Friday, October 23, 2009

Back in the day...

Am I the only person on the planet who actually liked the school lunches? Or was my school cafeteria simply that bitchin?

We were poor. I was on the free lunch program for awhile, and then I was on reduced price. The problem for my mom developed on those days when I required two lunches. Yeah, some days the menu was so good I'd get two.

The grilled cheese was spectacular. It was served with buttered corn and apple crisp. The sammich itself was crisp where it needed to be and never soggy. The cheese melted perfectly. I got two of those.

I also got two of the stuffed pita pocket lunches. Those were essentially tacos stuffed in pitas to reduce the mess. Fabulous. Pizza day was a two luncher as well. The pizza looked just like that photo.

I remember there was this kid who would scoop chocolate pudding onto a potato chip and pile corn on it and eat it. Our superintendent freaked on him for it. I tried it. It wasn't great, wasn't bad.

On days when I didn't buy two lunches I'd pack an extra. And as indicated, I'd ask folks for whatever food they weren't going to eat. Apparently my dad used to do that at bowling banquets. Ah well.

There was a lunch lady/monitor named Mrs Johns and she carried one of those Tupperware yellow plastic orange peelers in her apron and would loan it to kids in need. I was so impressed that it was one of the very first Tupperware items I ever bought.

When I got to high school the food sucked. It really, really sucked. I got a meatball sammich once and when I bit it there were green things I assume were supposed to be fennel etc. It didn't look like fennel. The pizza there was ok. It wasn't the same as our elementary/junior high cafeteria's. They were going for "french bread" pizza but it was always limp and soggy. I didn't get two lunches anymore. I wasn't that impressed. And when I finally started driving and had a morning study hall I would skip out and go to Taco Bell and basically eat lunch at 10am.

I've looked over the menus of school cafeterias these days and they are boring as all get out. Nuggets didn't really exist yet when I was wee, but damn if these kids don't seem to be getting them constantly. I might have eaten them as a kid. Probably not. I wasn't a fan of mystery bits of meat ever. My school gave us pot roast on occasion. Sometimes beef stew. We always had real vegetables. And oh yeah, there were no vending machines until high school.

Some days I really miss that food. It was good. It was cheap as dirt. Even if the cafeteria staff hated us they never showed it, and it was a pleasant atmosphere. Except that time Keith Gibbs punched me in the stomach and I smeared my peaches down his back. Keith, if you're reading this, you were a douche.

I often wonder what's going to be offered to my kids. Maybe I'll just have to pack their little lunch boxes with fabulousness that keeps well with only ice packs. I only have 3 more years before we find out.

Today's ingredient is corn. Fresh or frozen. Livvie is corn crazy. Gimme some ideas.


sara said...

every day at school, zoe eats: a sandwich that is 1/2 bagel with american (or velveeta) cheese and shredded carrots on top. plus, apples slices, or grapes, a fruit leather, some kind of crackers and/or cookies. milk or juice box. plus a chocolate kiss.

ozzie eats: 5 saltines crackers, or a slice of plain challah and water. plus a chocolate kiss.

the school offers a hot lunch and vegetarian lunch every day, but neither kid has ever entertained the idea.

HeatherGroves said...

Day or two late and a couple of dollars short. My favorite use of frozen corn:

* 2 1/2 cups cooked corn (canned is fine)
* 2 cups diced potatoes
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1/4 cup onion, diced
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1 1/2 cups boiling water
* 2 cups hot milk
* 1 tablespoon flour, mixed with
* 1 tablespoon water


Combine, in a large pot,all ingredients except milk and flour/water.

Cook until potatoes are fork tender.

Add milk and flour/water, stirring well.

Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 10 minutes.

Serve with chopped green onion and shredded cheese as a garnish.

Julie said...

sara- i love your kids.

heather- i could eat that right now. YUM.