Wednesday, December 13, 2006

School Cafeteria Food

I saw a post by Cookiecrumb at I'm Mad, I Eat about her memories from her school cafeteria and LOVED the thought of talking about that. So, I'm borrowing her idea and am talking about my memories from the school cafeteria. In high school I was definitely a brown bagger. I think I bought lunch ONCE my entire time in high school. That lunch...vegetable soup and grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly! To me, that is the BEST public school lunch there is!

However, if we take a trip back to elementary school, the story changes. There is just something about an elementary school cafeteria that is comforting and nostalgic. The little tables with the round seats attached. The lines through the kitchen to get food. The smell...I don't exactly know what it is, but it brings back memories. In kindergarten and first grade the only specific memory I have is wanting to get the taco salad that had been put out first so that my chips would be soggy! Why? I DON'T KNOW!

I think most of my cafeteria memories come from 2-3 grades. There was just something about sitting at a table with my friends, dipping steak fingers in the mashed potatoes, and getting scared out of my mind by someone telling me about Bloody Mary (I slept on my back for YEARS because I thought I felt someone touch my shoulder one night after I had been told about "her."). Ice cream was best eaten by scraping the top with the plastic fork, pouring milk over it, drinking the milk (which was not much sweeter), and then eating the ice cream, which I guess was more like ice milk at that point. There is also something about cafeteria pizza. The pepperoni kind is GROSS! Those fake little red bits were always tough and too spicy for me. The sausage pizza was the kind I liked (NOW I would rather have a veggie pizza but would still choose sausage over pepperoni).
After sixth grade I started brown bagging it, but as mentioned earlier would give up my bag for a little tray with a bowl of veggie soup and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made like my grandmother made it, by mixing the PB and jelly together before spreading it on the bread! What fun memories from my public school years...now the college cafeteria, that's another story! ICK!

7 comments:

Alisha said...

Here in Vegas there are no true cafeterias for elementary schools. I remember growing up with boxes for lunches - one hot and one cold, stack them together and grab a milk and on your way. They were pretty disgusting. Even now my daughter (she's in 5th grade) refuses to even think about buying lunch because they only have a heating oven in their school - nothing fresh. Yuck! Glad your memories are much better.

cookiecrumb said...

Oh, Claire, your memories are so fresh and funny. Soggy chips. Round seats (mine were picnic table-type things with benches attached).
What's especially funny is the methods you had to use (had to!) to consume your food, like drowning the ice cream in milk.
Nice.

Erika said...

Lol! How fun to read! I remember liking the cafeteria food in grade school too. At the time though, they had lunch room monitors who would stand by the garbage cans and check your tray to see if you'd eaten enough. We all got very good at stuffing as much food as possible in our milk cartons.

I'm sorry your college cafeteria is lacking. I LOVED mine. They had a professional catering service run the cafeteria, and the broiled chicken sandwich was to die for.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Loved reading about your memories. I have zero, zilch, of elementary and junior high. I also brown bagged it all the way through high school, and probably earlier, but I honestly don't remember. I ate daily in the cafeteria in college and it wasn't too bad. I don't have a very discerning palate and especially back then, I would eat most anything remotely edible. :)

Had fun reading about your memories Claire!

Claire said...

Alisha - I don't know if I would call what we have "fresh" but it's better than a heating oven! That's interesting that there aren't really cafeterias.

CC - Don't ask me WHY I wanted the soggy chips, but I did! Yeah, out seats were attached to the table with the metal bar and were round. In the older schools they were 1970's green and often broken (sometimes you had to be careful not to sit on just the metal support pole!). The new ones are red (our school colors).

Erika - We never had food monitors but we did have a "stop light" that monitored our NOISE level. If we got too loud and the red light/siren went off, no talking for a week!

Stacy - Somehow the smell of my elementary school cafeteria makes me happy! If you've talked to Elizabeth about MC's cafeteria, she probably had the same sentiments. I think I lived on salad, deli meat, and soup!

gail said...

I don't think any of my kids liked the food at MC'S caf, unless the parents were coming and then the food was better! And the only other person I've heard of that likes cafeteria food is my hubby...he worked in the caf at MSU so he could eat his meals free!

Kristen said...

I loved our elementary school cafeteria food too. In fact, one of my best friends mom was one of the cooks and I used to love to eat dinner at their house because she'd make some of the same meals. Yummy! I now wish I had a few of the recipes. Poor Boy sandwiches, their BBQ chicken strips, etc. Yummy!