memory Lane, the bakery where they used to send me ca 1940 for a coffee cake about 9 x 12 with an inch-and-a-half of fruit topping on it, that cost ten cents.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                          wrldsworstcook Feb 15, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                                                                                                          Although somewhat off topic, your post made me remember a wonderful smell from my youth. Do any of you out there remember the regular, old ice cream truck that came around each summer and sold plain, old ice cream novelties like the 'wooden-spoon ice cream cups', Bomb pops, Wonder bars, ice cream sandwiches, etc? I sure do! Since all families back in the 50's had tons of kids, I generally knew if I got any money at all, it would only be enough for the cheaper popsicle-type treat - which was fine with me because it wasn't really the TASTE I wanted anyway - but a certain ice-cream truck SMELL! If I angled myself just right, I'd be close enough to the ice cream man when he pulled on that stainless steel handle which popped open the little square door to the various refrigerated compartments on the back of the truck. The minute those doors opened, the most wonderful smell wafted out. This smell was like the special, Heavenly version of a freshly-made (?) DRUMSTICK! You know - the one with the vanilla ice cream stuffed into a real cone slathered in hard, frozen chocolate topping and rolled in crushed peanuts!? The smell coming from the truck was so much better than the real thing for some reason.! It was sort of a combination of - freshly baked cones and roasting peanuts! Mmmmm- I can almost smell it right now!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: wrldsworstcook
                                                                                                                                            FoodFuser Feb 15, 2011 09:35 PM

                                                                                                                                            We thronged to those trucks like tail-wagging pups
                                                                                                                                            to get hold of those orange and vanilla "push-ups."

                                                                                                                                            Sold in a tube with a stick in the bottom
                                                                                                                                            to be slid upward mouthward
                                                                                                                                            as contents were consumed

                                                                                                                                            They were lessons not just in circular geometry
                                                                                                                                            but also an early experience in gastronomy.

                                                                                                                                            An earliest memory, right about three,
                                                                                                                                            was walkng in a daze in our high school cafe
                                                                                                                                            swooning with wonder
                                                                                                                                            of being much younger
                                                                                                                                            but I knew I could handle the tube of that push-up.

                                                                                                                                            Marching past tables of towering adolescents
                                                                                                                                            I licked and I savored the finest of scents
                                                                                                                                            of cardboard, vanilla, and orange.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                    tatamagouche Feb 14, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                    Actually, the other worst thing was chicken-fried steak. Gray gristle battered and doused in the nastiest coagulating cream gravy...

                                                                                                                                    There was no best thing. I was happiest when my mom packed me a cream cheese and green olive sandwich, even though my friends thought that was weird.

                                                                                                                                  3. c
                                                                                                                                    crewsweeper Jan 11, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                                                                                                    For me it was the rolls. Big yeast rolls on sheets. When hot and completely baked with a crusty top they were delicious. When undercooked and doughy they made great "spitballs" and dough bals for tossing :)

                                                                                                                                    1. e
                                                                                                                                      ediblover Jan 11, 2011 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                      Once a week (Wednesdays!) the cafeteria would put out a few dish that had a small roastbeef hero with a side of mayo and a pickle. It'd probably be awful if I ate it now, but it was by far my favorite lunch option back then. I always hoped that there would be some left when I got there, and always wondered why the dozens that had a chance at it before I did didn't snatch it up.

                                                                                                                                      1. GraceW Jan 9, 2011 08:11 PM

                                                                                                                                        I did not have a lunch in high school... go figure. I took too many classes. Sometimes I ate in the library or in the halls between classes, but I always got yelled at. I learned to eat breakfast and also eat dinner at 4:30ish or as soon as I could get home. Yay...

                                                                                                                                        My students do, however, always want "chicken poppers"--I don't really understand what this is. But it sounds horrible, and I have no idea why the school would serve this. If I were tenured, I would get huffy about it, but I am a first-year, so I cannot rock the boat (yet).

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: GraceW
                                                                                                                                          Maryld Jan 11, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                          In NE Ohio in the 70's: warm whole wheat muffins with honey butter (I still think about them) and squares of a thick crusted pizza (might have been a Bisquik dough) with ground beef and cheddar cheese.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraceW
                                                                                                                                            foiegras May 2, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                            The chicken equivalent of popcorn shrimp?

                                                                                                                                          2. b
                                                                                                                                            BobbyG Jan 9, 2011 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                                            Elementary school in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach in the 70's-- The only memories I have are the Chocolate/Peanut Butter oatmeal nobakes that have been mentioned. I loved those. And I actually liked the limp crust hamburger/cheddar pizza. One thing I've never figured out is where they got their peanut butter for the peanut butter sandwiches. No jelly, just peanut butter. It had a taste I've never run across since. The few times I was able to take my lunch, my choice was always Wonder Bread/Oscar Mayer Bolonga/French's yellow mustard. I still eat those to this day, with a layer of crushed potato chips on top. :-)

                                                                                                                                            High School in the early 80's in Northern California-- Hamburgers. Everyone keeps mentioning beef burgers. You sure? Ours were soy burgers, cooked and wrapped in that white wax paper sleeve where the juice and the buns collide. (you know what I'm talking about) A couple of packs of yellow mustard and yumm.......oh so tasty. I didn't think so then, but sometimes I find myself craving those incredulous mutations of flavor.

                                                                                                                                            My mom was a career cafeteria worker, retiring as a manager, and she was an incredible cook. She also had quite the reputation in the school district for the meals she served "her kids" over a 30 plus year career. Her fried chicken was, by far, the best I've ever had to this day. All I could think when I was in school was how much I wished she worked in our cafeteria.

                                                                                                                                            1. r
                                                                                                                                              rtw1212 Jan 6, 2011 11:12 AM

                                                                                                                                              Poutine. Back in High School, I started putting ketchup on my poutine to keep everyone else's fingers out. It worked, and I've been eating poutine with ketchup ever since. Funny, no one ever wants to share.

                                                                                                                                              1. horseshoe Dec 19, 2010 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                Fried burritos, in high school, Texas Goulash in elementry.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: horseshoe
                                                                                                                                                  bbqboy Dec 19, 2010 01:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                  fried burritos are chimichangas. what is

                                                                                                                                                  Texas goulash?

                                                                                                                                                2. mamachef Dec 19, 2010 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I was lucky enough to grow up in a small town where the food was made from scratch, not sent in by Aramark or Cysco. The lunch ladies had hairnets and moles, and chubby elbows, and their joy in life was feeding usn's. Top-shelf items were lumberjack stew (this was loggin' fishin' town, folks) which was big chunks of browned sirloin, potatoes onions and corn in gravy - that was GREAT. Even better, the homemade apple crisp: I've never been able to replicate it: buttery, oatmealy, crunchy and nutty; over apples that were juicy and still a little crunchy too. Seconds were always available; yeast rolls and butter were on tap. Then I got to high school where we had "the snack shak" although we did still have the option of cafeteria dining because the grade school was just across the street and we could "sneak over" and get food any day of the week from these lovely ladies who knew our birthdates, our parents, our life histories, and our preferences. Always a better alternative than the ubiquitous hot-dog/french fry/grilled cheese options they doled out at the shack.

                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                                    FoodFuser Dec 19, 2010 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                    You had me at "hairnets."

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                                      mamachef Dec 19, 2010 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Awww, and here I thought it was the elbow imagery that would incite you to a spot of poetry!
                                                                                                                                                      Ahh, the hairnetted ladies
                                                                                                                                                      who fed all us babies
                                                                                                                                                      and wore super-strength pantyhose
                                                                                                                                                      they served the good food
                                                                                                                                                      and were always at the ready (with a rag)
                                                                                                                                                      for the kid who barfed milk out his nose. ; )

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef
                                                                                                                                                        FoodFuser Dec 19, 2010 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                        The "Lunch-Lady" stands tall as an Icon in our puberty
                                                                                                                                                        of same as the strength of the Tower of Liberty.

                                                                                                                                                        We lined up... we tired.. and we poor...
                                                                                                                                                        huddled masses yearning to be free, and be fed.

                                                                                                                                                        As to pantyhose, I knew not of the state of their knickers
                                                                                                                                                        but surely did notice their arms were yes a bit thicker

                                                                                                                                                        And even at that age tagged fatty-draped elbows
                                                                                                                                                        with the beauties of tongue-melting cubes of good Jello.

                                                                                                                                                        So they might have skewed somewhat to the realm of the Hefty
                                                                                                                                                        but they really could crank out good rolls and spaghetti.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                                          bbqboy Dec 19, 2010 11:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                          OK. But we are stretching it. :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bbqboy
                                                                                                                                                            FoodFuser Dec 19, 2010 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                            "Stretching" is certainly the perfect verb for the query
                                                                                                                                                            of the quest for spaghetti of perfect al dente.

                                                                                                                                                            Apocryphal ladies in those old tile-lined kitchens
                                                                                                                                                            would throw noodles to walls to see it sticks.

                                                                                                                                                            These days we seem to use our incisors
                                                                                                                                                            to clamp single noodle and give it a stretch.

                                                                                                                                                            The rhythm and rhyme of perfect al dente
                                                                                                                                                            was once provided by hair-netted Lunch-Ladies

                                                                                                                                                            To each of their own
                                                                                                                                                            as to chew of their pasta,

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                                            mamachef Dec 19, 2010 12:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I nominate FoodFuser for Poet Laureate of Lunchladyland.

                                                                                                                                                    2. masha bousha Dec 19, 2010 06:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                      "veal" patty with an ice cream scoop of super sticky rice and gravy. (insert Homer Simpson drooling sound here: X)

                                                                                                                                                      1. wrldsworstcook Dec 18, 2010 10:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                        I'm going to just jump right in here and admit that I'm probably the only one who named this as their favorite school cafeteria food, but once or twice a week, my (elementary school) cafeteria would serve canned plums and/or apricots for dessert. (I can still see all those tiny white, institutional bowls filled with at least two entire canned plums just waiting for me at the end of the lunch line)!

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: wrldsworstcook
                                                                                                                                                          jeanmarieok Feb 12, 2011 03:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I loved those plums, too. I look for them whenever I go to a new grocery store. Haven't found them locally yet.

                                                                                                                                                        2. y
                                                                                                                                                          yfunk3 Dec 16, 2010 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, man. I'm glad this thread was revived, as I'm feeling particularly bored and nostalgic this week.

                                                                                                                                                          Kindergarten and first grade, the school I went to in New York state had these wonderful knishes. Loved them. I was still relatively new to the country and McDonald's was definitely still a special treat, so knishes were so special. I haven't had one in over a decade. Methinks I should soon...

                                                                                                                                                          One of the favorite things my friends and I loved to share in 7th and 8th grade were the cheese fries with the McDonalds-like fries and the fake, yellow, gelatinous cheese. Man, I remember that stuff being SO delicious. It was also 20 cents more for the cheese, which we'd always ask for on the side instead of over the fries so whoever got the cheese could share and everyone would dip their fries in. I wish I knew what fake cheese the schools use and if restaurants near me use it!

                                                                                                                                                          In college, it was all Aramark food, of course. But I loved the fried chicken patties (had to be deep-fried, of course!) with the weird, kind of translucent mayo that tasted so good with the chicken patties on a hamburger bun. Those were the main attraction during lunch for all the meat-eaters on campus. The Latino cooks would often cook foods they were good at, though. I remember great (pork) carnitas (actually deep-fried) that were so flavorful and tender. Some fairly good arroz con pollo, and huevos rancheros. They were, of course, limited to what they could make with what they got from Aramark, but most of the stuff was pretty good for cafeteria grub.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: yfunk3
                                                                                                                                                            mpjmph Dec 16, 2010 11:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Oh... you had to go and open it up to college cafeteria food! We had two cafeterias on campus, one relatively new with a pasta, salad, waffle, pizza and stir fry bars (my go-to for lunch), plus a grill and steam trays with daily specials. The other wasn't so new, and left hair and clothes smelling like burnt onions. The best foods by far were desserts. They offered a sinful peanut butter bar - a chocolate chip bar cookie with a thick layer of peanut butter, then topped with chocolate fudge icing. About once a month they would set up a flambe station and serve either cherries jubilee, crepe suzette, or bananas foster (my favorite).

                                                                                                                                                          2. j
                                                                                                                                                            jkiel1 Dec 16, 2010 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I attended elememtary school in the 50's. Mrs. Wurtenburg was our cafeteria manager. The best meal was a loose ground beef and onions in gravy on mashed potatoes. But the best part of the meal was a yeast role that was so light and soft and hot that it would melt in your mouth. We could smell the rolls baking in the morning at recess just before lunch and we would be Jonesing for lunch to get there. Yum! I knew her before she died she told me that they made everything from scatch each day. I quess that was before powdered potatoes became more commonly used in school cafeterias. The Salisbury steak was my second favorite. But the yeast rolls with the floured tops were the best. If you were in the 6th grade which got served last, we could get 2nds too!

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jkiel1
                                                                                                                                                              buttertart Dec 16, 2010 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Iowa? or other midwest?

                                                                                                                                                            2. gaffk Nov 27, 2010 04:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Three Phases.

                                                                                                                                                              Elementary school (Philly Public): mom always packed just what I liked--some lunchmeat on white or rye bread with mustard, fruit and a cookie.

                                                                                                                                                              Junior High (Philly Public): food was so bad I literally chipped a tooth on a salami sandwich. After that, I went AWOL and to home for lunch (right across the street). I would amble back to the playground afterward, but even when I was caught and given detention, it was worth it.

                                                                                                                                                              High School (Philly Catholic all girls): I still crave the fries--just the right salt to grease balance; skinny, crispy on the outside and mealy on the inside. One serving of those salty fries was a meal. Also the "warm cheese": white American in a kaiser roll wrapped in foil and broiled until bubbling. French bread pizza with meat toppings Mon-Thurs, plain on Friday.

                                                                                                                                                              For reasons discussed on other boards, I don't do milkshakes, but everyone at my table loved the chocolate milkshakes as well.

                                                                                                                                                              Needless to say, this was in the era when we all went out and played 3-4 hours a day. No such thing as PCs, laptops, etc. . . .We burned it all off. Even in high school we walked\biked 3-4 miles per day at least.

                                                                                                                                                              1. p
                                                                                                                                                                peanut butter bars Nov 26, 2010 07:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                http://www.nfsmi.org/ResourceOverview... These are the actual recipes that the school cafeterias used back in the 1950's through the 1980's. Click on alphabetical order. These are the actual recipes Liza Starkey and the other lunch ladies used in the school cafeteria. The yeast rolls, peanut butter bars and a few other recipes I have made. They bring back alot of memories.

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: peanut butter bars
                                                                                                                                                                  malibumike Nov 27, 2010 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks Penut Butter, I have been looking for my High Schools 1960 Sloppy Joe recipe for a long time and this sounds like it, I will try it next week when we get rid of all our turkey.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: peanut butter bars
                                                                                                                                                                    alkapal Nov 27, 2010 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    shepherd's pie! beef stroganoff. chicken a la king. sloppy joes. spice cake. what memories, indeed! there are many new latin american dishes that i never had growing up in the 60's. we did have cuban sandwiches, though (s.w. florida). there was a lot more local control over -- and regional variation in -- school food back then.

                                                                                                                                                                    thank you, peanut butter bars!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: peanut butter bars
                                                                                                                                                                      malibumike Dec 19, 2010 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks penut butter, the sloppy joes recipe was right on.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. g
                                                                                                                                                                      gentlyferal Sep 6, 2010 11:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      School lunch was actually palatable (though plain) when I was in elementary school, and then two things happened: my family made enough money so that my mother could catch the gourmet wave that was crashing on American shores at the time; and the quality of school lunch began to slide. By middle school, I was brown-bagging it or presenting a permission slip from my mother so I could buy from the supermarket deli near the school. (She had me type up a stack of them and signed them as needed.)

                                                                                                                                                                      But there was one item which charmed me at a very early age, which I still love: cottage fries.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. John E. Sep 1, 2010 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I stopped eating the cafeteria food about 2 weeks after starting junior high. I didn't brown bag it either. Believe it or not, there was a concession stand at the school and you could buy junk food like Twinkies, ice cream bars and chips, so that's what I did. My favorite cafteria food prior to that was something called pizza burgers. It really wasn't a burger but a meat, cheese and tomato filling spread on both halves of hamburger buns and toasted in the oven. I remember copying the recipe down from the chalkboard in about the 4th grade. I bet if I looked through my mother's old recipes I could find it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. k
                                                                                                                                                                          kris9 Sep 1, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I went to elementary school outside of Houston, Tx in the early 90's, I dont remember much about the food except Frito Pie and Fried Okra. Frito pie is hard to mess up but the Okra was horrible, mushy on the inside with a crust that was so hard it almost cracked your tooth to bite into it. It has not been until very recently that I am able to eat propoerly made fried Okra, and now I love it!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. k
                                                                                                                                                                            kemi5 Aug 31, 2010 10:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            My JH cafeteria made a layered pseudo shortcake dessert with angel food cake, strawberry jello, frozen strawberries, and a whipped topping. I LOVED the stuff!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. m
                                                                                                                                                                              mangetoutoc Aug 27, 2010 09:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Going to 9 schools in 3 states to finish the 12 years, I sadly really only have one cafeteria stand-out. In the early 70's in BFE (a/k/a McAlester), OK we regularly had what I now call soul food day. It was always beans (with ham hock), spinach, and corn bread and always delicious, especially with a liberal amount of sport pepper vinegar shaken over everything.

                                                                                                                                                                              They did, funnily, also have, by far, the most heinous offering. Did anyone else ever have the magic color-shifting "chameleon" dogs? Pink and appetizing looking on the outside and dead flat grey looking on the inside. *bleh* Even my 7-8 year old self knew to stay far, far away from those suckers!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. z
                                                                                                                                                                                zammdogg Aug 5, 2010 09:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Thought I was jealous of UConn having a real Blimpie until I went to UMass last year for freshman year...every single dessert and bread, baked daily. Best was the chocolate mascarpone cheesecake. Buffalo chicken dip as a treat once in a blue moon. From 9-11 every night, freshly made treats- make your own omelette bar, corn dogs, fresh cut fries, hamburger grinders...really good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                  lindainwi Jul 2, 2010 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  In high school, we had cookie break between 3rd and 4th periods. Instead of the usual 5 minute passing time, we had 10 minutes. The cafeteria sold homemade cookies and milk. My favorite were the peanut butter. They had chunks of peanuts in them. The butter cookies were also wonderful... real butter, no margarine!

                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lindainwi
                                                                                                                                                                                    buttertart Jul 2, 2010 01:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Boy, they wouldn't be handing those out nowadays! Where did all the peanut allergies come from I wonder, I never knew of such a thing when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                      alkapal Aug 6, 2010 04:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      for real. peanut allergies? heck, peanuts were everywhere when i was growing up, and nobody seemed to be having attacks. what *is* the deal with "peanut allergies" in this younger generation, jaggery tart?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                        buttertart Aug 6, 2010 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ya got me. Heebiejeebies in the drinking water? The only person I've ever actually known to have a peanut allergy is my nephew, who is now 25. It's really bad, as a little guy if you ate anything with the slightest whiff of peanut about it and kissed him on the cheek he would get a kiss-shaped welt.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                        foiegras May 2, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think I knew just one child with a peanut allergy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. May 2, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't remember anyone with peanut allergies when I was a kid. At our school we had either mac and cheese or fish sticks on Fridays. Every Friday however there were mounds of peanut butter sandwiches. You could eat as many of them as you wished. It sounds fairly strange now (and possible back when I was in grade school) but I would take my fish sticks and put them inside my peanut butter sandwich. My brothers gave away their fish sticks and ate only the peanut butter sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                                                                          Antilope May 13, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Peanut Butter Cookies are still on the menu list

                                                                                                                                                                                          Peanut Butter Cookies for 50 and 100 servings from 1988

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. k
                                                                                                                                                                                        kellithina Jul 2, 2010 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Taco Dog! A flour tortilla with a foot long hot dog and salsa for a quarter.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Strawberry pie
                                                                                                                                                                                        Chocolate cookies
                                                                                                                                                                                        This was all in Southern California.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh - and the Taco Dog has it's own facebook page!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. mariacarmen Jun 29, 2010 10:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          this was in L.A., or Sherman Oaks, to be precise. something called a sweet bread - it was a giant square of a bready-thing, dripping with butter and icing, and served warm. not at all like a cinnamon roll, tho.... kind of looked like a foccacia (tho i didn't know about foccacia in 7th grade!) covered in sugar and butter. every morning. followed up by my standard lunch of bbq chips, a brownie and a coke, it's a wonder i've made it this far.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                            jenniferlove Jun 29, 2010 10:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Went to San Diego public schools in the early 80s and while most of the food was forgettable, they did serve this one dessert that was called a maple peanut bar. It was a peanut butter blondie or bar cookie, no chunky nuts or anything, topped with a maple glaze frosting. It was the best thing ever, and I would relish that with my plain carton of milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have yet to find a bar cookie that can meet the standard of that maple bar.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. flylice2x Jun 14, 2010 02:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Tough question as everything was good at Kamehameha school in Hawaii. From kindergarten to 12th grade. It was sit down at a round table during the 50 and 60's. Now it's cafeteria style.
                                                                                                                                                                                              A Main dish, A vegetable dish, A starch dish with bread and butter and dessert, milk, water. Said a prayer before sitting down. Freshman were waiters, seniors were the head of the table and served the main dish. Watched our manners. Sophmores and Juniors rotated to help in the kitchen.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Stew, sukiyaki, spagetti, chicken, fish, meat loaf, hawaiian food, peach cobbler with hard sauce, brownies, pie, cake. Tough staying awake in class after lunch whether it was 1st or 2nd sitting.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Anybody got a recipe for hard sauce???
                                                                                                                                                                                              Now days, don't know how kids in public school can eat the junk they are served.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                pie22 Jun 13, 2010 02:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                i recall the line for school lunch would be very long on 2 days only, first primo pizza day (a local pizza shop once a month on fridays, the other fridays would be the square pizza) and second on wednesdays with chicken ranchero day - a fried chicken patty, bacon, american cheese and on the side for you to put on yourself ranch dressing in a vat, lettuce and tomato. the sides switched but the best was oven baked mac and cheese - best lunch ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. FoodieJaponica Jun 12, 2010 04:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Having gone to school in Japan, I was blessed with perfectly balanced school lunches everyday (no substitutions allowed; everyone got the same exact thing).
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't pick the "best" but the most interesting, I believe, would be whale steak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                    sisterfunkhaus Jun 12, 2010 01:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I went to a VERY small high school everything was scratch there. Their chicken fried steak, homemade mashed potatos and gravy, and their divine rolls come to mind. I loved the Frito pie and salisbury steak. All of the cookies were good. don't get me started on the ranger cookies. The lasagna was surprisingly good even thought they put cheddar in it. I still dream about the veggie soup and hot ham and cheese sandwiches wrapped in sheets of foil. I think the very best thing they served was the peach cobbler.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                      nooyawka Jun 9, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Plain, but very yummy cheeseburgers and the most amazing, yet common tater tots. Have not found anything outside to match this winning combo. So simple, and yet so darn good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nooyawka
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Barbarainnc Jun 11, 2010 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I remember the chocolate chip cookies and yeast rolls from the high school where I taught. I asked one of the cooks to give me the recipes and she did. :) :) :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. i
                                                                                                                                                                                                        igorm Jun 5, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In Dallas during the late 50's, the best Boston cream pie and fresh made white rolls. Everyone made pigs of themselves with these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. i
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Island Jun 4, 2010 09:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          college. Defrosted frozen sugary strawberries mixed with canned pineapple chunks or sliced banana.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Caroline1 Jun 4, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The very best thing any school cafeteria I've ever eaten in served was sloppy joes when I was in the 7th and 8th grade. FANTABULOUS!!! Then the lady who made the filling didn't work there any more when I reached the 9th grade. A very sad thing. I have tried a gazillion recipes, every sloppy joe mix and can on the market, and nothing in this world approaches those. Like everything else from my youth, things are plowed under, dug up, paved over, torn down, rebuilt, and NOTHING is right any more. <sigh> Maybe someday I'll go to Sloppy Joe heaven... '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                                                                                                              FoodFuser Jun 9, 2010 12:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I share your frustration, as I have tried in vain to really duplicate my Mom's simple dish of "Swiss steak"

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is possible that a tweak yet to be considered is the grade and size of the grind of the beef? Since it was a commodity based program, could the chewy texture have been provided by a "utilty" or "canner" grade of ground meat? And could the grind have been very coarse?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Try this just one time, to keep the chalice of the holy grail suspended over your kitchen: Ask the butcher to grind a few pounds of a "select" grade round, and to grind it as "chili meat" (the 3/8 inch plate on the grinder}.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I hope youi'll email me regarding this somewhat common quest twixt Swiss steak and Sloppy Joes. I am phonetically challenged, and cannot extract your email from your profile. Mine is a cut and paste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hope to hear from you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Beckyleach May 11, 2010 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In grade school in the '60's, almost everything was good when we had an on-site cafeteria. I especially remember the "swiss steak" and macaroni and cheese. In one high school, we had wonderful cooks who made really good "Hillbilly" food (pinto beans, green beans, chicken and dumplings, stewed tomatoes) and--best of all--enormous, buttery potato flour rolls the size of a salad plate, for a nickel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The two schools where the food was either bused in on hospital style trays (YUCK. Everything was cold but the milk was, strangely, warm) or pre-processed (pizza, tator tots, the whole nasty FDA menu hit my senior year of high school) were bad memories, otoh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. buttertart May 11, 2010 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                London South Secondary School, London, Ont., Canada, early 1970's. Red jello with Cool Whip. "Diet" plate with cottage cheese and canned fruit. Other food was decidedly unmemorable - they managed to produce the only french fries I ever met that I didn't like (drowned in ketchup and giving off a nasty smell). I used to brown bag it almost all the time - my mom was a great cook and we were not exactly rollong in dough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Shann May 10, 2010 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Elementary School was chicken and biscuits. Just shredded chicken, gravy and homemade biscuits. The two women who were the cooks cooked the chcken and made the gravy. (I went to an elementary school with less than 50 kids, so pretty much everything was really homemade).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  High School - Ham Boy (some kind of reconstituted ham patty) on a bun with tater tots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Looking back, I'd still love some of my elementary school food; the high school stuff wasn't very good at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shann
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tullius May 10, 2010 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Funny lately i've been thinking a lot about the yeast rolls my school made & how to reproduce them. They were the kind that filled the trays touching each other so the sides were crustless & they rose SO high!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Younger folks missed out. I hear school lunches are all processed foods reheated now days. But in the beginnings of the hot lunch program there were giant bags of flour, huge blocks of cheese, & other commodities. The cooks were mainly our mothers. Sure we had more than our share of pigs in a blanket but the blanket was made from scratch & there was always a great dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I grew up in a neighborhood filled with 2nd generation Italians, Mexicans, Czechs & Poles so we had some great lunches that introduced me to a range of cuisines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jhopp217 May 10, 2010 09:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A grilled plain bagel (that was about as greasy and buttery as something can be) with bacon and cheese. It was a wonderfully unhealthy way to start the day and of the 500 kids who went to the school, I'd say at least half had that for breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. roxlet May 10, 2010 12:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I brought my lunch since my Italian family didn't believe that there could be anything worth eating in the school cafeteria, but the one thing I did buy was dessert, and my favorite thing that they seemed to have almost every day was Boston Cream Pie. It was delicious with a shiny chocolate ganache-like frosting on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. dragonlady63 May 8, 2010 01:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the early 70's the best thing my elementary school served up was creamed turkey over mashed potatoes. Mmm. My older sister, already the gourmand, was in junior high and missed the meal. She had me get the recipe, so the cafeteria lady pared down the recipe to serve 64! Foolishly, I handed over the recipe to my sister and it has vanished from my world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          swoll50 Jan 4, 2010 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i had the same thing every single day for 3 years in HS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, corn, 2 rolls and a 2% milk for $1.60

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. maria lorraine Jan 3, 2010 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kirkwood, Missouri, early to late 1960s, elementary and middle school:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            First off, the expression "cafeteria lady arms" came from the the ladies who served us
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and who always had so much loose flesh on the underside of their arms that it literally swang to and fro while dishing food items.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the *definitive* macaroni and cheese -- lots of extra sauce on top browned under the broiler.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is what I am for everytime when I make it, although with gourmet ingredients.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tater tots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            mashed potatoes with a well of brown gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            shepherd's pie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sloppy joes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mississippi Mud cookies -- chocolate cookies with oats, crushed pretzels, etc. Probably a refrigerator cookie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            canned peaches and canned pears

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              eruditess Jan 3, 2010 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My husband reminded me to add the homemade peanut butter cookies, yum! And the school lunchroom was the first place I encountered rice krispy treats, wow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                eruditess Jan 3, 2010 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1960's-'70's Southeast Ga, elementary school at recess (any one remember recess?) they sold homemade popsicles, they were either orange or grape juice (the real thing) frozen in small paper dixie cups with sticks in them. Everyone loved the sloppy joes; I've tried again and again to replicate with no luck. Other recurring favorite foods in this thread, our sweet rolls and yeast rolls were to die for.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Absolutely HATED the homemade pizzas though-- thick, limp crust, CHEDDAR CHEESE (didn't melt properly) and hamburger meat. [shudder!]
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Junior high school, I didn't eat lunch at all. Only options were the school food or brown bag, we attended a very remote rural school. I was told someone found a pantyhose tag in the Shepard's pie, I couldn't force myself to even go into the lunchroom there!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                High school, one of my favs was some kind of stew beef and gravy over rice. I don't know how they got the meat soooo tender, but it was always very good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was considered weird, I liked the stewed prunes and the limp salad (iceburg lettuce and tomatoes with mayonnaise dressing)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. YAYME Nov 15, 2009 03:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Deli sandwhichs! We'd get to choose our own cold cuts,and rolls. It was heaven. We'd line up around the block on deli day!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Beckyleach Nov 9, 2009 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Home made rolls: big, plump, tender...tasted like giant Parker House rolls. Five cents each, baby! Uhmmmm :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      trixie67 Nov 9, 2009 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow! Thought I was the only crazy that STILL craved food from my high school cafeteria...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Cheese pizza slice with salsa verde on top- my school made a great cheese slice and my friends and I started adding the salsa verde to it... The tangy bite of the sauce really complimented the greasy goodness of the cheese...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I was a cheerleader and we practiced after school. So we would get the hot chocolate chip cookies baked for the next day and put a scoop of raw cookie dough on top. The dough would melt like icing! So good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. cassoulady Oct 28, 2009 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        without a doubt, the cigarettes I bummed from the cafeteria ladies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cassoulady
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jtothe Nov 8, 2009 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You know those boneless rib shaped ground mystery meat patties, served on a hoaggie. Damn those were good! I think my palette wouldn't agree today, but back in highschool, they kicked ass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. stellamystar Oct 5, 2009 07:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          it was made clear by my stay at home mom that she was not into making lunches for me to take to school..so, meal tickets here I come.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          80s/90s midwestern suburb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They had the un PC "g****** grinder" on the menu! Can you believe that. Not sure if I can say that word on Chow.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My New England mother told me never to say that word, but why would it be on the lunch menu, I wondered? It was a favorite of mine, racist or not.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also fav's - steak fingers, roasted chicken, and the salad bar (I loaded my plate w/ cottage cheese, ranch dressing, ham cubes, and cucumbers)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We never had dessert as it was extra cost ..cookies were not included. Sad!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: stellamystar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            horseshoe Oct 6, 2009 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Elementry school, They made Texas goulash. It was good. Never heard of it outside that school in Irving Texas. High school, Fried burritos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stellamystar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              alkapal Oct 22, 2009 05:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              stella, now i'm wondering....what is g*******? gonads? goolies?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                maplesugar Oct 22, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                alkapal it's an old (and AFAIK little used)derogatory name for a person of Italian decent... (ok even I can't type it) in another context it's a small furry animal bigger than a hamster called a "G_______ Pig"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maplesugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  michele cindy Oct 22, 2009 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought it was a word that rhymed with Bingo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: maplesugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alkapal Oct 23, 2009 05:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i had to think hard, because growing up in sw florida, we were limited in the ethnic slurs (i can only think of two that i heard -- and not in my family --).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i wonder how the term "guinea" came to be a slur of italians, anyhow? ah...let us refer to the "racial slur database." http://racialslurs.org/search?q=immig... """Pronounced "gi-nee." Came from "Guinea Negro" and originally referred to any Black or any person of mixed ancestry. This dates back to the 1740's. By the 1890s it was being applied to Italians--almost certainly because they tend to have darker skin than Anglo-Saxons/Germans. By 1911 the term began being applied to Hispanics, although the reference to Italians is the most common. Derived from Sicilian immigrants who paid in Italian currency, Guineas. Used in the film 'True Romance' as separate from WOPs from Northern Italy, and in The Godfather by a Northern Italian character when referring to Southern Italians and Sicilians.""""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    a-may-zing!!!! do people still use these terms?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    stella, re-reading your post, i'm quite astonished that they actually wrote "guinea grinder" ON THE SCHOOL MENU???!!!!! wow! and that was in the '80s and '90s? in "enlightened" (cough cough ;-) new england? wow again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lulubelle Oct 23, 2009 06:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She said her mom was from New England, but she went to school in a Midwestern suburb. It's kind of funny actually, because I'm Midwestern, about the same age, and that's a term I never heard used. My neighborhood was heavily Italian, and there were some derogatory terms, but that was not one of them. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say it--I've read it sure, but never heard it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lulubelle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alkapal Oct 23, 2009 06:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        lulubelle, thanks for the correction. i think the ethnic slurs would've been more prevalent in cities (vs. small towns), where there was a diverse ethnic population. maybe that's why i didn't hear much of that business growing up, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tullius May 10, 2010 03:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In Des Moines there are many Italian restaurants that feature a guinea grinder on the menu, though in recent years some have changed this to Italian grinder. These are restaurants that are owned by Italian Americans, people I know personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This goes back to Jeannie DePhillips (of Italian descent tho her name appears anglicized), a local restauranteur now deceased, who introduced the sandwich to the masses at the Iowa State Fair. It remains a favorite there, though since her death it has been renamed the Jeannie Grinder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I can only assume she used the name as a way to take the sting out of the slur by using it herself similar to the way African Americans use the N-word. Perhaps it worked. In all the years I lived in the area I never heard the G-word used to describe a person, only a sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tullius
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            stellamystar Aug 30, 2010 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And...we're back. I took a chowhound break for like...a year.... Tullius wins this one!- this lovely grinder was on the West Des Moines School menu in 1987. True story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                polish_girl Oct 5, 2009 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember good food in my 1970's Polish grammar/middle school combo (1-8grade), no cafeteria in HS-you brought your own sandwiches.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember several big, scary looking ladies,dressed in white cotton uniforms. But boy, did they cook well. They made homemade soups (sour pickle and tomato were the best), pierogi, various noodles, roasted chickens, to die for goulash and one of our favorites-hard boiled eggs in sweet and sour dill gravy with mashed potatoes. But what really stands out in my memory is a plate of mashed potatoes with kidneys in gravy. The best I would ever have in my life so far....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  EdwardAdams Oct 5, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wednesday was chili beans with whole wheat French bread baked especially at the local bakery. Yummy and healthy too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alidrum Oct 4, 2009 03:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    McIntosh Junior High, Sarasota FL, early '70's..Fridays were my favorite day, fish filets, cheese grits (loved them) and the best biscuits..dense, flat things that for some reason I just adored. I usually would have 2 or more since nobody seemed to like them. I also have fond memories of the pre-holiday turkey lunches...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      AngelSanctuary Oct 4, 2009 12:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hot Chocolate...made by Nestle...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh their roasted lemon potatoes were great...I'm not sure it's two dollars great though. Their scalloped potatoes weren't bad either...but they only served it with the main (which usually sucked) and hamburger toppings they called a salad with this watery crap they called a ranch dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And this is why most of the students rather brave the Canadian winter and eat at...McDonalds...=/, that was the better alternative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Soop Oct 1, 2009 03:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chocolate concrete. Spam fritters started out good, then became a little too much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. y
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeat the bun Sep 24, 2009 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          All of us "idiots" searching the web for school cafe food that we loved and still remember should write/contribute to a book. I went to school in Mass., and I crave a few recipes that appear to be "lost." I read other postings from around the globe and it appears to be the same case. A regional school cafe recipe book seems to be in order. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Yeat the bun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            calalilly Sep 25, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's actually a great idea!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: calalilly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              HillJ Sep 25, 2009 09:33 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This school recipe resource will help you get started!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps what is more appealing is a school cafe recipe book with portions adjusted!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Yeat the bun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              bbqboy Sep 25, 2009 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Iowa Pizza!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gigi007 Sep 20, 2009 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LOL, I can barely remember anything served in my h.s. cafeteria. I always looked forward to pizza day. What I often think about is what they served in my college cafeteria. A lot of times we needed help identifying the food, so I was more than happy to make a dinner of Captain Crunch cereal and ice cream!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                CookieWeasel Sep 20, 2009 01:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Public elementary school in L.A. in the 50's... Definitely the great big sugar cookies. They were delicious! I think we called them Flying Saucers. Then I went to Catholic school, and there was no cafeteria at all. Oh, how I missed those cookies!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. DarthEater Sep 19, 2009 08:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Growing up in NYC in the 80's, I always looked forward to lunchtime in elementary school. My parents would never let me have anything but chinese food under their control, but school was fine as long as it was free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My favorites:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fried chicken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Boat" pizza/ round pizza
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sloppy joes with taco shell on the side
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  buttered rice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  beef stew!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  breaded chicken parmigan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tator tots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  beef patty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  old fashion donuts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wished my school serve soup but they never did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tusti Sep 19, 2009 04:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Meatloaf and gravy bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Popkin Sep 15, 2009 09:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In elementary school, it was haystacks (tortilla chips and various toppings) and baked potatoes. High school my favourites were pizza (greasy and delicious), and vegetarian corn dogs (they were really sweet).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Each day a different class sold lunch to raise money for that class's various projects and field trips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Diane in Bexley Sep 15, 2009 02:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Soft, gooey snickerdoodle cookies (sugar & cinnamon). I wish I had a nickel for every lunch I had in middle/high school of snickerdoodles and chocolate milkshakes (nothing else!). What a complete, balanced meal!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jeanmarieok Sep 14, 2009 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No bake cookies (melted butter/cocoa/peanut butter/sugar/oats all stirred together) and apple crisp. I don't know why I though the apple crisp was so good, but it's still my benchmark for good apple crisp. Also, they had remarkably good turkey/chicken stuffing. It was really light, and kind of souffle like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal Sep 14, 2009 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dang, now i'm cravin' turkey and dressing!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              calalilly Sep 14, 2009 02:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Alkapal, now I am too! I even just tried to search for a restaurant in my area that would service it this time of year, but I think I'm out of luck unless I get my better half to make it for me this weekend!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              spellweaver16 Sep 15, 2009 09:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh lordy, I loved the apple crisp at my school cafeteria, too! I have no idea how they did it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LJS Sep 10, 2009 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              High school: St. John's, Newfoundland: best beef burgers EVER with really great, greasily, delicious grilled onions...man, our breath must have blown away the first teacher we faced after lunch on burger day!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              University: Victoria College (U of Toronto) Wymilwood cafeteria: the most delicious mince pie (my husband who I met in that cafeteria) tells me it was just at Christmas, but I remember eating it every day of my university life and remaining 115 lbs!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LJS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                calalilly Sep 11, 2009 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I grew up in Northern California and went to an elementary school with less than 300 kids. The lunch ladies used to make turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy from scratch once a month. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My younger sister ended up going to a very small (under 200) private elementary school in SF years later and she used to rave about their homemade pizzas in the cafeteria. Her 5th grade class even had a cheese making seminar with someone's parent and made fresh mozellera for their pizza day once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: calalilly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal Sep 14, 2009 05:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  calalilly, i'd forgotten about the turkey dinners! i grew up in s.w. florida, and our lunch ladies were good southern cooks. i can still eat a turkey, dressing, gravy and taters dish any time of the year. it makes me happy! (esp. with some wiggly cranberry jelly).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                lergnom Sep 9, 2009 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Milk. They sold milk and that was all that was edible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. The Professor Sep 9, 2009 01:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I went to school in central NJ in the mid/late 60's. The school cafeteria lunches we had were actually of quite good quality in general, since they didn't resort to instant potatoes, or heavily processed food in general. It was good, wholesome, home-style food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But the standout I best remember is the once or twice a month Wednesday spaghetti lunch. Now, I know spaghetti doesn't sound special, but the meat sauce they served on the pasta was extraordinarily good... made fresh on premises and incredibly delicious...and every bit as good as the best ragu bolognese I've ever had in ANY good Italian restaurant (and better than some of them).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Professor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    HollyDolly Sep 9, 2009 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Can't remember too much about my school food.The only thing I do recall is the enchiladas at James madison Elementary School in San Antonio.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wendsdays were always mexican food days,but I love the enchiladas the best,still do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Cats Other Mother Sep 9, 2009 01:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I remember liking cafeteria food up till about junior high, after which things got mediocre to downright gross. The one thing that springs instantly to mind, though, is the yeast rolls. I used to sneak into the lunchroom during recess to do some light chores in exchange for one right out of the oven. MMMmmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. tcamp Sep 9, 2009 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The grilled cheese and even that wasn't very good. The funny thing was that all of the white bread sandwiches were on the hot tray with the cafeteria lady behind. If you asked for whole wheat, she'd pick one out and flip it over onto your plate. The back side of the sandwich was whole wheat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This was LA beach cities, second half of the 70's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        SonyBob Sep 7, 2009 08:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I replied last November re: donuts at college but I got to thinking when this popped up again. In the 40's, Overland Park Grade School served, I think on Thursdays, chipped beef on toast and creamed spinach with little pieces of egg in it. Nobody really liked the chipped beef and everyone despised the creamed spinach. I really liked the beef and I LOVED the spinich. Because I was the only one that liked that stuff, I ate like a king. Everybody gave me some of their beef and all of their spinach! Those were good times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: SonyBob
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          bbqboy Sep 14, 2009 07:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          SB, funny. When I think of grade school lunches, the chipped beef stands out in my memories too, along with the square pizza. Maybe it was WWII chipped beef stored in the caves, since
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I went to Roesland and then Old Mission and SMN a good 10-15 years later and they were stilll serving it. I remember the spinich with hard boiled eggs too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We too had fish on Friday. Cathoic strongholds!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bbqboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            SonyBob Sep 19, 2009 09:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I graduated from SMN in 1960. Think Allen's after school for french fries and cruising Winsteads (cherry limeaids and frosties). Oh yeah, Smacks and Hank Bauers, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bbqboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              tomatoaday Jan 5, 2010 03:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I went to Marsha Bagby in Leawood, late 60's, early 70's - square pizza, chocolate cake, spaghetti. I remember the scoops of mashies and iridescent yellow gravy too. I worked in the kitchen for free lunches and the LL were great. Mrs. Yergzees and others would let the workers eat whatever they wanted and big candy cane sticks at Christmas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. theferlyone Sep 7, 2009 07:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My initial reaction was "nothing", but I did manage to remember a few gems. My elementary school in PA had a breakfast pizza on French bread that I crave to this day (about 20 years later). It was just sausage, cheese, and some kind of white sauce, but it was delicious. My elementary school in FL gets a nod for always having good salads with your choice of ham, tuna, or turkey. Middle school in CT was largely disappointing, but they always had some kind of soup, and most of them were decent. High school had a great veggie lasagna. Pretty short highlights list for 12 years of my life...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. steve h. Sep 7, 2009 06:36 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. bagelman01 Sep 7, 2009 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Home(school)Made Rhode Island Clam Chowder for 5Cents............
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most school lunches were pretty bad, but in Jr High School there was one cook who made all the soups from scratch. At that time 1966-8 a full Type A Hot lunch was 35 cents, but soup was 5 cents ala carte.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, on Fridays I'd spend my 35 cents for 7 cups of chowder.................
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It was heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The other really good edible was the spaghetti in meat sauce. The on-site made Boognese was better than most I've had since. Turns out the cook worked days at the school for the health benefits for her family and cooked noghts and weekends at her familiy's Italian Restaurant on Wooster Street in New Haven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In grade school, we went home for lunch, no cafeteria. Whe I got to High School, everything cam from a central commisary and NOTHING was edible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  alkapal Sep 8, 2009 08:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ""So, on Fridays I'd spend my 35 cents for 7 cups of chowder.................
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was heaven."""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  a true young chowhound!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Emma47 Sep 7, 2009 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Elementary school cafeteria in the late 50s: they made huge pans of berry cobbler with thick crumbly crust on top. I volunteered in the cafeteria so I could have extra.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. bushwickgirl Sep 7, 2009 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I once walked through the school kitchen right before lunch and there wa a 20-gal steam jacketed kettle full of cherry pie filling. I wanted to jump in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In a word, pizza burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      schrutefarms Sep 6, 2009 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I grew up in SoCal-I used to volunteer to work in the cafeteria on Chicken Fried Steak day, so I could eat as much of that and the mashed potatos that it came with. (This was strictly in elementary school-I wouldn't be caught dead working in the cafeteria in HS) My HS actually made the cafeteria a no mans land, because not only were we allowed to leave campus for lunch (the beach was about 1/2 mile away), but they also had Pizza Hut and Subway on campus. And Taco Bell too, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        schmoopy Sep 4, 2009 06:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        SoCal, San Gabriel Valley, elementary school in the 60s... tacos! They were actually quite similar to the Jack in the Box tacos, very greasy but oh so good! I still remember getting the monthly cafeteria menu and circling the days that they served tacos. Otherwise, I brought my lunch in my cute little Barbie lunchbox. High school in the 70s... our cafeteria served the best "peanut butter chews", a delicious, peanutty, slightly greasy concoction made of corn flakes and peanut butter, etc. , (think rice krispy square). They also had terrific chocolate chip cookies. I had one every day... aah, memories!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Midlife Sep 4, 2009 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          'Best' is not necessarily appropriate, as I don't recall anything being really good in any way. I think I probably had something close to 500 tuna salad sandwiches in my Bayside, New York high school cafeteria. It's the only thing I remember......... had pickles in it. Mines much better these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kb8240 Sep 4, 2009 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            From elementary school, I vividly recall mashed potatoes w/ flourescent yellow gravy that I liked a lot. (But am disturbed by now!) Also the BEST mexican pizza, shaped like an octagon w/ cheese that was a very unnatural shade of orange.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kb8240
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              deibu Sep 4, 2009 11:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Every Friday our elem. school cafeteria rotated the menu serving either rectangular slices of sausage pizza or those octagons - they were called "fiestadas".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. MsDiPesto Sep 4, 2009 10:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              60s - Catholic elementary school, low budget, no cafeteria, brought our own.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              60s - Public Junior High, cafeteria food, tater tots, salisbury steak, etc, I had no taste so I ate it all, except the fish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              69 - 72; High School - open campus. Went to Carrols every day with a g/f for grilled cheese and a soda. The low, tiled roof of the cafeteria was covered with those little square cardboard mats that butter pats came on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. CeeQueue Sep 4, 2009 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Toasted raisin bread with real butter. I always got the end pieces and asked for them well toasted. Mmmmmmm. The only other thing that was any good was the mashed potatoes -- real with actual lumps (though possibly topped up with instant). I lived on fries and gravy back then, though. Maybe that's why I still don't mind dark brown gravy from a mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was in the mid-'70s. My junior high cafetorium had rubber fries that they brought in already cooked, and hockey puck burgers on stale buns. Ate the fries anyway...but wouldn't touch those burgers. The best thing in that little servery was a bag of potato chips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. LeahBaila Sep 4, 2009 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cheese enchiladas w/ red chile sauce, Mexican rice, fideo.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. alkapal Sep 4, 2009 04:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sloppy joes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Honeychan Sep 3, 2009 10:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In elementary school, in Burbank CA, (in the mid 70's) our school made fantastic chocolate chip cookies. Warm and fresh, we'd run down as soon as the bell rang, to make sure we got them! Sloppy Joes were always good, as well. I still mainly took lunch from home, tho

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Junior high, once a week on Fridays, we got Taco Bell! That was the only day worth eating there, as the cafeteria's food was just BLECH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      High school for me was an open campus, so we could eat all the horrid fast food we could manage. BUT! Going for breakfast was really good, they did a great french toast, and the cookies were still good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yup, we had some cranky lunch ladies at our place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cycloneillini Sep 3, 2009 07:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Iowa in the 70's; relatively large junior and high school. After reading all of this I realized that I cannot remember one single thing I ate for lunch in six years. I do remember having a glazed doughnut and chocolate milk almost every single day for breakfast in high school. Senior year we left campus every day for lunch - those were the good old days. It's was McD's or Shakey's Pizza buffet almost every day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          alissers Sep 3, 2009 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The best thing at my high school's cafeteria was the shepherd's pie and the poutine! The chow mein was horrible *shudders*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            TomSwift Sep 3, 2009 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A 60 cent pastrami sandwich, in the same vein but (IIRC, it was a long time ago) much better than Johnnies or the Hat here in SoCal. Very thin sliced on a french roll with mustard and lots of sap. A couple of those and an ice cream sandwich made my day. 60 cents was a lot of dough back in the mid 60's so I guess that $9.00 for the same thing ( but inferior) today isn't unreasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mpjmph Sep 3, 2009 08:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I remember being in 5th grade and looking forward to middle school because they served pizza everyday instead of just Fridays. I loved that pizza, in retrospect it was pretty gross. Rectangular shaped slices cut from a giant sheet pan, plastic-y cheese with paste-like sausage/sauce combination underneath. Usually with a french fries and fruit cocktail as my "vegetables."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In high school we had Domino's pizza delivered daily, $2/slice. Starting in 11th grade we were allowed to leave campus for lunch (w/ parental permission and good grades), and I rarely ate cafeteria food after that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In college the food was reasonably good for mass-produced institutional food. My favorite was the stir-fry bar - basically a Mongolian-BBQ style counter, pick whatever vegetables you want from the mini salad bar then hand the plate to the cook and tell him what protein and sauce you wanted. I had that for lunch 3-4 times a week, to the point that the cook and I were on a first name basis and he knew my "usual." The desserts were also very good, especially the hand scooped ice cream bar featuring Breyer's. Is it any wonder kids gain weight their first year away?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                SonyBob Nov 15, 2008 06:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The yeast donuts served at the student union cafeteria at Kansas State University in the 60's. Like Kryspy Kream fresh out of the cooker. Tthey made the mistake of placing them at the front of the line so we could jam down three or four and only pay for one!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. madgreek Nov 15, 2008 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Combo's. That's all I can remember liking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I grew up in the 80's and 90's in Ohio public schools. The food sucked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. v
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    vtnewbie Nov 14, 2008 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Time, 1970s. Public school in southern Indiana.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Homemade bread pudding with cinnamon sauce. So very very good. Can't duplicate it even today. Must have been something about the huge quantities they made - large containers cooking up different than traditional home cookware. The cinnamon sauce (butter, sugar, cinnamon, "weeping" of the pudding) was quite runny - maddeningly so. I wanted to be able to get more of it to stick to each bite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Midwest chili soup with spaghetti noodles (NOT Cincinnati chili). Either my 3rd grade teacher or I would remember to bring in a bottle of tabasco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And served by nice ladies who it seemed liked kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. steinpilz Nov 12, 2008 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What immediately comes to mind is hot dogs or pork chops with very fragrant sauerkraut, it probably wasn't the best thing but it left an impression. This would have been at a boys school in the 60s, we had a wounded WW2 war veteran teacher who had special soy sauce (new to young me) provided for some dishes -- pork chops as I recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Later on, at a different school, the cafeteria had an annual meal with chitlins and collard greens -- that was a shocker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stillwater Girl Nov 12, 2008 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Slabs of sausage pizza. Only the sausage though, not cheese or pepperoni, it wasn't as good. It was a thin, slightly undercooked rectangle covered in this weird tasting cheese with ground sausage all over it (not pieces of sausage, but a layer of sausage). I distinctly remember dabbing at the pools of grease with a napkin, as if that made a difference. I crave that awful stuff to this day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Stillwater Girl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          zammdogg Aug 5, 2010 09:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Funny, when I was a kid in the 4th grade, this was a similar treat- those rectangles of pizza with exactly two slices of pepperoni on each. The crust tasted like Pillsbury breadsticks and was stuffed with cheese. Solid cheese, like slightly warm cheese sticks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Never have I had such good stuffed crust pizza! I've tried to make it, but that was a veritable log of cheese. I've never been able to emulate its greasy goodness!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hue Nov 12, 2008 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sloppy Joes with potato chips, always hit the spot and Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup on Fridays and the ubiqutious seckel pears in the fall!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. michele cindy Nov 11, 2008 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There were these things they called "Bacon Burgers" It seemed to be finely ground up bacon, breaded and fried served on a bun, with shredded lettuce and some kind of sauce. Has anyone ever heard of these? Never saw it other then my late 70's HS years, at Union High, (NJ).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: michele cindy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              chope Sep 3, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes I use to like them believe it or not and I use to be able to buy around here. I can't now if anyone knows where they can be purchased PLEASE let me know

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chope
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Robertr Sep 30, 2009 07:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seconded. I found Chowhounds today due to my semi-annual search for the elusive "bacon burger patty" from my grade school days. Just finding people who know what they are is closer than I have come in the last decade of searching.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Robertr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Clarkafella Sep 30, 2009 07:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow, this is starting to sound like a cult!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Clarkafella
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    michele cindy Sep 30, 2009 09:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, cult of the faux (?) bacon burger. Someone just has to find out the recipe. Report back bacon burger searchers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: chope
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yeatthebun Nov 5, 2009 04:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chope, It seems a bunch of us are on the quest for "Bacon Burgers" from our school daze. All our "Bacon Burger" posts are getting lost in this giant thread. I like the fact that a few have suggested that we are a cult..."Cult of the Faux Bacon Burger." (That's funny, Clarkafella.) Vermette's Market in Amesbury Mass. sold them until last year. I would buy 20 patties at a time and freeze them. I was recently told that "they," their source, stopped making them. I am still on the quest. I am glad to hear that the great "Bacon Burger" made it way to New Jersey schools during the 70's according to a prior post. Chope, were did you buy them from?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Bill Hunt Nov 10, 2008 04:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For me, it was the yeast rolls. These are still the ones, by which all others will be judged. Yes, the palate was young, but they had everything right and they did them on large cookie sheets. Now, if only we had been provided with real butter! Heck, I might have stayed back a grade, or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The rest? Nothing that I'd ever want to encounter again.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  James Cristinian Sep 4, 2009 01:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phantom reply Bill, but what wine did you enjoy with the rolls?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. al b. darned Nov 9, 2008 11:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My favorite school hot lunchs (in the 60's) were shepherd's pie and American Chop Suey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I still make their version of shepherd's pie today: a layer of seasoned ground beef, a layer of corn, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked until the potatoes turned brown and crispy on top. Comfort Food at it's best. DW even requests it, tho she never had it until I served it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. JenBoes Nov 9, 2008 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I must have had undeveloped taste buds back then but I thought about everything my school cafeteria served tasted good: flying saucers, spaghetti, pizza, chicken nuggets, open face turkey and gravy sandwiches, salisbury steak . . . and that stuff that looked like mashed potatoes until you stuck your fork in and realized it was some type of sticky rice. Or maybe I was just really hungry then????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. coney with everything Nov 9, 2008 04:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      All girl Catholic HS in Biloxi MS my senior year, IIRC there was hot lunch on Fridays only. My introduction to po' boys and red beans & rice came from that experience!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Prior to that, Kaiserslautern American HS in Germany--K-town High Pizza Pie! My friends and I would figure out who had their last morning class closest to the cafeteria and they would bolt as soon as the bell rang to get a place in line because they'd sell out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It was mostly American food there but I seem to recall the occasional bratwurst on brotchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Kate is always hungry Nov 8, 2008 11:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I went to school (K through first half semester of 6th grade) in Chicago. My school had no cafeteria. Lunch was eaten at home, Henry's Hamburgers, or some local coffee shop. It was quite the shock when I started school in the San Fernando Valley. I lived very close to home, about a five minute walk, but could not leave without a special dispensation from the principal. The best thing at my new school was a dish of roast beef chunks and gravy over mashed potatoes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In junior high it was something called spaghetti but it was really macaroni and beef. If you were too far back in line, it was sold out and wouldn't be served again for a month or more. My high school had the same dish. Same availability issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In college, the cafeteria manager was Greek and her specialty was something she called "Greek Burgers." They were served on a roll more substantial than a hamburger bun and was topped by a Greek salsa-like concoction

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. lulubelle Nov 8, 2008 07:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Our school lunch room served "chili, chips and cheese" which was a pile of fritos covered in canned chili and smothered in cheese sauce (not nacho sauce, this was of that consistency, but not spicy) God It was good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They also served a thickish pizza with a side of tater tots. I wish they served tater tots at the school where I work now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. w
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wayne keyser Nov 8, 2008 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course we complained at the time - but darn, they baked their own hamburger rolls! My brother works at a school cafeteria now, and you wouldn't believe how dreadful the food is (outa the box, into the fryer, onto the plate)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nearlywild Nov 8, 2008 03:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I always loved their chicken a la king. It wasn't meant to be the main dish but I would always skip what ever the main protein was and put a big scoop of rice and chicken a l king on the tray. I also liked their grits for breakfast. I would get a bowl of grits and a pack of Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                littledishes Nov 8, 2008 02:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember the pizza, rolls and the sugary peanut butter sandwiches served with chili.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. krisrishere Nov 8, 2008 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I went to such a small high school that we didn't really have a school lunch program. Monday and Wednesdays was pizza from a local pizzeria, Tuesdays was nachos, Thursdays were McDonalds and Fridays (the BEST day) was chicken nuggets with rolls from a local grocery store. We would always run out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My husbands answers: Chicken Patty Sandwiches! Processed chicken in a patty form served on a bun. Also, "Elsie's Pasta Bar". You could choose from 4 different types of pasta and 4 different sauces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  These school lunches were in the 80's/90's in Connecticut. Funny enough, I now work in a school cafeteria as a Catering Coordinator. I get to experience all of the school lunches I missed out on while growing up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    libgirl2 Nov 8, 2008 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My hot lunches in middle school were horrific with the exception of Peanut Butter Fudge! As long as the corn relish in the tray (they were pre-packaged) didn't leak onto it. Even if it did we worked it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In HS, we mainly ate from the junk food line. Honeybuns, shakes, Hostess snacks, chips..... I think I ate hot lunch once in 4 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      silvergirl Nov 8, 2008 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      peanutbutter & honey sandwiches. for some reason, we had them with chili and it's a good thing - the chili was vile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        lgss Nov 8, 2008 05:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Big cinnamon rolls! Some of us would spend our lunch money on those instead of the regular lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Tonka Nov 8, 2008 02:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Weiner Toasties. A slice of buttered white bread wrapped around a hot dog and baked. Anyone in the Minneapolis school district in the 70's and 80's will remember these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tonka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jules1026 Nov 8, 2008 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Didn't these also include a slice of surplus american cheese? At least at my outstate MN high school they did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jules1026
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tonka Nov 9, 2008 07:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We did not have the american cheese. But that is a nice addition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Tonka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Phillip J Sep 3, 2009 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              we had them In Waukesha, WI-mid 70's, they were called 'Weiner Winks' on our school menu. -no cheese

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Divamac Aug 24, 2008 09:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I went to Catholic HS in Philadelphia in the 80's and brown-bagged it most days. But in the mornings they had the best vanilla and chocolate glazed donuts I've ever had. Every once in a while I smell fried dough and sugar and it takes me right back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Luwak Aug 24, 2008 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cinnamon rolls. I attended elementary school in a small town in the Pacific Northwest in the sixties. Our cafeteria served food that was generally better than average, I suppose. The sloppy joes were a favorite, but nothing compared to the cinnamon rolls, made fresh from scratch. Unaccountably, they were served with a bowl of chili con carne (also made from scratch). The mystical connection between cinnamon rolls and chili persists to this day for me and many of my classmates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Luwak
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  spellweaver16 Nov 9, 2008 04:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They did the same thing at every school I ever went to! And I went to a few. It was always a cinnamon roll or cinnamon knot with the chili. I'm as mystified by it as you are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pickypicky Aug 23, 2008 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beans and cornbread. Birdwell Elementary, Tyler TX early 1960's. Everybody else liked the Frito Pie, but I was a purist, even then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jeanmarieok Aug 23, 2008 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No-bake cookies, and apple crisp. I have found a couple of recipes for the cookies, but I'm afraid to try it, and ruin the memory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      malibumike Aug 23, 2008 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Believe it or not, the best thing I had was at University High School in West Los Angeles back about 1960; Sloppy Joes served on hamburger buns, somewhat sweet with a tang to it, I have never been able to duplicate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: malibumike
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sam Fujisaka Aug 23, 2008 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, yes, I forgot to add sloppy joes to my list--just as you describe them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And how are things in Mali, Mr Bumike? Been some time since I've seen one of your posts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whosyerkitty Aug 23, 2008 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shortbread/sugar cookies. The ones with three giant "finger prints". They were marketed here (Chicago) years later as "Schoolhouse Cookies" in individual packages but I haven't seen them for awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They served instant mashed potatoes with everything. Even pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: malibumike
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Antilope May 13, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          USDA Sloppy Joes on roll for 50 and 100 servings from 1988

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          corgette Aug 23, 2008 06:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My junior high school had the best apple crisp as I remember it. I would go home and try to recreate it, which is what put me on the path to baking early on. I'm sure it was just canned apples, but the oatmeal crumbly top was so damned good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was so uncool to buy lunch when I was 12, but I loved it. People looked at me strangely "you're gonna eat that?" kind of looks, but it was divine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: corgette
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sam Fujisaka Aug 23, 2008 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Canned apples? There is such a thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              phoenikia Aug 23, 2008 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's how people preserve their apples on the Prairies;) Canned apples are much tastier than a mealy apples that have been sitting around for a 6+ months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                corgette Aug 23, 2008 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ahh, they're a Sysco staple that I've seen in school/summer camp kitchens. Not too bad, actually. They're best cooked with some sugar and cinnamon in a crumble or as a pancake topping of some sort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not as incredible as fragrant, fresh, farmer's market apples, but definitely better than some of the grocery store apples I've seen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: corgette
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Antilope May 13, 2012 01:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The USDA School Cafeteria Apple Crisp recipe from 1988

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apple Crisp for 50 and 100 servings

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. pattisue Aug 22, 2008 08:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oooh, the giant homemade cinnamon rolls. I completely forgot about those. Mmmmm. Also, peanut balls, which were probably peanut butter and honey, as previously mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Glencora Aug 22, 2008 06:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My SO went to public school in France for two years and fondly remembers the tongue with tomato sauce. They usually had a pureed vegetable, rice, meat and a pudding. Other kids made fun of the food, but he secretly liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    chowmel Aug 22, 2008 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Elementary school in mid 50's - peanut butter sandwiches. After that school they were never the same. I tried to find a peanut butter to match it. Not until college when someone gave me a peanut butter and honey sandwich did I get a hit. I eat them that way still.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aside from that the peanut butter cookies - dry and crispy, Tuna boats, beef stew. Everything was made 'in house' then. There was no food service running the caf - just local ladies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowmel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DrJo Aug 5, 2010 09:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes! that sickeningly sweet government surplus peanut butter always served in a little paper cup with saltines on chili day. I never liked chili, tho'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We usually lunch-boxed it anyway. I had a cool Beatles lunchbox with a real glass-inside-thermos. To this day I still remember that room temperature American cheese sandwich with yellow mustard on wonder bread and a bag of fritos. And the janitor was a cafeteria monitor--you had to clean your plate and drink your 2-cent carton of milk. We called the ladies the "school cooks" in southern Illinois. Gotta love that midwestern small town sensibility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I attended K-12 from 1963-1975

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DrJo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alkapal Aug 6, 2010 04:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        peanut subsidy + sugar subsidy = sickeningly sweet government surplus peanut butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Passadumkeg Aug 22, 2008 04:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The 50's, Polish cafeteria ladies in NJ. Golumkies (stuffed cabbage), meat loaf and fried chicken. Home made cakes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      High school, can't remember except red mashed potatoes on St. Joseph Day. Too busy chasing girls.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      70's as a gringo teacher in a small New Mex town. Chile, pinto beans & corn bread, real tacos and enchiladas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Finnish elem. school in 80's, salmon and potato cassarole and pea soup w/ blood pancakes on Thurs. (really!).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maine elementary school in 89/90, the price of lobster dropped below that of hamburger. My wife in Tremont Elem and me in Pemetic had LOBSTER STEW in a public school cafeteria!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bolivia K-12 private school, frozen or canned food does not exist in the third world. Every day soup, salad, maine course and dessert included as part of the job. Great fried chicken, mahadito (rice w/ charque [dried beef] with a fried egg on top) and an addictive meat pie called saltenas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, small town high school, brown bag it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fluffernutter Aug 22, 2008 07:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oooo I bet those polish lunch ladies made some unbelievable food. (My Polish cousinis an incredible cook.) How lucky you were. I'd love to find someone like them and interview them. Can you imagine making golumkies for 200 kids?

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        torty Aug 22, 2008 03:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I went to a private Catholic school that was always in a money crunch. They had a big room they called a cafeteria, but no food prep area. During elementary school we all trooped over there with our lunchpails, but there were these bizarre vending machines that supposedly covered the food groups. There was one that had canned items like chili or spaghetti- it came out of the chute hot and you had to carefully take it over to the can opener and try not to maim yourself for life in the process of getting it open. There was also that horrid machine, often seen in hospitals, that dribbles out "chicken broth", and "hot chocolate". The standard ice cream bar vending machine was also present but there was the ever present problem where if your selected bar was "out", you were screwed... The sophistication arrived when they pitched the vending machines and had a catering truck some by at lunch. My favorite was a greasy "taco" almost exactly like the mystery meat Jack in the Box ones and an apple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mlgb Aug 22, 2008 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think my southwest Dade County junior high (Fla) probably had the worst food in the country. The only thing good about it was that it made my mother's food seem palatable. I specifically remember cookies so hard that you could whack them against the edge of the table and they wouldn't break. And the chocolate cake had the texture of foam rubber. It had a strangely interesting burnt taste, so I would say that was the best thing made, for entertainment value.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mlgb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            poptart Aug 22, 2008 07:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also went to Dade County schools and remember the chocolate cake that tasted like dirt. Also,the absolutely revolting "raisin pie" which made you wonder how many of the raisins were flies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: poptart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              mlgb Aug 23, 2008 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Aaaaah, memories. And the slimiest, yellowest collard or turnip greens ever. I guess they were canned. It was 30 years before I would try greens again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HillJ Aug 22, 2008 12:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mac n Cheese that would break a plastic spoon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Peanut butter cookies the size of your hand
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chocolate milk, I can't remember the brand but ice cold it was heaven at lunch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course, I wasn't worried about calories or fat content back then :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              James Cristinian Aug 22, 2008 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chocolate milk, cold, that's something you can't screw up. Almost. I remember still,(back from the 60's), when some poor kid was seemingly about to savour his chocolate milk, opened it, took a nice refreshing drink, and it was curdled, with chunks of former milk and a foul taste and odor to accompany. This Texas with no A/C and cold milk or ice cream was a true treat. Now they send the darlings home if the A/C breaks. To this day I stop, look, and smell any and all milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Aug 22, 2008 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                James, I do remember a few not-so-cold chocolate milks myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lynnlato Aug 23, 2008 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This just completely reminded me of an incident in the cafeteria at my middle school. We were sitting boy/girl/boy/girl b/c we had been unruly the previous day. I was sitting across from a boy I had never seen before. He was being obnoxious and trying to get attention from all the girls around him. Next thing I knew this kid pops his eye out and tosses it in his mouth and he's "peering" across at me w/ an open empty eye socket and an eyeball poking out of his lips! We screamed and laughed at the same time while the boy next to me blew milk out his nose and mouth. It turns out the boy had a prosthetic eye.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                adrienne156 Aug 22, 2008 12:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Went to 3 different high schools in the course of 3 years in the late 90's/early 2000's:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Acalanes (NorCal) -- Zombies. Warm buttermilk biscuits with chunks of cheddar cheese and sausage. People would scramble out of class during break to get these.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Iona Catholic Secondary (Mississauga, ONT) -- Poutine with shredded cheddar (as opposed to squeeky cheese) with malt vinegar and spicy Jamaican patties. Those are just the things that stick out, I crave that cafeteria food to this to this day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                El Cerrito High (NorCal) -- Giant, thin chocolate chip cookies kept warm under heat lamps. They were the size of one's head and exactly as someone else described the cookies at their school - crispy on the edges and mushy in the middle with melty chocolate chips. These were probably the only redeeming thing at ECHS, on the other end of the spectrum were the nachos -- a 99 cent bag of chips of your choice (Doritos, Cheetos, Funions, etc) with a ladle of nacho cheese, chili, and big pile of pickled jalapenos. And, they wonder why there is a problem with childhood obesity in the States.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: adrienne156
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mogo Nov 9, 2008 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also went to high school in Mississauga (though in the early 90s) and also have memories of Jamaican beef patties and fries + gravy. Our cafeteria was largely staffed by Filipinas so occasionally there was pancit and lumpia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  During elementary school there was no food on offer; you had to bring your own. I always went home for lunch since my grandparents were there to feed me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mogo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    adrienne156 Nov 10, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those fries with a couple of pumps of that industrial size malt vinegar -- yummm. I've been searching all over the SF Bay Area for a comparable poutine since and the gravies are never the same. I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and go buy a can of Bisto. :o)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: adrienne156
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kitchen Imp Oct 5, 2009 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, the zombies! We had those at Los Lomas (same school district as Acalanes) in the 1980s, too. I loved them so much I would resort to bumming change off of friends when I didn't have any on me, just so that I could get my daily fix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: adrienne156
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sophiejj Nov 27, 2010 07:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was hoping someone would mention zombies! No sausage for me ( this during my 8 yr stint as a vegetarian). I would get to Acalanes early to have the first batch of velveeta-y yeast rolls. No wonder I was 200 + pounds when I graduated in 1993!;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sophiejj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        adrienne156 Aug 7, 2012 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just stopping by to post this:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Someone mentioned in the comments that you can try using Pillsbury bread stick dough and it's been too long to know how close they were to the original. Tasted wonderfully junky to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. meatn3 Aug 22, 2008 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On Florida's West coast my favorite elementary school dish from the 60's was Potato Turbate. Sort of a Shepard's Pie sort of thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This thread prompted me to find the recipe, the attached thread gives an explanation of the name too!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. kpaumer Aug 22, 2008 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Catholic HS - Meant "Fishwich" & Fries always on Fridays, think McDonald's fish sandwich only bigger. The FF were hot and crispy! And plenty of tarter sauce! To this day I still drag my fries thru the tarter sauce when I have fish and fries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          gyozagirl Aug 22, 2008 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Something about the open-face turkey sandwich... sliced turkey on top of white bread, covered in gravy, with ice cream scoops of instant mashed potatoes and stuffing...yummmmmmm. Probably due to my family being Japanese, we would never really have this at home (go figure), it was always fun for me to get.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gyozagirl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal Aug 22, 2008 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            turkey and dressing with gravy and mashed potatoes was always welcome!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. lynnlato Aug 22, 2008 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love this thread! We had decent cafeterias in our schools so all were equipped a with full commercial kitchens. It was the 70s & 80s in central PA. Some of my faves were;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Johnny Marzetti - basicly macaroni in a tomato meat sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Turkey and stuffing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bananas in orange juice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chocolate peanut butter fudge bars
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bologna and butter sammies wrapped in wax paper (I know it sounds disgusting)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why do I hear Adam Sandler singing Lunch Lady Land?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yum, nostalgia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yum, nostalgia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lynnlato
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hyacinthgirl Dec 16, 2010 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was central PA in the 80s and 90s and we had none of the above. The only things that we had that were edible was the taco day offerings and tater tots. And even then the tater tots were undercooked.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              elkerette Aug 22, 2008 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a staff member at at boarding school, I *still* eat in high school cafeteria every day. And it can be astoudingly good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some favorite items:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1) tabouleh and avocado/shrimp/corn salad from our salad bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2) chicken piccata
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3) vegetarian quesadillas with black beans and freshly made salsa cruda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4) red snapper with mango-jalapeno salsa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5) a beet/green apple/walnut salad that is to die for

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, we also get the occasional greasy chicken, frozen burgers and fries too. But the number of good dishes outweigh the awful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When I worrk weekends I also have access to our Sunday waffle bars.... yum. And then there was the time our chef hand-torched hundreds of pineapple pieces and brown sugar as a dessert for a Carribean themed lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We are all certainly spoiled.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: elkerette
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                madgreek Nov 15, 2008 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is not cafateria food. I hate you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: madgreek
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kubasd Sep 3, 2009 07:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  second that

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                spellweaver16 Aug 22, 2008 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I went to a tiny high school in southern Iowa, class of 2001. The lunch ladies worked all morning to make our food. Yeah, a lot of it came from Sysco boxes, but the spaghetti was homemade and really good. So were the molasses cookies. I STILL miss those. One of the more interesting offerings was what they called a flying saucer. Perfectly round piece of ham, scoop of mashed potatoes on top, then a ladle of cheese sauce.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tjr Aug 22, 2008 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Japan (80s-90s, Elementary-High School). Bentos with an assortment of gorgeous, delicious, fresh, well-balanced foods. There were times I didn't like certain items, but it was never boring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I moved to Ottawa, Canada for my last year of high school, the only thing anyone ate at lunch was poutine, and it was good (fresh fries, chicken gravy, squeeky curds).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tjr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    masha bousha Dec 19, 2010 06:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm seriously jealous and hungry now. dang!!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    foreignmuck Aug 22, 2008 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Udon and Soba.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sloppy Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Evilbanana11 Aug 22, 2008 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Went to a French Lycee here in Montreal my favorite items were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -Coquilles St-Jacques.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -Veal coucous
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -the varous pastries: Croissants, chocolatines, palmiers, chaussons aux pommes etc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alkapal Aug 22, 2008 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        okay, you just made me very very envious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Evilbanana11 Aug 22, 2008 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unsurprising enough, the day most kids enjoyed the most was the day (only day of the week) that they served fries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        crewsweeper Aug 22, 2008 06:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Rolls! When they were baked golden brown on top and fresh out of the oven you'd think you could eat them forever. When they were light brown on top and doughy in the middle, you could fling little balls of dough to the ceiling and they'd stick forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. ArikaDawn Aug 22, 2008 06:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So many things. At my high school junk food was king.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -everyone ALWAYS ate on chicken/steak nugget and mashed potato days
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Tues and Thurs Bosco Sticks which are giant breadsticks filled with Mozzarella
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Mexican Pizza, scary orange and oh so good
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -canned pear halves
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -seasoned fries with honey mustard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -giant sugar cookies with pink frosting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, a lot of the time my table of 12 would pool our money, get about 8 vending machine items(generally gardettos, hot fries, doritos, and whatever else looked good) and 4 bottles of soda and just share it all. Ewww! Ew! Eww!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            James Cristinian Aug 22, 2008 05:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Elementary school, fish sticks, no ketchup, no way. Junior high, brown bag. In high school, I never ate there, we left school and went home, or local fast food, Burger King when they were good, you could actually see your burger come down the conveyor belt, hot and good, no reheated in a microwave. Our favorites were two local BBQ joints, one raised sandwichs to $1.25 from a buck, we still toughed it out. My schools were all Houston ISD and the food was uniformly disgusting, no attempt was made to serve anything with any flavor, time period 60's and 70's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Karen_Schaffer Aug 21, 2008 10:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I only ate school lunches for a brief period in 5th and 6th grades (went home or lunch boxedbefore that, brown bagged after that), but I have exceedingly fond memories of the Glorified Rice. It was simply cooked white rice with crushed pineapple and whipped cream, but I loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. pattisue Aug 21, 2008 09:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In high school, Thursday lunch was fried chicken, dirty rice & strawberry shortcake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The rice in my elementary school grossed me out so much that I refused to eat any rice for a few years. OTOH, they made great pigs in a blanket. The hot dog was wrapped in a really good homemade roll, and there was also chili inside. Another favorite was something I can best describe as a huge, soft breadstick, topped with chipped beef. It tasted better than it sounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The chocolate oatmeal boiled cookies that others mentioned were also a favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Occasionally, platters of really good cheddar cheese sticks were passed around to the classrooms as a snack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pattisue
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lcool Aug 22, 2008 06:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh,can I relate to the rice.My school for grades 6,7 & 8 served rice in a large warming table pan "COLD".Served by the jumbo ice cream scoop.It took a power lifter to scoop it,could not get a fork in it,would stick to the wall in a solid mass and also bounced.NASTY STUFF,put me off rice for four or five years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. jill kibler Aug 21, 2008 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't remember anything at my school cafeteria...but I am a teacher, and so I have recent memeories...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  NYC-collard greens with ham hocks...I would ask for a platefull, and they would add an extra bit of shredded ham...yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Santo Domingo, D.R.-empanadas de lambi(conch) hot, and toasty with chewy conch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Beijing-they did not make much Chinese food, which was a shame, so very little was memorable(sad).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Luxembourg-spinach with cream sauce-again I get a plateful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  peace, jill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jill kibler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alkapal Aug 22, 2008 03:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jill, you would enjoy fuschia dunlop's new memoir about her experience as an (intrepid) englishwoman in china, mostly about food. i perused the book at borders last sunday, and found it very readable and engaging. http://www.amazon.com/Sharks-Fin-Sich...

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    gizzie Aug 21, 2008 06:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    gigantic pieces of homemade cake with milk... sometimes that was all I would eat at lunch!! Could handle it in junior high!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      akq Aug 21, 2008 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My school had excellent food...my favs:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - oven baked chicken with rice and gravy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - chili con carne (with corn niblets) over rice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - garlic bread on hot dog buns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - caramel cuts (like blondies, but better)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Portuguese bean soup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. jo_jo_ba Aug 21, 2008 06:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Either the fries n gravy (surely from a box!) or the chicken Caesar wraps - the dressing was scratch-made and they always sold out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. steve h. Aug 21, 2008 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hot dogs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          freshman year i ate the prepared stuff. the next year i discovered the ladies would prepare a few items off-menu. every now and then i would have them grill up a few hot dogs for me and saute a batch of onions. the rolls were toasted. freshmen were jealous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            paprkutr Aug 21, 2008 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Out here in California, the best thing was the cinnamon coffee cake it was delicious. I found a recipe and tried to duplicate it, but it didn't come out the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paprkutr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Flour Child Sep 3, 2009 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Try the Coffee Cake from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook, I think it's pretty close.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Donna52479 Aug 21, 2008 05:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tuna fish sandwich with celery. Our school had the best glazed donuts - donuts and a coke for lunch sometimes - we would be bouncing off the ceiling for the afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                burlgurl Aug 21, 2008 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the BEST cookies I've still ever had! little chocolate chip ones, and big oatmeal chocolate chip ones..crispy edges and a little raw in the middle..they would come out warm the same time every day...yumm..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i STILL crave those!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lgss Aug 21, 2008 03:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Big cinnamon rolls, which, of course, weren't included in the regular lunch but at the "snack bar", so many of us skipped the regular lunch and spent our lunch money on a cinnamon roll instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. r
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Robert R Aug 21, 2008 03:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    At my junior high in the early 80's in upstate NY, the lunch ladies used to serve a really good Chicken Fricassee. It had a bright yellowish color and was very full flavored. They used to serve it over fluffy white rice. It had lots of chunks of chicken (and unfortunately some bones from time to time) and was really tasty. I actually still crave this from time to time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course, I wasn't allowed to admit that I liked this in front of my lunch buddies because they called it "Chicken Frickinpee".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Boccone Dolce Aug 21, 2008 03:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would bring odd things like fried egg sandwiches or a sleeve of saltines and cubed cheese (now they package that up and slap a $3 lunchable tag on it- back then I was 'weird') But in HS I would stand in line sometimes for a bagel. It was 35 cents,only available in garlic, had an oily butter flavor grease applied and it was wrapped in a small piece of foil. They were so good. I was too little when my Mom ran the PTA and instituted 'Hoagie Day' - but my older sisters would tell me that all week long if you pressed your nose to the wooden tables you could smell the italian dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Will Owen Aug 21, 2008 03:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        '50s Illinois, the pre-Thanksgiving feast of turkey and dressing and potatoes and green beans. Never varied, and the potatoes were mashed from real ones and the gravy (for once!) not out of a can. The rest of the year my favorite was a hot dish (casserole kinda thing) they called Marietta, which was hamburger, kidney beans, tomatoes and onion, all mixed into cooked macaroni with shredded cheese and baked with more cheese on top. My mother made a skillet dish exactly like that, only without the cheese, until I persuaded her to try putting some in. After that we had Marietta at home, too. I still like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mtngirlnv Nov 12, 2008 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mid 60's suburban Chicago....the best garlic bread I have ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal Nov 15, 2008 03:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            will, your marietta dish sounds close to "johnny marzetti" http://bestroominthehouse.wordpress.c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            comfort food, for sure!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Will Owen Sep 4, 2009 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Marietta" may very well have been a poorly-remembered Johnny Marzetti - someone who could remember the dish OK but had to sorta guess at the name. No matter what you call it, I still crave it enough to make it at least once a year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. FoodFuser Aug 21, 2008 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Age separator for hounds: How many of us remember the term "Lunch Ladies"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have memories of Bonus Days where they served spinach or kale, which no one else would eat and I piled it high from freebies from friends. The lunch ladies even had a jar of vinegar for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There were semi-annual "Spaghetti Suppers" as a school fund raiser. Leftovers at the end of the evening were served on the sly to the L.L.'s favorite calorie consumer students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              diablo Aug 21, 2008 03:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do, I do! There were never "Lunch Men", only "Lunch Ladies" :). My fave at school was the beef barley soup which they would serve in a styrofoam coffee cup. I would jam a bunch of crackers in it and call it a meal. Also, the sausage and egg sandwich on a Kaiser roll. Loved it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Miss Needle Aug 21, 2008 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yes, those lunch ladies! What are they called now? I'm probably thinking it's probably gender neutral these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Clarkafella Aug 21, 2008 09:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh I remember the lunch ladies- I even remember their names- Ms Tinney and Ms Peden. They made the best cinnamon rolls in the world, some kind of country fried steak that wasn't fried and wasn't steak (it was made from soybeans), but the thing I remember most were the school rolls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I used to skip 10:00 study hall, and go hang around the kitchen while they made 'em- they would always let me sample from the first batch, straight from the oven...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    thinks too much Aug 22, 2008 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Harley is a professional storyteller. "Mrs. Lunchroom Lady" is a scream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thinks too much
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      kubasd Sep 3, 2009 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      what else are they called other than lunch ladies? lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. chocchipcookie Aug 21, 2008 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Growing up in PGH PA, I rarley ate the cafeteria food. Horrid wretched crap. 1exception- when they had mexican pizza. Gooey cheddar cheese atop a beef sauce on a chewey crust. Greeeeeasy. The only other thing I can remember because I have mentally blocked out all such food are the chocolate chip cookies, and only because they were the worst I had ever tasted. My daughter just stated kindergarten and I am really curious to know how their lunches are. Nowadays, cookies aren't even an option. How sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mmg Aug 21, 2008 03:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When I went to high school in the early 80s, the cafeteria had awesome chocolate milk shakes that were so thick you had to eat them with a spoon (25¢) – this may sound weird, but they tasted really good if you ate them with Fritos corn chips. The garlic bread was also amazing (10¢) and really yummy, greasy french fries (25¢). Those were the days . . . of great metabolism!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. thew Aug 21, 2008 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        went to high school in the mid 70's. my junior/senior year they ditched the school lunch program and had some wonderful ol hippies take over the cafeteria.. so we had things like who wheat pizza.. i actually worked in teh kitchen senior year for credit - one of early steps on the road to foodiedom (yes i call myself a foodie, even here on CH - i don't buy the CH definition at all)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Cookiefiend Aug 21, 2008 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I generally brought my lunch - eternally dieting diet. But when we had:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hamburgers and french fries

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was in line!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. teamuse Aug 21, 2008 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the mornings before class/homeroom if you came early enough the cafeteria sold fresh muffins- double chocolate chip and chocolate chip , blueberry, lemon, etc that were wrapped up in foil and so tender and warm you'd had to eat it with a fork. I'm sure they were from a mix, but damn if those weren't the best things on a cold morning!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, Italian subs and fries. And chocolate chip cookies- which were also freshly baked before lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. mollyomormon Aug 21, 2008 01:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My elementary school cafeteria in Utah in the mid-80's had the most delicious bar cookies they called peanut butter fingers. It was the highlight of my week if we were having those for dessert.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BarbaraC28 Dec 21, 2012 03:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I went to wappinger csd in NY. It sounds like our graham frosties. They were the best. Graham crackers , peanut butter and chocolate frosting. Yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Ruth Lafler Aug 21, 2008 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In my day, the Oakland public schools were well-known for their sweet rolls. In fact, I remember when I got to junior high (not available at my elementary school), my Mom, who had been a high school teacher in Oakland ten years earlier, asked me with longing if they still made them. I assume they were made in a central kitchen then baked on site, but they were delicious, huge, and I think they were 15 cents. They also made really good cookies and amazing short bread (using all that cheap government surplus butter), that was 5 cents for a slab about 4 inches square and an inch thick. I don't think I ever ate an actual meal in the cafeteria, though. Brown bag all the way. My high school had a lovely cafeteria (in a stand-alone building with big windows overlooking the central lawn), but I don't remember ever buying anything there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  KaimukiMan Aug 21, 2008 01:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I went to OPS as well, grad in the mid 70's. Mom wouldn't give us money for the sweet rolls, but when i finally got a part time job in my senior year I would buy them occasionally (most of my money went for pizza, albums, and gas.) Aside from the frozen malteds that came from the snack bar, i think that is the only cafeteria food I ever ate in 12 years of public school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I had forgotten, thanks for reminding me Ruth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Glencora Aug 21, 2008 09:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    King Jr Jr high in Berkeley had tasty sweet rolls, too. This was before the Edible Schoolyard -- there was no wood burning pizza oven in the yard, then. And Berkeley High had great french fries. I never bought anything else since it was an open campus and we usually left during lunch. I suspect that both places have better/healthier food, now. But...those fries were good...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Glencora
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mendogurl Feb 16, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I went to King Jr. High as well. The cafeteria in 1970 had really good baked spaghetti, with melted cheddar on top.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They dug out a big slab in one of those red and white checked cardboard containers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A carton of milk and a couple of orange cupcakes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That cafeteria and the the are around it was soooooooo dingy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was thrilled to see what Alice Waters did for that school. It was not exactly the happiest place on the planet when I was there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      janetofreno Aug 21, 2008 10:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hmmmm.....I went to Tech and graduated in 1971 and I don't remember sweet rolls. But I don't remember much about high school...thanks to graduating early plus a year in Mexico I managed to only spend a year actually at Tech....Besides, all my meals were eaten at Chris and John's or Maria's Bavarian Cheesecake :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: janetofreno
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        susancinsf Aug 22, 2008 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I remember the sweet rolls, from both junior high and high school. They were good, but yes, absolutely paled in comparison to Maria's Bavarian Cheesecake (which was located right across the street from the high school, next to Chris and John's Hotdogs, or was it Chris and Jon's?, which rumor had was partially owned by Clint Eastwood, a Tech alum, of course). Janet and I and our friend H had no problem splitting one entire cheesecake between the three of us...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sigh. I think it is a fast food place and a video store there now....

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      phoenikia Aug 21, 2008 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whistle Dogs in the late 80s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. manraysky Aug 21, 2008 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Southeastern Massachusetts in the mid 70s to the mid 80s:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My favorite, which I swear still crave sometimes, was the cheese ravioli and marinara. It was very soft, it had to have been from a can. But I loved it, and if I knew what brand it was, I'd buy it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At the time I didn't like the food, but it was all cooked in house, and pretty decent. And all of the desserts were made in house. We had a lot of bar cookies. "Congo bars" were my favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After graduation from college I moved in with my dad. His next door neighbor was the cafeteria lady from my middle school, and she recognized me! She was an absolute sweetheart, and an incredible home cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: manraysky
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          walker Aug 21, 2008 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've discovered Amy's organic canned cheese ravioli. Don't laugh, I even like it cold, straight from the can sometimes. I find it at some health food stores and a few upscale ones have it; I really think you might like it. It's nice to keep in the cupboard for when you really don't feel like cooking anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            manraysky Aug 22, 2008 12:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh wow, thanks! I will definitely look out for that. That might be the perfect combination of my childhood craving and not being complete garbage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: manraysky
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            sunrise010 May 2, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I see it's been awhile since anything was posted on this. But I loved those congo bars as well. If you found a recipe can I have it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was in eastern ma 70-80's

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Came to this post looking for the beef pie recipe. Was a flakey phyllo type crust with shredded beef and gravey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunrise010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              kattyeyes May 8, 2012 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Congo bars = tollhouse bars = blondies. There must be as many recipes of these in the world as there are for straight up chocolate chip cookies. Try Mark Bittman's blondies--they should be just what you're after. I found his recipe through Smitten Kitchen and they're EXCELLENT...gives you plenty of variations to play with, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. ipsedixit Aug 21, 2008 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Salisbury Steak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hardshell tacos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think with just those two food items, I would be happy on a desert island for several months at least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              raytamsgv Aug 21, 2008 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Totally agree about the Salisbury steak!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: raytamsgv
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cheflambo Aug 22, 2008 11:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At my school this was universally known as "Mystery Meat".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                foiegras Jan 2, 2010 08:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The cafeteria Salisbury steak I was served was god-awful ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My favorite was a midwestern thing, wet burritos. It was a prepared 'burrito,' the outside of which wasn't a tortilla as I recall, and was yellow. More of a chalupa I guess? And the wet part was tomato sauce topped with cheese. I'd love to have one right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Spends Rent on Food Aug 21, 2008 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Growing up in New England in the early 80's we looked forward to:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Friday - Meatball sub (grinder/ hoagie/ whatever) day overloaded with thick, over-spiced marinara.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Once a month they did sloppy joes which was pretty much all the leftover meat from the month right before (or in some cases right after) it went bad, mixed with a ton of spices and served with a mystery 'sloppy joe' sauce that I still can't figure out today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Both were the only days I declined the homemade lunches that mom packed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Spends Rent on Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jimbosox04 Aug 22, 2008 01:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd have to agree with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I remember what I always called the "All-Purpose Patty", one day it was veal parm, the next they called it chicken parm , then Bacon Burger, Salisbury Steak when they burned lines in it, was it all the same patty ??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jimbosox04
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    why_itsme Sep 3, 2009 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I, too, grew up in New England. Only it was so long ago that we couldn't have had meatball sub on Friday. Friday was still ruled by the Catholic churches so fish and pizza only. No meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My favorite was the bacon burger. It wasn't a hamburger with bacon but some kind of patty. No idea what it was but I still crave them. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My least favorite was chicken salad. It made me sick once in 4th grade and I've never eaten it again since. (And that was in 1973.) LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: why_itsme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      lgss Sep 3, 2009 04:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm of the same generation as you. I grew up in a small town in the midwest where most of the Catholics attended the Catholic K-8 school then attended public high school. As I recall, even the public elementary schools and definitely the H.S. always served fish on Fridays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: why_itsme
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        yeatthebun Oct 28, 2009 02:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bacon burger. A bunch of us New England kids ate the same meal. A few of us are still searching for the bacon burger patty. (It possibly contained no bacon.) Vermette's Market, in Amesbury, Mass. was the last sighting of a "real" bacon burger. I bought some last year and they were the same as school. Still trying to figure out their source.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Jimbosox04
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeat the bun Sep 24, 2009 06:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Bacon burger." My favourite.This was not a burger topped with bacon. It was a patty and possibly had no bacon in it. Went to school in Mass. and this was on the menu during the 70/80's for the entire K-12. A small market here sold "real" school cafe bacon burgers until last year. I am going to quiz them about it. A bacon burger, roll, a single leaf of lettuce, and too much school style mayo...The best. How about "Kangeroo pockets?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Don't get me started.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Yeat the bun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Robertr Sep 30, 2009 06:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have periodically searched for the elusive "bacon burger" for years. My latest internet search led me here (I just registered with Chowhound to right this reply). At least I found someone who knows what the heck I'm talking about. I really thought I was going to find the holy bacon burger grail this time (so close and yet so far). Please let me know if you find out anything from the market (any chance I could get the name of the place?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robertr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            alkapal Oct 22, 2009 05:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yeat the bun and robertr, i suggest that you start a new "bacon burger" thread, if you haven't already done so. otherwise, your quest is buried in this long thread....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Robertr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yeatthebun Oct 28, 2009 02:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Vermette's Market" in Amesbury,MA. These were the real deal. A package of 6 patties for $4.00 or less. My cousin and I are "jonesing" big time for them right now. Fried in a thin layer of oil to make them a bit crisp. Mayo, lettuce. and a big bun. Wow. I am still working on a source to obtain "real" bacon burgers. I will keep you posted. Please let me know if you find anymore info. about "real" bacon burgers. Honestly, I still do not know what they are made of but I want more!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Miss Needle Aug 21, 2008 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        NYC public schools in 70s and 80s -- Jamaican beef patties (Tower Isle kind). I noticed a huge change in the quality of food from the 70s to 80s. We used to be served semi-decent fare on cardboard trays. I would look forward to some meals. Then when they switched over to styrofoam, the food quality deteriorated quite a bit, and I started bringing my own food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          cimui Aug 21, 2008 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tater tots. i'd still gobble them down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cimui
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ipsedixit Aug 21, 2008 09:29 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wish our cafeteria served tater tots ... I might've been an even more overweight kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cimui Aug 21, 2008 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nuckin' futs, man. ;) which school cafeteria *didn't* serve tater tots?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i grew up in lexington, kentucky and went to public middle and high school in the 90s where/when tater tots were very much an essential "vegetable". really. you got to choose two veggie sides with your main and tater tots were always on offer as one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cimui
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Caitlin McGrath Sep 3, 2009 05:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There you go, I think it's likely a generational thing. Sounds like tater tots have been de rigueur the past two decades, not so in the preceding decades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DrJo Aug 5, 2010 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tater tots were available in small town southern Illinois public schools from the late 1960's onward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pizza day was popular--the cheese was always really really dark from being overbaked. Ish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But I'll never forget the one and only time a new dish was served when I was in 5th or 6th grade--"Ham Balls with Raisin Sauce."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The garbage men got hernias that day from lifting the heavy cans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DrJo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alkapal Aug 6, 2010 04:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ah, such is the fate of many "creative" dishes that we can only recall because of their photos in vintage 1950's and '60's cookbooks. or if we had to try them at school. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to wit: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6212...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DrJo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      maria lorraine Aug 6, 2010 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ham Balls with Raisin Sauce


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maria lorraine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        alkapal Sep 1, 2010 07:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        does it make you think of a particular character in south park, maria?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. l
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lcool Aug 21, 2008 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the fifties and sixties there was no best thing at the private schools I attended.I can only recall three things eaten without great relutance,Nabisco Saltines,hard cooked eggs and cottage cheese.Nothing "cooked"in the recipe sense was decent.One thing that sticks in my memory to this day,"beef stew"made with ground beef,canned peas and liberal amounts of sugar.A truely nasty plate of food.Much worse is I am sure blocked out,this is a good thing.Those of us that went to private or Catholic school envied our buddies in the public schools getting decent>good food.grass is always greener maybe the case here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lcool
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                alkapal Aug 21, 2008 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                lcool, sounds like the grass really *was* greener in your case!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lcool Aug 21, 2008 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe,but a case could be made for the public school offerings being almost as bad.At least when serving 1,200 plus there is hope for selection
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The youngest SiL went to public,said the food was so bad,survival required
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  a packed lunch.Her twin however disagrees,and today he is the picky-picky fussy one. go figure

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lcool
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alkapal Aug 21, 2008 09:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i was lucky, growing up in an area with good local produce and meat. and good southern cooks, of course (sw fla.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Deenso Aug 21, 2008 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the late 60s/early 60s, I was privileged to attend a boarding school in a Phila. suburb whose kitchen staff all hailed from the American south. I honestly can't say that just one dish stands out