I have been in love with good food ever since I was child and I remember that I was never a picky eater, in fact I was very popular with the kids in my classroom at lunchtime when I was in grade school because I went to a school (I am 56 so I was in grade school from 1963 until 1969) that wouldn’t let you have seconds of any dish if you didn’t eat all of your food on your tray and they wouldn’t let you leave the lunch room to go out to the playground if you didn’t finish your tray. Well I don’t know about your grade school but mine had the most unimaginative cooks ever, they served the worst food I have STILL ever had in my entire life and they didn’t even use salt and pepper on anything. A sampling of lunch offerings as the main dish (the sides will follow): Bologna Boats which was bologna baked with a scoop in instant mashed potatoes on top and 3 sprinkles of yellow cheese like substance; Weiner Rollups which was biscuit dough wrapped around a hot dog and baked (now they call something like this a pig in a blanket but the dough was bland and the hot dogs were very cheap) served with catsup; Boiled white navy beans served with catsup because the beans had no seasonings in them; Pizza, which was thick biscuit dough that was baked with ground beef and tomato sauce on top of it; Spaghetti which was plain boiled noodles topped with plain tomato sauce with ground meat in it, not a spice to be found in it (I have hated plain tomato sauce spaghetti for my entire life and I am quite sure it started here). One of the sides that no other kids would eat and I would, so they would give it to me to eat if for them along with a bribe of a nickel or a dessert, so they could go get seconds or go play was: canned boiled spinach with vinegar to pour on it to get kids to eat it, for some reason I have always like spinach in all of its forms, even plain. Some of the other mediocre side dishes were boiled corn with no seasonings, boiled green beans with no seasonings, boiled cabbage they tried to pass off as sauerkraut (not the kind my grandfather made that I ate at home all of the time that actually had flavor) and plain instant mashed potatoes along with plain jello which I hated then and I still don’t like it, it just doesn’t make sense to eat flavored colored sugar water. One of the few things I remember that was actually edible was hamburger gravy poured over the mashed potatoes for the main dish and turkey gravy poured over bread stuffing, even though they had no spices in them at all. I don’t think anyone could have been served less tasty meals than these. Because the so called ‘hot lunches” were so bad I usually opted to have a lunch packed by my mother and only had a “milk card” so I could have a carton of milk with my tasty sandwich, a cup of hot soup in a thermos and some kind of fruit. My mother was a health nut even before it was fashionable so she was always more than happy to make me lunch. In my school kids were jealous of my having an edible lunch and I later found out that in a lot of other schools a lot of kids thought brown bag lunches were lame but at my grade school no one did because of how bad the food at school was. I remember there weren’t that many kids whose mother’s took the time to make them lunches though. As I got older and went to schools that made a little better food I opted to not take lunch to school also but not until I left my grade school. I am sure it didn’t help that my mother was a good cook and I was used to eating things that were really good to eat, or they sure were compared to what the school served, but I am pretty sure she was a good cook. I used to keep a diary and I wrote about lunches and dinners almost every day so I guess food was important to me or I had a really boring life, and I was not fat at all.

These are 5 of the descriptions I wrote about the lunches I had in school and the meals my mother made:

Here are 5 of the days entries for hot lunches I ate in school and the dinners I had at home: Lunch 1: Mashed Potatoes with hamburger gravy, stewed tomatoes, peaches and milk Dinner 1: Sweet and sour spareribs, corn on the cob, cucumbers and tomatoes Lunch 2: Weiner rollups, salad, cantaloupe and milk Dinner: Corned beef, corn on the cob, cucumbers and tomatoes Lunch 3: Chili, uncrispy dry “Crispy Cornbread, jello, apple crisp, and milk  Dinner 3: Lambchops, corn on the cob, tomatos and cucumbers. Lunch 4: Pizza, green beans, cantaloupe slices and milk Dinner 4: Pork roast, baked potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers,  and Grandpa’s homemade sauerkraut  Lunch 5: Fish Sticks, roll, cake and milk Dinner 5: Pork Chops, French fries, tomatos, cucumbers and green peppers.

What do you think about the “imaginative” school lunches I had? You can see why they are so memorable, and also why after having good old fashioned well prepared meat with fresh vegetables from our garden for dinner every night made the crappy school lunches even worse than they already were and they really didn’t need any help to be very poor. It is also obvious why a good homemade sandwich of any kind along with a cup of hot “campbells” soup out of my “Peanut’s” thermos along with some kind of fresh fruit and a carton of milk was way better than the flavor less hot lunches my school prepared. I have since then gone to lunch with my nephews, about 20 years after I went to grade school and about 25 years ago, and the hot lunches were better than they were at my grade school but still nothing to write home about. I guess if I want to see if they have improved any I could go to my nephew’s children’s school and eat with his children but I don’t know if the food is any better that bad! Did any of you experience horrible school lunches?


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