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What was your favorite school lunch?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 2, 2005

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Photo of Dean Andolsek

“Macaroni and cheese or spaghetti and meatballs. I really liked the apple crumb cake for desert.”

Photo of Mitchell Chaney

“Grilled cheese sandwiches, but what I really remember is that the chipped beef on toast was definitely my least favorite.”

Photo of Katelyn Swezy

“I didn’t get to eat hot lunch at school. My mom packed my lunch for me with a little note in it, but I was always jealous of the kids that got to.”

Photo of Heng Tran

“I really liked the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes.”

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gccs14r 12 years, 4 months ago

Any lunch that didn't have lima beans.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 4 months ago

How can I remember that? I can't remember right from left. But I do remember that we had to drink milk every day, so I took my two cents to the machine, put it in, and slid the little carton around to the release slot and pulled it up. About one out of every 10 times, the milk was sour. I can't drink milk to this day!

aha 12 years, 4 months ago

Chickenwich and mashed taters, of course!!

Daniel Speicher 12 years, 4 months ago

I went to Kennedy as a kid... And, I remember really liking Tostada and Pizza days. I used to take the tostada and turn it upside down with the crispy shell on top and then break the shell apart and eat it like nachos. I was quite an innovator, what can I say? The pizza was pretty good. That is, unless they forgot to take the plastic completely off and then you would be picking plastic off of the pizza as you ate it. It was really gross when that happened. Anyway, good memories...

--Danny Speicher

canyon_wren 12 years, 4 months ago

The best school lunches I remember were at John Marshall Jr. High in Wichita--a long time ago. They had an amazing cafeteria then with several choices in each category. I remember that they had squares of ice cream for 10 cents. At high school in Mineral Wells, TX, we had a lot of black eyed peas and cornbread--that was good, too. Other than that, school lunches were mostly in brown bags from home--lots of egg salad sandwiches, etc.

I ran the cash register at the Memorial Union cafeteria while a student and can still remember the prices and how it felt to ring them up on the cash register. Those were the days--mashed potatoes, 12 cents; pecan pie, 20 cents; coffee, 7 cents, etc. All good food. I remember the late JB Smith, a law professor, used to pick all the extra pecans off the pans that had the pecan rolls at breakfast.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

oh right my favorite...mostacholi(sp) It was about the only time I ate at school.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

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average 12 years, 4 months ago

Thanks to neverchanging lunch menus, chili always goes with carrot sticks, a pickle, and a cinnamon roll.

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

I never attended a school with a cafeteria so my story is about the tomato sandwiches my mother gave me everyday from Sept. until the toms were all gone. Imagine thick slices of mom's homemade bread, thick slices of tomatoes from Dad's garden, fresh farm butter and a sprinkling of salt. Nothing better, carried in a lard pail. Tells you my age, does it not. I don't mind, as those were the good old days. But the thing is when the tomatoes were gone, my poor mom was beside herself not knowing what to give me as I would eat nothing else. I was stubborn, even in those days. :o)

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

Beans and cornbread; they actually did the cornbread right!
and, no, this was not lawrence, not even kansas.

in my rural central california school, we discovered the plastic spoons could become quite effective catapults (sp?) for peas. no lunch room monitor for a minute? the clock way up high in front was the ultimate target. ten points for a direct hit.
borritos made with the "mystery meat" very dangerous, we would buy one, throwing our money into a pot, and put one out for the sea gulls. if the sea gull survived the borrito, then we knew it was safe to eat.
no, I will not ID myself lest PETA come after me for this! viva!

ryanjasondesch 12 years, 4 months ago

Duckling a l'orange, freshly shipped in from Alsace.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

Ahh school lunches! I think their piece d'resistance was hot chili with that big fatty cinnamon roll and, as Average mentioned above, carrot/celery sticks.

They always had these little smiley faces made out of mashed potatoes... ICK!

I'll never forget in third grade... the little arrow on the top fold of the milk carton was supposed to point to the person you had a crush on. So, all the students pointed the arrows at themselves, unless they were romantically involved.

I always wanted to point my arrow at the hunky gym teacher that was assigned "bologna duty". ;)

Grammaton 12 years, 4 months ago

I always hated the burgers -- the meat patty would stretch at least an inch before falling apart.

And I once dropped a chicken nugget on the floor at South Junior High -- it bounced like a rubber ball. At least four or five times before resting on the ground.

I never ate school food since then. Bleah!

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

Aww E_M we didn't really have the guts to do an all-out food fight...

We DID have a sound-sensitive traffic light that gauged how loud we were!

Green: Okay. Yellow: 2 minutes of silent lunch; warning. Red: Silent lunch; primary culprits were sent to the time out table.

emdeees 12 years, 4 months ago

SPICY CHICKEN SANDWHICH ALL THE WAY!! and allll school lunch items were even more delectable slathered in ranch dressing.

jonas 12 years, 4 months ago

I liked the mashed potatoes. Not because they tasted good, because they didn't, but because I could mold and carve them into a scale model of Devil's Tower in South Dakota (right?) like they did in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Did anyone else have that public humiliation thing called "stand on the spot/line" for the troublemakers? We had to go stand on the spot, in full view of the rest of the school, and watch them eat, if we got in trouble, which usually meant talking during red light time. Ooh ooh, did anyone else have the light system? (green=fine yellow=softer voices red=sit down and shut up!)

All these terrible memories unearthed. Thanks LJWorld.

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

OMB - right on, no sugar in the cornbread. But my favourite with chili beans is tortillas. I have my own press and am able to get the masa harina and make them frequently. I love them. Boy, I am having trouble typing. got a new computer with new keyboard and must slow the fingers down until I get used to it. :o) What is the weather like in Houston, OMB? My sister in Calif. says it is really hot, of course to her, a new immigrant from Montana, it would seem hot in San Diego. I will find out on Nov. 3, as I am flying down there for a visit.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

One_more_Bob, yes, it was not sweet cornbread. that's right.

bouncing meat. sea gulls wouldn't touch that!
no food fights, just all of us in the lunch room, 8th grade, in trouble on days that peas were served since no one would snitch on the students who fired the peas.

catsup is a vegetabel......

gccs14r 12 years, 4 months ago

No traffic lights for us. Corporal punishment still existed. Get unruly and you got a butt-whipping, sometimes on the spot.

The food comments stirred memories of other inedibles:

dry-as-dust cornbread black-eyed peas leatherette chicken-fried steak watery spaghetti with a teaspoon of bland sauce garlic bread slice with a stone-hard crust surrounding a wet sponge squeaky green beans corndog with never enough mustard and a huge air gap between the swelled breading and the shrunken dog inside creamed anything the huge rubber vein in the fried drumstick green-hued textured vegetable protein burger and limp fries

Gadzooks. For years, subsidized lunch was my one meal a day. It's a wonder I survived.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

oh, never this in school, but Bob, you ever had cornbread made with cheese and peppers? yum.

for regular cornbread best made with bacon grease in my opinion.

hope things are settling down in Houston.

l_eustacy 12 years, 4 months ago

Having grown up and escaped from an orphanage, I didn't have the experience, but I met someone here at the shelter, who said the pizza squares and sloppy joes were their favorite. I thnk they said they liked the square food better than the round food because the round food reminded them of roundabouts. God bless us one and all.

Fishman 12 years, 4 months ago

I think my favorite thing was sloppy joes. The mystery meat was well disguised this way, and it kept if from bouncing on the floor if dropped. As far as food fights are concerned, I had been hit with food a few times from one of the class room thugs, and finally decided to retaliate. I didn't want to get caught so I picked the time judiciously. LOL When there were no lunchroom monitors around, I opened my milk carton all the way, and sneaked up on this unsuspecting soul. You guessed it, a full carton of milk all over his head, and dripping all over him. I discreetly walked as fast as I could out of the lunchroom to alot of happy hooting and hollering students! I wasn't the only one he targeted, but funny how he never bothered me again! LOL Thanks for the milk memories. Fishman

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Isn't anyone going to speak up for sweet, yellow corn bread? I'm shocked, until now I have considered my fellow posters as highly sopisticated, well rounded, culturally diverse, culinarily enlightened people. Well, I guess this is just a test of my willingness to accept other peoples choices, even if they don't appreciate sweet corn bread.

Favorite school lunch? LHS was the first school I attended that had a cafeteria. I have to add my vote to chili with carrot sticks, and the best cinnamon rolls ever (except maybe Mrs. Winner's). Does anyone out there remember Mrs. Winner's? I think it was the original building where El Mez South is now located.

ms_canada: New puter huh? What did you get?

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Not until you add butter & honey, yummmmmm!!

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 4 months ago

In the backroads of Kentucky, our school didn't have a cafeteria, we took from home a fried egg biscuit sandwich with lots of black pepper and at hog killing time, we would get sausage and biscuits, sometimes just a bologna sandwich. These were wrapped in newspaper(no plastic wrap and not even lunch sacks). Sometimes Mom would put all the sandwiches in an empty 4 lb. red lard bucket. One day my favorite brother, Bill, picked up a bucket he thought had the food it and to his amazement he had brought a bucket of lard to school. Our teacher was gracious and shared her lunch with us.

We had 10 children so we could not go to cafeteria when schools did have them. One day they had arranged to have a hot tamale dinner and Dad gave me the quarter to buy it. From that day I have loved spicy food and love Mexican restaurants. We never had fruit to take, except at Christmas when Santa would put oranges, tangerines and a banana in our stocking. Glorious times!!

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

with the honey, that cornbread ain't even cake, its a mess! yuck.

gimme nonsweet cornbread (carnbread) next to, or under, pinto beans cooked low and slow with bay leaves ginger and ham! and make that cornbread with bacon grease!

Bob, elsewhere in this website there's an article indicates Jeff county got a foot of rain last night! here the storm was pretty intense loud short but heavy rain and pea-sized hail. scared Gnomedog all over. three or more structures were set on fire in lawrence by lightening or other storm effects.

oh, Mrs. gnome says her very favorite school lunch was "hot dog" day; you could buy an extra hot dog for 20-cents; came with jello, corn, potato chips, cake and milk. this was a big city school district.

I was already well into college when catsup became a school lunch vegitable, I should clarify.

wow, a bucket of lard to school! quick, cook the borritos in that!

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Okay now, oldfashionedgirl -- pivotal question -- Cornbread -- white, no sugar -- or yellow and sweet? Take your time before you answer, this is very important :)

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Bay leaf? Hmmm, that sounds like New York City :) I can see my work is cut out for me, being surrounded by heathen. (Don't know nuthin bout my granny's sweet cornbread!) I'll just have to cook a pot of pintos with peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, hamhocks, celery seed, lots of black pepper and salt, along with some sweet cornbread and have all of you over for dinner, it is obvious you have been deprived some of the sweeter things of life.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

well, garlic of course!
always use garlic, just did not list it 'cuz I use it in so many things.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

o_m_b: it's also been unusually hot in the valley. 100 - 106 from my inside source:)

Ah yes, garlic! Wonderful flavor, and it naturally lowers cholesterol :) We definitely agree on garlic.

I can see I will have to retreat and save my cornbread battle for another time. Can't find others of like cornbread persuasion, can't seem to beat the Mahjong board, and I'm exhausted from painting. (Not in the tradition of Monet, just plain old painting the woodwork, talk about YUCK!)

Hasta Manana . . . . . .

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

OTTR, I hope you make your kids meals 3X a day.

Most parents don't have the time or energy to pack three-course lunches for their children. Children should pack their OWN damned lunches, anyway! Supervised, of course... don't want the kiddies haulin' off with 5 Snack Packs and a Twinkie.

avhjmlk 12 years, 4 months ago

GEB-Did you go to Deerfield? We had a traffic light on a post (which was then permanently attached to the wall when they added on to the school when I was in 1st grade).

I could never eat the hamburgers. There was one kid in my class named Tim who insisted on eating a hamburger every day and picking it apart piece by piece and eating it with his fingers...

I was always a fan of the macaroni and cheese with little smokies.

At West Junior High, the best days were the days they had white rolls. There is nothing better than a hot white roll.

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