Thread Number: 78935  /  Tag: Recipes, Cooking Accessories
What school food was your favorite, if any?
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Post# 1029005   4/4/2019 at 23:19 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

My favorites were probably:

Corn dogs with french fries and corn
Chicken noodle soup with grilled cheese sandwich
Chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes
Grilled ham and cheese, french fries, broccoli

"Chicken pot pie" which was chicken and vegetables in a filling with two biscuits on top.

They used to make a chicken marinara too which looked like a breaded chicken pattie from the chicken sandwich but with spaghetti sauce poured over it. I never tried it.

At Thanksgiving we always had sliced turkey with gravy, green beans, mashed potatoes and sweet potato pie on the last day before the break.

Sometimes we'd get tater tots but it was not often. Typically the french fries were crinkle cut ones. Those Keating fryers made the perfect fries, always just right.

Post# 1029016 , Reply# 1   4/5/2019 at 06:18 by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

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The cafeteria food at the parochial school I went to was all homemade.  The head cook's name was Valeria McDonald so we used to joke that we ate at McDonald's every day.  Her homemade pizza was out of this world, and her crazy cake.  Soup days were some of the best by far though.  Val and her two helper's (Marianne & Doris) would bake loaves and loaves of made from scratch french bread.  The smell of that baking bread along with the aroma of the soup would drive everyone crazy, and get mouths watering all morning long.


Eighth graders could sign up to help in the kitchen, and during those weeks your lunch was free. 

Post# 1029019 , Reply# 2   4/5/2019 at 07:18 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Went to a very small public school where everything was homemade. Great turkey and roast beef dinners near holidays, excellent cafeteria goulash, dinner rolls and various desserts--especially the peach and apple crisps. For some reason I loved the hamburger gravy on mashed potatoes--probably because my Italian mother never made anything like that.

Post# 1029022 , Reply# 3   4/5/2019 at 08:40 by brainardcooper (Columbia, SC)        
Spanish Rice!

I can remember the taste of the "Spanish Rice" that was made at the elementary school I attended. Never had it since but I will never forget it. Loved it!

Post# 1029023 , Reply# 4   4/5/2019 at 08:42 by Iheartmaytag (Wichita, Kansas)        
Dinner rolls

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Everything was made on site, and there wasn't much that was really nasty. There were fresh made dinner rolls that were to die for. Light, fluffy, buttered tops. . .

Now-a-days all the school lunch food is made at a central kitchen and pretty much is stuff that was rejected from Alpo.

Post# 1029029 , Reply# 5   4/5/2019 at 10:04 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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The only time in my school days that I ever regularly had school cafeteria lunches was when I attended Catholic School from 1958-63 in Berkeley, Calif. The lunch card was 35 cents a week and the food was wretched, and thats no joke either. I always loved to eat, and would eat just about anything, but I drew the line at just about anything that cafeteria crew dished up. I was caught a couple of times by the nuns stuffing food I couldnít stomach into my empty milk container, and when I tossed it in the garbage it hit with a thud. I felt a nun grabbing me by the collar and making me fish out the milk box from the garbage while she proceeded to tell me that there were starving children in China that would love to have that delicious food. We werenít alowed to throw any food away, our trays needed to be empty when we were through. I made the mistake of being a Smart Alec and retorting, ďWell then send it to themĒ. That elicited a note home, after which from then on Mom packed my lunches.

Now the school food that I really did enjoy was Hot Dog Day! Now that was what Iím talking about! The Mothers Club had Hot Dog Day for us once a month, and this was a great treat.

In high school, my family was not very well off, and we never had lunch money, we all packed our own lunches to school. Maybe once in a Blue Moon Iíd have a quarter to buy two cheeseburgers, for the price of one, that would be the leftovers, after everyone else had been served, and those were really pretty good.

My Aunt Louise was a school cafeteria supervisor in the Richmond, Calif. school district,and she made the most heavenly yeast rolls, like the ones she made for the cafeteria. They were out of this world.


This post was last edited 04/05/2019 at 11:48
Post# 1029044 , Reply# 6   4/5/2019 at 11:28 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Lower Creek Elementary School

In Lenoir NC had wonderful food, My Dads first cousin worked there, She made tons of the very finest yeast rolls I ever tasted, Everything was good, but the hamburger/tomato goolash was the best, stewed beef, homemade soup and on and on...

Post# 1029045 , Reply# 7   4/5/2019 at 11:36 by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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Only the high school had a cafeteria and everything was made onsite. My fav meal was sloppy joes.


Post# 1029051 , Reply# 8   4/5/2019 at 13:18 by Xraytech (Rural southwest Pennsylvania )        

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My favorite school foods would have been pizza burger day.
Pizza burgers were a recipe created by Mrs. Peterson in the 59s or 60s. It was fried ground beef mixed with sauce, seasonings and cheese to make a spread that was put on hamburger bun halves and baked with cheese on top.

I also enjoyed the apple crisp, cherry crisp, and the Jell-o poke cake

Post# 1029053 , Reply# 9   4/5/2019 at 13:28 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The only menu item that was exceptionally good was the apple crisp. It was made fresh, and they had a really good recipe.

The grilled cheese was decent, as was the tomato soup (either Campbell's or Heinz).

Everything else was average or below.

Post# 1029058 , Reply# 10   4/5/2019 at 15:42 by DE409 (Maryland)        

The soft pretzels were good. I always packed but would snitch a few off of the trays waiting for the ladies to wash them if they looked untouched.

Post# 1029059 , Reply# 11   4/5/2019 at 15:45 by rinso (Meridian Idaho)        

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I went to a comparatively large high school, in a small town. The cafeteria food was all made from scratch, but still mediocre. My favorites were Sloppy Joe's, lasagna, chili con carne, and chicken ala king. 


The daily menus were written on a chalkboard. Whenever we had baked lasagna, I would erase the word lasagna to placenta, so it read "baked placenta."  

Post# 1029061 , Reply# 12   4/5/2019 at 15:57 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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My high school had a unique cafeteria setup. The right side was the regular hot lunch line, you got what they served you. The left was an A'La Carte line. There was always 1 hot dish, tuna and italian rolls, soup, salad, delicious yeast rolls, sheet cake and juice or milk. I could easily spend $1 and load my tray.

Post# 1029070 , Reply# 13   4/5/2019 at 20:11 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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Salisbury steak with buttered noodles, with your choice of green bean casserole or vegetable medley....

Post# 1029074 , Reply# 14   4/5/2019 at 20:45 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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Not school food, but school related...

I didn't think of this at the time as far as I can recall, but at the time I could have made an argument for my afternoon snack, simply because it meant I was Done and Finished with school for the day. Well, I wasn't totally done, thanks to the "joys" of homework, but at least I was home.

Post# 1029075 , Reply# 15   4/5/2019 at 20:54 by Labboy (SD, CA)        

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Warm sourdough bread they grilled with butter
Grilled cheese
Tater tots
Mac and cheese

My mother is a good cook but never made anything fried or with cream sauce. When I got to Jr High and got to have real Mac and Cheese with a creamy cheese sauce and fried tater tots, I was blown away.

Post# 1029076 , Reply# 16   4/5/2019 at 20:58 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I almost never ate school lunches. (Actually, it happened only once in junior high when considering standard cafeteria lunch IIRC.) But I can remember the smell of the cooking in the elementary school cafeteria (in particular). It was not appealing; however, it was probably solidly in line with other cafeterias. I just had no basis of comparison then, and probably was picky.

I was told in junior high that the actual cooking was done (or heavily done) in a central location, and then shipped out. Probably in trucks emblazoned with Hazardous Material warnings. LOL My junior high kitchen was apparently the district kitchen (or, at the least, a central kitchen for multiple schools).

They'd do barbecue days in elementary school, when the principal would grill. (One has to wonder if that would fly in today's world... I'd think there'd be some health department type objecting.) These were rare--I'm almost thinking only once a year when I was in elementary school, and probably at about the end of the year. I'd eat those lunches I think, but can't honestly remember any details. They still did barbecue days in at least high school, but I don't recall ever having those lunches.

Post# 1029100 , Reply# 17   4/6/2019 at 07:50 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Mine was some kind of blond brownie that they baked up.  I've tried to replicate it and have come close but not exactly the same.

The high school did make a good spaghetti sauce. 

Post# 1029138 , Reply# 18   4/6/2019 at 17:09 by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

Xraytech: Iíd forgotten about pizza burgers! From your description, ours were made the same way. Of course, they get their personality from seasoning and I admit with no small amount of shame that Iíve never been able to replicate the taste of those simple delights.

Post# 1029144 , Reply# 19   4/6/2019 at 18:32 by Xraytech (Rural southwest Pennsylvania )        

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My late aunt also made incredible pizza burgers equal to the ones Mrs. Peterson recipe made.
I have also tried to recreate them, while itís not exact itís very close and the family all like them

Post# 1029147 , Reply# 20   4/6/2019 at 19:05 by whirlykenmore78 (Prior Lake MN (GMT-0700 CDT.))        
School Lunch

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I went to a Catholic elementary school/middle school and Jane the head cook and her crew did a phenominal job and Marna was the baker. Most everything was homemade.

Some of my faves, and there were many:

Spaghetti with meat sauce and homemade garlic bread.

Lasagna with the same bread.

The BEST homemade dinner rolls ever topped with melted butter.

Homemade cinnamon rolls.

Hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes. (years later I was able to duplicate this and make it for a lunch special in a restaurant I was Sous Chef at. Customers LOVED it)

Turkey in gravy over mashed potatoes. Yes they cooked and carved whole turkeys and made homemade stock for this.

Tater tot Hotdish. (It's a Minnesota thing)


Post# 1029158 , Reply# 21   4/6/2019 at 21:33 by IowaBear (Cedar Rapids, IA)        

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I thought most of it was good, but then (as now) I usually eat whatever is put in front of me without complaint.


One thing I liked is that there was always a dessert.  Sometimes it was just fruit but more often something tasty like a fruit crisp, cake or brownie.


The cooks in my elementary school were awesome, they made a giant decorated cake in the fall of 1976 for the bicentennial!

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Post# 1029180 , Reply# 22   4/7/2019 at 07:17 by polkanut (Wausau, WI )        

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My parochial school received a lot of government commodities for use in the hot lunch program.  Mrs. McDonald and her staff (Marianne & Doris) sure did a fantastic job turning them into some great tasting foods.

Post# 1029186 , Reply# 23   4/7/2019 at 08:21 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

At out public high school, there was a hot lunch line, and a cold lunch line.  Lunch period was only 22 minutes, and long lines made it difficult enjoy lunch.


I loved it when they served chicken chow mein.  Because a lot of kids didn't care for it, it meant a short hot lunch line, and the lunch ladies really piled it on!

Post# 1029310 , Reply# 24   4/8/2019 at 19:18 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Before I attended

Lower Creek Elementary,,My Grandmother had worked there from 1958 until 1962, She roasted her turkeys like She learned at the school...Season with salt and pepper, Wrap in foil, place in a 550 oven for 2 hours, turn the oven off about 5 in the afternoon, leave until morning, in the morning they would get the turkeys out and cut them up for that days lunch,I bet the food police would have a conniption fit over this but that's the way she ALWAYS fixed turkeys at home and they are great.

Post# 1029372 , Reply# 25   4/9/2019 at 17:48 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

Our high school had at least 6 lines. One serving a regular tray lunch meal of the day. Three others served the aforementioned crinkle cut fries with choice of cheeseburger, breaded chicken sandwich or pizza. The ala-carte line served pizza and fries or chicken wings and fries (on certain days). That was considered the "fancy, preppy line" and was more expensive. There was also a line that served ham or turkey sandwiches with chips or salads, which were all prepacked.

Later the daily tray meals got discontinued, replaced with a chicken of the day line that served mostly chicken sandwich with french fries, chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes with roll, or other things chicken. As well as a pasta line meal of the day that served lasagna, spaghetti or macaroni and cheese mostly. The mac and cheese was great and served on a small tray with a flaky dinner roll. That line also served the aforementioned chicken pot pie for some reason once in a while. Although that seems more appropriate for the chicken line.

There was a time that Pizza Hut pizza was brought in, held in the holding cabinet and served in the Ala-carte line. I guess that probably became against dietary regulations, because later, they started making their own pizza, but fancier than what they served in the regular lines.

Post# 1029796 , Reply# 26   4/13/2019 at 21:04 by ThatRobGuy (Maine)        

Elementary school it was the rectangle pizzas, and turkey haystacks. So so good.

Junior high I usually just had a chef's salad from the cafeteria or brought a bagged lunch

High school, I usually bagged my lunch, and on occasion had a chicken salad sandwich.

But the rectangle pizza, so so so good.

Post# 1030020 , Reply# 27   4/16/2019 at 01:45 by Superocd (PNW)        

Bosco Sticks!

Also: salisbury steak w/ mashed potatoes and (homemade) gravy, Mr. Rib on a bun (BBQ rib sandwich), spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chili and cornbread (made from scratch), chili dogs, chicken parmigiana, super nachos, tacos and teriyaki beef dippers. The Uncrustables PB&J were good too. Those were served whenever we had sack lunch days (usually on early release days) or whenever we had a field trip.

I was crestfallen whenever anything with ham or turkey were on the menu (I didn't eat either, and still don't) so I made sure to bring a lunch from home on those days. Usually that meant my parents were making a trip to Hy-Vee the night before for a BBQ pulled pork or roast beef sandwich from the deli for me to take for lunch the next day.

Kind of off topic: Does anybody remember the "Book It" program that Pizza Hut used to do? If you read a certain number of books, your teacher would issue you a Book It coupon to Pizza Hut, good for one personal sized pepperoni pizza. We also had a similar incentive through Baskin-Robbins for a free cone. Also, Hardee's would give out coupons for free sodas, cones, cheeseburgers and fries for school awards and I think our local McDonald's did this from time to time as well. I couldn't imagine that any of them would do this today since giving away free fast food to students would seem to be very taboo these days (and probably against some law), but maybe they still do this.

Post# 1030101 , Reply# 28   4/16/2019 at 23:18 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        
Book It Program

Definitely remember that. With ours they gave us a Book It Button with candles on it. On each candle you put a little sticker and when the candles were full you got the personal pizza. I loved Pizza Hut as a kid, so naturally I would always fill up my buttons.

So much more fun than the awful accelerated reader that forced you to read such and such number of novels each semester and take tests. I hated having to do that reading and always put it off. I loved reading as a kid, but hated it later in life, I think that accelerated reader was to blame. Later I got in advanced English so didn't have to do that anymore.

Don't remember McD's, B-R or Hardee's coupons but do remember coupons for the Kmart Cafe snack bar that was in the store. Mostly for things like a Free Icee or Popcorn.

I remember one summer in high school taking driver's ed at the school. The cafeteria was open, but apparently only for us. We'd just go to get our meals and then back to the class room to eat it. They were serving those uncrustable sandwiches with milk for the lunch each day. One day they had made meatball subs. But I couldn't get myself to try one, because someone once told of going to a restaurant and getting sick from a meatball sub that was still uncooked in the middle of the meatball. Yuck.

Post# 1030103 , Reply# 29   4/17/2019 at 02:34 by Superocd (PNW)        
The Accelerated Reader program was at my grade school too...

I was a nonfiction reader (well, I liked the Hardy Boys series, but only a few of those books in the series had AR tests IIRC). I hated AR because I was a nonfiction reader and there wasn't a whole lot of tests on nonfiction, so I was limited to reading fiction (and it was hard for me to find a fiction book I would like, which was mystery/crime). By middle school I was reading all kinds of books, anything from books on the NEC to HVAC. Network administration to automotive, anything moderately to highly technical. I would check out those books from the public library.

Post# 1030135 , Reply# 30   4/17/2019 at 15:36 by perc-o-prince (Southboro, Mass)        

Elementary through 8th was parochial school and bagged lunches. When I hit high school it was cafeteria nearly every day. My faves were the ravioli with buttered French bread (an extra piece of bread for $0.05), Salisbury steak with mashed and corn, and the pizza.

"when the principal would grill. (One has to wonder if that would fly in today's world..." Hey John, our local middle school does this once each Spring.


Post# 1030322 , Reply# 31   4/20/2019 at 01:15 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

At the older high school I went to in Rapid City-SD Central high in downtown-the meals were catored.They were DELICIOUS-looked forward to lunchtime.Then-----the meals came from the state and gov't---the downtown Dairy Queen got GREAT business from the students.The later food was TERRIBLE!!!Jello that bounced like a Superball!!And trying to eat it was like biting into the Superball!!!Remember those from Wham-O toys????

Post# 1030425 , Reply# 32   4/21/2019 at 12:36 by e2l-arry (LAKEWOOD COLORADO)        
Check your old school's website.

That's what I did for my Junior High and they post the next month's lunch menu. Whatever your old favorites are, they're likely no longer offered. Gone are the days of hot dogs and tater tots. Just about anything with meat or deep fried has been eliminated. Only "healthy" = no fun and bland, options exist. I couldn't even find the best desert options. Ice Cream Bars, Eskimo Pies and Ice Cream Sandwiches. Nowhere to be found! Makes me glad I was a kid in the 60's. And 50 years later I'm still here so those "unhealthy" Pizza Burgers and french fries didn't due me in!

Post# 1030437 , Reply# 33   4/21/2019 at 13:30 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

Looks like things have improved drastically at my high school since I graduated in the late 1970s.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenwashesmonday's LINK

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