We had "Popeye" salad in Massachusetts…and some amazing clam boats. The best lunch lady was a German woman who would kick out some great cookies and pizza. Even my mother thought it was first rate on Parent-Teacher nights.
And what about that American Chop Suey?[xx(]
I teach 4th grade. First day of school was Monday. 2 kids threw up from bad plums. I have never seen a shade of red like this. What a way to start a year.
Yay!!! Thank you Julia!
Actually, I was hankerin’ for the CHEWY peanut butter bars! Hmmm????
After making that post, I discovered that I couldn’t find the cookie recipe. This is, I hope, a temporary situation that can be resolved with some serious housecleaning. But here is the Chewy Peanut Butter Bar recipe, courtesy of the Milwaukee Public School System circa 1973:
Chewy Peanut Butter Bars
1-3/4 c. flour 1-1/2 c. sugar
1-3/4 t. baking powder 1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. shortening 1/2 T. salt
3 eggs 1 T. vanilla
7 ounces peanut butter 4 ounces coconut
Mix flour and baking powder together. Combine shortening, peanut butter, both sugars, salt, eggs, and vanilla in mixer bowl. Mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients, mix only until blended. Mix in coconut. Spread into greased 13×9 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Makes 24 bars.
I was introduced to mexican food (taco’s, natcherly) at my high school cafeteria. Wonderful. I guess I lived a sheltered life early on, I had never had one before freshman HS.
Indeed! Almost surprised me right into vegetarianism.
That was the surprise!
I stopped eating school hot lunches in fifth grade when the Tuna Surprise (lump of tuna on a lettuce leaf) moved. I swear. It moved. On the other hand, one of the schools I attended had a salad bar. I thought that was a great idea. Alas, being a Navy brat, we soon moved and it was back to turkey sandwiches.
A few things that remind me of my school years were the apple crisp, the BBQ sandwich and the cheap spaghetti.
It ain’t there no more but it was good at the time.
Paul E. Smith
I forgot to ask why Shepherd’s Pie was such a big deal in the school cafeteria when I was a kid. I thought it was gross when a friend made it.
Coming up in the Philadelphia public school system in the 60s, I had plenty of opportunity to feast on cafeteria lunches. However, I probably didn’t like whatever they had (G-d, was I a picky eater – sheesh!), so I think my Mom just packed me jelly sandwiches everyday. Maybe I got a hotdog once in awhile.
Here’s my daughter’s high school cafeteria menu for the first week of school next week:
Monday – LABOR DAY HOLIDAY !!! SCHOOL CLOSED
Tuesday – "WELCOME BACK" MENU
CHICKEN NUGGETS (6) WITH CHOICE OF SAUCE
AND "BACK TO SCHOOL" SUPERPRETZEL
Wednesday – "DIPPEP" DAY (NOTE TO SELF: Must find out what "Dippep" means! Call Food Services Director! Sounds weird!)
"MAXSTIX" – PIZZA STICKS FILLED WITH MOZZARELLA CHEESE (3)
WITH OR WITHOUT MARINARA SAUCE
Thursday – "HAVE IT YOUR WAY" STEAK SANDWICH
CHEESE STEAK ON ITALIAN ROLL WITH CHOICE OF TOPPINGS
ALSO AVAILABLE: CHICKEN CHEESE STEAK OR PLAIN STEAK SANDWICH
Friday – EVERYONE’S FAVORITE DAY! (Insert Papa John’s logo here)
AVAILABLE WITH OR WITHOUT PEPPERONI
She’s on Weight Watcher’s like myself, so what worked for her in her freshman year was just a hoagie everyday without all the extra oil and mayo, and no chips. She doesn’t get tired of eating the same thing everyday (although I kinda see that coming this year), and has dropped 44 lbs.
Our hot lunches were made on the premises when I was in elementary and junior high schools. The lunch ladies always wore their white uniforms, white "nurse’s" shoes, and hairnets. (The Saturday Night Live sketch with Chris Farley as the Lunch Lady pretty much does them justice.) The main courses and desserts were made from scratch. However, the vegetables came from a can but swam in real butter–a treat for me, because we NEVER had butter at our house, only that tasteless margarine. I think that all of the school district’s lunch ladies must have shared the same set of recipes. The food tasted the same in both elementary and junior high. By the time I reached high school, very little "scratch" cooking was done anymore. It was usually something out of an industrial-sized can, like Chef Boyardee ravioli or those horrible frozen pizza slices.
Some of the items I remember from my earlier years are:
Real all-beef hamburgers
Chicken a la King
"Wiener Winks"–(whoever thought up a name like that?!!) A "Wiener Wink" consisted of one piece of white bread, buttered, upon which one placed a slice of American cheese. The wiener was placed on the cheese/bread on the diagonal. Bring up two corners, secure with a toothpick, and toast it.
Homemade Apple Crisp
Some kind of gingerbread with a lemon glaze
I’m sure there was a much wider variety, but this is all I can remember right now. Here’s an authentic school cafeteria recipe that was submitted by one of our district’s lunch ladies a long time ago to an old church cookbook. It’s for Salisbury Steak. Bon appetit!
SCHOOL CAFETERIA’S SALISBURY STEAK (Recipe dates from early ’60’s.)
Form ground beef into flat patties. Brown on both sides. Drain off grease.
Mix together and pour over the patties:*
1 can of tomato soup
1 can of golden mushroom soup
Add one medium onion, sliced into rings. Cover skillet and simmer 20-30 minutes.
*I would think that you’d add water to the condensed soups or something. Anybody have any suggestions?
I went to a severely overcrowded (110 kids in my first grade class in one room with one nun and no teachers’ aides, student teachers, etc. – just Sister Margaret Mary and 110 6 year olds) Catholic elementary school that did not have cooked lunches. We ate in shifts in a dreary low ceilinged basement with exposed light bulbs and pipes. But my mom packed wonderful lunches that included on occasion: hot homemade soup in my thermos in the wintertime, ham salad sandwiches cut into bunny rabbit and teddy bear shapes with cookie cutters, an assortment of cheeses, crackers and fruits, celery stalks stuffed with pimento cream cheese, miniature pies and TastyKakes. One of her more unique creations was a hot dog suspended by kitchen twine in a thermos of hot tomato soup or baked beans. All I had to do was pull it out, remove the string and put it in the roll. The aroma brought kids from the surrounding tables trying to trade their PB&J’s for the hot dog but I succumbed only once – for a Hank Aaron baseball card. We could buy a carton of milk or chocolate milk and the 5th though 8th graders could also buy orange drink.
I looked forward to jr. high, where the cafeteria served things like American Chop Suey and Savory Noodle Goulash. After rapidly learning not to trust anything with the word ‘savory’ as part of its description, I packed lunch for the next 4 years, slipping out occasionally for a cheese steak during high school lunch hours.
The cafeteria of the college I attended had large porations of decent food, although all I really remember was that they had good ice cream at dinner every night.
I went to school in the 50’s and early 1960’s and I remember the food at school always being pretty good. I think it was a time that the food was real and that the government didn’t get involved in lunch programs yet. The lunch ladies took pride in their work and were respected. One thing that sticks out in my mind was that we would get fried shrimp on Fridays! I remember that because in my family we always ate the tails and at school everyone thought that was pretty weird.
I went to college in the mid 1960’s at a big state school and seem to remember pretty good food. I was on the swim team so we got to eat with the football players. You sure could work up an appetite after 5am workouts! I transfered to a small college in NE Iowa where there was a packing plant near by. We ate a lot of pork! I developed a great love for a good pork tenderlion! In nice weather they would grill outside and have pork steaks or chops. A big recreation for us was to go to a food market that was near campus and walk up and down he aisles and say "ooooh look at that ____, my mom makes the best ____!" It was a very small college in a very small town!
Man, Chili on your dogs! We were lucky to get mustard, they were boiled, slapped in a bun, wrapped in a paper napkin & packed in metal cans to be delivered to each classroom.
Of Course there was First Friday, when we would all go to Mass. Then we needed a breakfast, translation – a carton of milk & a bun. The buns were good. They were made by a local bakery that was owned by my neighbor.
We got donations from Der Weinerschnitzel, so if I ever miss elementary school food, I can just pull up to their drive-in window.
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