Mystery Meat

Sep. 22, 2011 9 Comments Posted under: My Vox

I’ve started reading a pretty interesting book for the BlogHer Book Club (full disclosure–a paid program–opinions are all mine, though). The book is Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa. I’m not more than 50 pages into it yet, but I’m feeling similar reactions to when I read “Fast Food Nation.” I’ll have more to say about the book itself over the next week or so, but I did want to reminisce with all of you about your own school lunch experiences.

When I started grade school, I ate hot lunch at the school. I still faintly remember standing in line and being too tiny to even see the top of the counter. Our lunch ladies were so sweet, and they were at the cafeteria throughout my entire schooling experience. I cannot imagine how many meals they served over their careers.

Regardless of how sweet and kind they were, the cooks weren’t given much to work with. I’m pretty sure all of our food came out of boxes, mixes and cans. The only fresh foods I can remember are apples, our daily carton of milk, and the occasional slices of oranges. Mainly, I recall the good times (eating ranch dressing as a condiment for nearly everything, pizza day, and getting chocolate milk on Fridays) and the bad times (turkey and noodles, any kind of soup, absolutely disgusting canned vegetables). Then there were the weird moments, like when I discovered that fish sticks are actually pretty palatable if you dip them in chocolate pudding.

I still have some pretty ugly scars on my knees from my junior year in high school, when some friends and I were racing headlong down to the cafeteria (we had to run alongside the parking lot and down two flights of concrete stairs to the grade school area), and I tripped and fell, tearing open my jeans and ripping many layers of skin off my kneecaps. I literally still have gravel in my skin from that incident. We were some kind of excited about pizza day, that’s for sure.

What did you have for lunch when you were in school? Hot lunch? Cold? Did you get healthy food?

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 at 4:02 am and is filed under My Vox. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

9 Comments Leave a comment

    Shelly said:

    Sep. 22, 2011

    Hot lunch for me and my experience was similar to yours. I can think of nothing other than the rare orange “smile” that was fresh. Pizza and sloppy joes with tater tots were my favorites.

    I wonder if there was a big “School Lunch Cookbook: Cooking with 40 Pound Cans of Vegetables” that all schools shared.

    Jenb said:

    Sep. 22, 2011

    I didn’t get hot lunch until we moved in 8th grade. Before that it was all packed lunches. My favorite was lasagna. I still like cafeteria lasagna, which I know is weird. Worst was fish sticks (didn’t know about the pudding thing). Or the mystery meat patty. And I think that was just because of all the rumors that surrounded it!

    Leilani said:

    Sep. 22, 2011

    School Lumch program back home is GOOD now. Full salad bar. I would say at least half the food is made from scratch. Fresh ingredients. Best of all NO MORE CANNED SPINACH.

    We should call in the morning, sign ourselves up, and go eat lumch with Smai and Luke sometime.

      anonyvox said:

      Sep. 23, 2011

      I guess “School Lunch Week” is sometime in October. Sherilyn and Mrs. Warner don’t still serve there, do they? Oh, that canned spinach was beyond nasty. Creamed corn also turned my stomach.

    Jane said:

    Sep. 23, 2011

    I usually ate hot lunch (until high school). My favorite was always hamburger day because it came with either french fries or tots. I would pawn off my meat patty for some extra fried potato and make a sandwich out of that. Oh the days when I could eat bread. I also always got excited for Thanksgiving time because we would get a special turkey lunch that was huge and mostly tasty. Sloppy Joes were a hit, as was strawberry shortcake. Other than that I was a traumatized 3rd grader on lunch duty one day… I was asked to cut and serve the oranges, but had never been told by my mom that I was allowed to use a knife. I told the lunch lady that I couldn’t use knives and her frustration with the situation has totally scarred me.

    Leilani said:

    Sep. 23, 2011

    Sherilyn retired some years back. Mrs. Warner retired quite a bit before her, I think.

    kathy said:

    Sep. 24, 2011

    I almost always packed lunch, but when I was in elementary school, our lunch ladies used to make hot dinner rolls from scratch at least once a week. All the rest of the food was awful, but those rolls were the absolute best.

    mumsyjr said:

    Sep. 24, 2011

    I was forbidden from eating hot lunch because my mother could be a total nutritional kill-joy…then again I it never looked very appetizing to me, I think I just wanted it because she made such a big deal about how unhealthy it was. I got little thermoses full of tortellini with home made sauce and the other kids made fun of me. I did start buying lunch my sophomore year of high school but by then you had options and I’d usually get fries with ranch dressing and possibly some salad. Then I’d gorge myself on cookies and leftovers when I got home in the afternoon.

    Rita said:

    Sep. 25, 2011

    I got hot lunch when I went to Catholic school. It was always really good home-cooked stuff, like spaghetti and meatballs, or gigazmo pots of rice, or enchiladas. I loved it, but when I started going to public school I started bringing a lunch because public school lunches are gross. End of story. In high school though we had an abundance of choices, it was like the food court in the mall, so I started buying lunch again… when I had cash… which was never…

Leave a Reply