I always hated school cafeteria food...

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enginecapt
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2004/12/15 13:48:53 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by noncentz

Massachusetts high school lunch in the 80's:

A love it or leave it "meal" was something called Pizza-burger, which resounds with a lot more potential than it actually offered, but I loved it anyway.



It sounds intriguing. Since you seem to be the only person to have experienced this item, would you mind trying to recreate it one of these days?
#61
noncentz
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2004/12/15 15:02:05 (permalink)
I should contact my old school and see if the recipe still exists. There's no way I could recreate it faithfully because both the sauce and the Cheez-It thingies were unique in taste and texture. They seemed like Cheez-its, they tasted like Cheez-its, but I have no idea if they were Cheez-its. Several students were convinced the bun topping was simply reconstituted dog food, but it was a dog food we enjoyed.

I remember one lunch lady named Juanita who was quite plump from the hips up, and skinny as a rail from the waist down. She had the same body type as the Billy Crystal character from Monster's Inc.
#62
noncentz
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2004/12/15 15:12:49 (permalink)
I've often referred to mass cultural distaste for something we secretly enjoy and the societal peer pressures associated with it as "High School Cafeteria Syndrome"

We're culturally trained to hate it, but it was never really as bad as we claim. There were aspects of it that we actually enjoyed and miss but we'll never publicly admit to it.

#63
enginecapt
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2004/12/15 15:16:46 (permalink)
Just like those burgers I mentioned earlier that my HS served. I love to bitch about the painted on grill marks and the gray mystery meat patty, but I sure ate the hell out of em, and would no doubt do so if presented with a plateful today.
#64
Sundancer7
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2004/12/16 14:36:12 (permalink)
It has been so long ago that my memory of elementary school is somewhat retarded. What I recall most in high school was the sloppy joe's burger and the apple crisp. Every time it was available, I would purchase. To this day, I still make the same dish when I can although it never seems the same as when I had it in high school during 1956-1950.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#65
Mark in Ohio
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2004/12/16 15:34:30 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by DinoS

My high school used to make a 'hot hamburger sandwich' which I loved. They would make a hamburger cream gravy (probably from govt surplus food). Then they would put a slice of white bread on the plate, add a scoop of mashed potatoes, add another slice of white bread on top, and then ladel the hamburger gravy over the entire thing.

The only food rebellion I remember was when they made 'sloppy joes' using tuna fish.


Dino

Oh, yuk! Sloppy Joes made with tuna fish...did they try to pin a catchy name on them like Sloppy Jonahs, Fishy Joes, Sloppy Starkist, or Field & Stream? Or were they hoping no one would notice the switcheroo?
#66
3Docs
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/07/28 18:59:54 (permalink)
Anyone ever had "baloney boats?" LOL! These were basically bologna fried just until the edges curled up (like a boat) filled with mashed potatoes and topped with melted cheese. Probably a Florida Original. I also remember "Johnny Marzetti"-- nasssteeee! Always served with nasty cole slaw too. Barf-day!
One culinary delight of lunchlady land stands out in my mind. In Florida it was called "potatoe turbate." It was basically ground beef and onions smothered in brown gravy and spooned over mashed potatoes. I've made my own version over the years (heavy on the garlic) but nothing quite compares to my elementary school memoried. Ahh- comfort food!
#67
stricken_detective
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/07/31 03:49:09 (permalink)
Grade school food in the 80's was, interesting.

The whole city got the same food, the junior highs & high schools had more of a selection.

I remember Tuesday as sausage pizza day, Wednesday as hot ham & cheese, which I think sparked off my hatred of ham. They would give you one slice of ham, and some cheese, on a bun, wrapped in tin foil. The ham they used usually had a large white thread of fat, tendon, whatever running through it, which would not come off w/your bite, but instead stick out of the sandwich. That was a day I went hungry, or would trade for other things. They would give you 2 packages--a hot one & a cold one. The cold one usually had a piece of fruit (peach or pear half, fruit cocktail, applesauce) and another 2 things, like a stick of cheese and a piece of garlic bread (w/spaghetti) The hot one held your chicken legs, tater tots, spaghetti w/meat sauce, hot dog, hamburger, etc. Occasionally, we would get something good like pancakes & syrup & sausage links. For that one, I would always get chocolate milk instead of white. But for that lunch only. Every other time I drank white.

When I was in 6th grade we moved & I insisted upon taking my lunches to this school. I had eaten enough of Kenosha Unified's lunches to know that they weren't going to get any better.

In Ohio I took my lunch. That was 1986, 7th grade & I can remember they sold pretzel rods in their cafeteria. I can't remember ever eating a hot lunch @ that school.

Same in New Jersey. I don't think I ever ate a cafeteria lunch there. By then my mom had figured out that leftovers = lunchbox fodder.

When we moved back here in 1988, same thing, junior high cafeteria had a bit more choices than the grade school, but that didn't matter. I wasn't going to eat it. They also had a cart where you could buy ice cream sandwiches, and an ala carte line. Not sure what the difference was between that & the regular lunch. The only thing I can vouch for that I liked in 10 years in that school system was the pizza boats & of course the salad bar. But that wasn't until high school, 1989.

When we moved to the city we live in now, they had machines in their lunch room where you could buy a small can of ravioli, spaghetti, etc for $1. With some chips & a soda from the other vending machines, you could just do a machine lunch for under $3.

But they also served the regular food & ALWAYS had my favorite, kosher pickles. One day I bought 10 pickle spears & just ate that for lunch. The other thing I liked there was the broccoli cheese soup. I used to dip the fries into it.

Oh & the churros! This city has a large Mexican population, and the Mexican food here is awesome.
#68
Grillmeister
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/07/31 10:47:11 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Scarlett

Our cafeteria food wall always excellent.
The schools (grammer, junior/middle and high) were relatively small and the smell of the baking rolls started perminating the halls by second period. Every one was in a 'feeding frenzy' by lunch.
The vegetable/beef soup, meat loaf and chicken pot pie-- all legendary.



Ditto! Perhaps the most enjoyable piece of bread I have ever eaten was in grade school. Yes, the smell of fresh baked rolls had the whole building salivating by lunchtime, and more than made up for any deficiencies in the noon meal. Also peanut butter strips and mac and cheese stood out in my memory. My grandmother was a food service worker in our school prior to the days of contract feeding. I have a recipe of mac and cheese from her that I suspect is based on the school version. I also cleaned up on weiner and sauerkraut day since no one else would touch the stuff.
Some of the best salsa I have ever tasted also came from an institutional setting. The mess personnel at Camp Mabry (Austin, TX-1980's) produced some of the freshest salsa around. Whole serving pans full of firey goodness! It would be served for several meals until the batch was gone making it "meaner" with each tasting.
#69
corabeth
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/07/31 16:03:16 (permalink)
As with so many parts of our daily lives, cafeteria food was so much better when the government(national, state, local, take your pick) kept their stinkin' paws out of our business.

I graduated from high school in 1965 & I fondly remember the great food I had at our school cafeterias. All the cooks wers of a certain age & of a certain size. Round kind faces & plump(sometimes downright fat!) shapes, with their hair done up in hair nets. Boy, could they cook. I loved their spagetti with meat sauce, real turkey & dressing, handformed hamburgers, made from scratch french fries. I could go on & on. all the rolls, cookies, cakes, pies,etc, were made from scratch. Also, our drink choices were milk, water, & milk. No soda machines, no juice boxes.

When I was in grade school, we did not have a cafeteria, but on Fridays the PTA moms would make hot dogs(this was in West Virginia, so they were slaw dogs with homemade chili & slaw. We could smell the chili cooking all morning & by lunch time, we all were sooo hungry. Those PTA moms hot dogs were the best I have ever eaten!!!
#70
Z66 Butch
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/19 20:01:37 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by corabeth

As with so many parts of our daily lives, cafeteria food was so much better when the government(national, state, local, take your pick) kept their stinkin' paws out of our business.

I graduated from high school in 1965 & I fondly remember the great food I had at our school cafeterias. All the cooks wers of a certain age & of a certain size. Round kind faces & plump(sometimes downright fat!) shapes, with their hair done up in hair nets. Boy, could they cook. I loved their spagetti with meat sauce, real turkey & dressing, handformed hamburgers, made from scratch french fries. I could go on & on. all the rolls, cookies, cakes, pies,etc, were made from scratch. Also, our drink choices were milk, water, & milk. No soda machines, no juice boxes.

When I was in grade school, we did not have a cafeteria, but on Fridays the PTA moms would make hot dogs(this was in West Virginia, so they were slaw dogs with homemade chili & slaw. We could smell the chili cooking all morning & by lunch time, we all were sooo hungry. Those PTA moms hot dogs were the best I have ever eaten!!!


It sounds like you went to school with me! I also graduated in 1965 and you described the cafeteria workers perfectly! I went to a small school, there were maybe 110 kids in 4 grades in high school. They fed us to good! They would serve you going down a line and give you plenty but there was always a pot setting over to the side. If we had Spanish hamburger it was filled with that. If we had pizza there would be 3-4 pizzas setting over there, see it was help yourself to seconds! I do not remember ever getting a bad meal there.

Butch
#71
ScreenBear
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/20 22:28:51 (permalink)
Our cafeteria food in high school in the mid 1960s in Newark, NJ, was average, though I had it practically every day, for .37 cents. It was .10 more if you wanted a square of cake, which was great. The frosting was wonderful.

Funny, how I can taste it now. This taste olfactory memory thing sure is something, Monsieur Proust.

The good day was Friday, when they made their version of Pizza on Pizza Bread (kind of a thick, open pita). Think I'll make some tomorrow.

I often thought to brown bag it, but always seemed to forget my lunch and would have to borrow the .47. So, Mom gave me the .47 every day. I had great fun in the cafeteria with my best buddies.

But eating with them now, when possible, is about as much fun. We're all still in touch...all 18 of us.
#72
V960
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/21 10:21:42 (permalink)
I graduated high school in 1973. I attended school for twelve years in the Charlotte Mecklenburg system.

Our elementary school had a policy of you had to at least try everything, really try it not just an atom to the end of your tongue, until I threw up on the teacher's shoes after a big bite of liver. Sorry Mrs. Edwards.

My junior high had a crazy food manager and a great staff. Some of the best food I've ever eaten. Fresh yeast rolls everyday, meatloaf better than my mother's, and great green beans. She had the shop build her chicken coops so she could have hens for eggs. She fed the chickens the powdered this and that they supplied for us and had the ag class raise vegetables in a green house and in an outside garden. The home econ classes would can veggies from the gardens. This went on for fifteen or so years until a new manager came in downtown and fired her. She opened a restaurant w/ her whole staff (they quit in protest) and made a bundle.

My high school food was horrible. Either packed lunch or drove into town for three years. I'm sure I ate there, but I just don't remember it. I do remember "The Little Store" , egg salad sandwiches, Sealtest orange drinks and kiss or two w/ Regina before going back to class. Ahhh yes...and I wanted to grow why??

#73
AndreaB
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/21 10:37:51 (permalink)
Moi missed out on all of these great rolls some of you remember. I remember the fake mashed potatoes slung out on an ice cream scoop, the greasy fennel pizza rectangles, the horrid hot ham and cheese sandwiches, and the weird "crisp whatever" desserts. I do have fond memories of the spiced cake with the white icing.
I can safely say my "Hair Bear Bunch" lunchbox got quite a workout, and is probably worth something on ebay today!

Andrea
#74
hefried
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/21 12:54:18 (permalink)
i haven't been to roadfood for a while... SO i went to check out the original article posted for this forum and it's gone! boo hoo.

But i read alot of the responses and hafta add my 2 cents about cafeteria food.

i went to elementary school in the early/mid 70's., im massachusetts..

i loooved this thing they had called "american chop suey"
It WAS no WHERE NEAR regular chop suey with bean sprouts et all...
this was hamburger or meat of somekind ( shudder to think) and macaroni and i don't know what else.. it was like a stew sortof.
i also loved the jello with whipped cream that we sometimes had.

i went to a 4 room old elementary school and we had " cafeteria"- "gym"- "art" -"music" room all in the old buildings basement. come to think of it.. i think they might have (must have) made the food else where and brought it to school cuz there's NO kitchen there~
#75
porkbeaks
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/21 13:09:22 (permalink)
At Hunterdon Central H.S. (Red Devils) in Flemington, NJ in the early 1960's we were served "Red Devil Sandwiches" and, on occasion, I still make them (improved version) today. Since grilled cheese and tomato soup go so well together, they served it open faced with a slightly thickened soup poured over the top. If the bread is nicely toasted before melting the cheese on top, it turns out like a couple of giant croutons in the soup. Everything else they served was totally forgetable. pb
#76
BluePlate
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/21 18:36:46 (permalink)
I went to Walker Junior High in CA circa 1968. They had tamales in a plastic wrapper, like a small football about 3 inches long with a plastic zip tear to get at the bizzare concotion inside. Like Jack in the box tacos, they were more engineered than cooked. A true guilty pleasure. I've tried to find em by searching commercial foodservice sites, but unlike the fishstick, they must have been outlawed.
#77
Sandy Thruthegarden
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/21 18:59:41 (permalink)
"Chuckwagon day" was the worst. That really meant leftovers from Monday through Wednesday thrown together and heated up for Thursday. Imagine lasagne with Monday's bacon and Tuesday's crumbled sausage patties. I once found baked beans in lasagne. Fridays was always fish sticks, mac and cheese, or tuna salad (Catholic school).

My high school, on the other hand, had a real cook and the food was good. We also had a softserve machine for desert.

#78
kimmet
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/21 23:57:21 (permalink)
What about the times when the calender would say peanut butter and jelly. You would get it for lunch and it would always be pb and honey. Where in the world was the jelly?
#79
Wallyum
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/22 00:04:35 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by corabeth

As with so many parts of our daily lives, cafeteria food was so much better when the government(national, state, local, take your pick) kept their stinkin' paws out of our business.

I graduated from high school in 1965 & I fondly remember the great food I had at our school cafeterias. All the cooks wers of a certain age & of a certain size. Round kind faces & plump(sometimes downright fat!) shapes, with their hair done up in hair nets. Boy, could they cook. I loved their spagetti with meat sauce, real turkey & dressing, handformed hamburgers, made from scratch french fries. I could go on & on. all the rolls, cookies, cakes, pies,etc, were made from scratch. Also, our drink choices were milk, water, & milk. No soda machines, no juice boxes.

When I was in grade school, we did not have a cafeteria, but on Fridays the PTA moms would make hot dogs(this was in West Virginia, so they were slaw dogs with homemade chili & slaw. We could smell the chili cooking all morning & by lunch time, we all were sooo hungry. Those PTA moms hot dogs were the best I have ever eaten!!!


This is the first time I've ever seen Slaw Dogs mentioned. They're one of my favorite once-a-year treats and the only place I've ever seen them is at the Chili Company in Cincinnati. They also have a Slaw Way, which is a 3-Way with slaw. They absolutely GAG my coworkers, but I think it's a great combination.
#80
corabeth
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/22 12:03:58 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Wallyum

quote:
Originally posted by corabeth

As with so many parts of our daily lives, cafeteria food was so much better when the government(national, state, local, take your pick) kept their stinkin' paws out of our business.

I graduated from high school in 1965 & I fondly remember the great food I had at our school cafeterias. All the cooks wers of a certain age & of a certain size. Round kind faces & plump(sometimes downright fat!) shapes, with their hair done up in hair nets. Boy, could they cook. I loved their spagetti with meat sauce, real turkey & dressing, handformed hamburgers, made from scratch french fries. I could go on & on. all the rolls, cookies, cakes, pies,etc, were made from scratch. Also, our drink choices were milk, water, & milk. No soda machines, no juice boxes.

When I was in grade school, we did not have a cafeteria, but on Fridays the PTA moms would make hot dogs(this was in West Virginia, so they were slaw dogs with homemade chili & slaw. We could smell the chili cooking all morning & by lunch time, we all were sooo hungry. Those PTA moms hot dogs were the best I have ever eaten!!!


This is the first time I've ever seen Slaw Dogs mentioned. They're one of my favorite once-a-year treats and the only place I've ever seen them is at the Chili Company in Cincinnati. They also have a Slaw Way, which is a 3-Way with slaw. They absolutely GAG my coworkers, but I think it's a great combination.


Wallyum,

I think West Virginia has the best hotdogs. The best places to get them are non-chain ice cream stands and also bowling alleys. I always ask if they make their own cole slaw. Nothing is worst than a great chili dog with that awful processed cole slaw than comes in a plastic buckt. Yuck!!!
#81
Sundancer7
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/22 12:09:11 (permalink)
Bearden High School cafeteria was super. I only wish i could still enjoy it today.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
#82
skylar0ne
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/22 13:45:57 (permalink)
We had a wonderful cafeteria at Jackson Park elementary school back in the fifties. My favorite thing was something they called a "silver streak." It was like a made from scratch yeast donut, except it was rectangular. It was glazed and had raisins in it, and they were usually served warm. Yum.

Jr. high and high school were both on one huge campus. These meals were not nearly as good. We would have the slaw dogs, but it always seemed to be the day after they mowed the grass.
#83
Poopy
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/22 15:54:42 (permalink)
When I was in the fifth grade, I lived in a small town in Oklahoma. I had to ride 10 miles to school in the bus, but I was always rewarded with a homemade breakfast. I especially loved the biscuits and gravy. For lunch, we were treated to home made burritos, pinto beans and cornbread, fantastic home made pizza, nachos, real turkey and dressing. I never had a bad lunch there!
#84
Sandy Eggo
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2005/11/24 11:25:32 (permalink)
Has food improved or gone downhill since the 60’s? I remember school lunch being some mystery meat in gravy with mashed potatos that tatsed like powder. Creamy corn and milk. Mac and cheese, spaghetti, meatloaf or swiss steak, ham and beans, sandwich days. Jello, pudding anf small cakes for dessert.

Fish sticks were the worst and I will never eat them anywhere. (I know how they make them….) We did not have pizza, hot dogs or hamburgers except on special occasions. No Pepsi, Coke or Mountain Dew. Just Milk, Choc. Milk, Apple or Orange Juice.

Even when we went on field trips, including to DisneyLand, we had to pack our own meals of bologna, tune or PB&J sandwiches. We couldn’t sneak a “Moon Burger by Space Mountain..


#85
violetflower
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2006/01/18 23:20:42 (permalink)
I work in an elementary school, and supervise in the cafeteria everyday for two hours. They still serve the square pizzas with the sausage and seeds, lol. The steamed hamburgers, vegetables with ranch dip, baked apples. Today was corn dogs and a ham and cheese deli sandwich. Their mashed potatoes are butter and grease filled.

I don't mind any day except for chili burrito and fish day. It smells awful.
#86
pmrkr2
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2006/01/19 00:37:01 (permalink)
the things we remember fondly, chicken chow mein on mondays and hot dogs & sauerkraut with baked beans on tuesday. and i actually liked it. whew good thing i grew up.
#87
tacchino
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2006/01/19 01:09:37 (permalink)
You all have incredible memories for details. I was just trying to remember what I ate even in high school (a little more than 25 years ago)...I couldn't remember a thing other than the occasional treat for me on Fridays: a fried fish fillet sandwich with tater tots! I recall the sandwich tasting like what we would get at the ubiquitous fish frys in upstate New York...flaky white fish (haddock maybe?) fried until golden (not greasy at all) with shredded lettuce, and a great onion flavored tartar sauce. Other than that, nothing...no other memories of cafeteria dishes whatsoever...grammar school is a complete blank!
#88
BearHit
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2006/01/19 11:23:56 (permalink)
Wow - good memories!

Elementary school cafeteria (actually the HS lunchroom) in Northern Illinois in the late 60s-early 70s

The pizza burgers were my favorite "entree" (baked Sloppy Joes with cheddar topping on half bun)

And the "doggie biscuits" were the highly-bartered-for dessert item (Oatmeal no-bake squares)

Also first experience with Chili w/o beans - with the sugar rolls for dipping

Pizza squares, fish patties/stix, SOS, pineapple upside down cake...

Had to be the best part of youth education!

And like others have said, our lunch ladies were sweet old women - who could cook anything - just like Grandma!


#89
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RE: I always hated school cafeteria food... 2006/01/19 14:53:05 (permalink)
I grew up in Rensselaer, NY in school from 1974-1987 13 years of torture.
My favorites were always the Chicken or Beef in gravy served over rice. Thursdays was Pizza Day and Friday was Fish can you imagine Fish at School one day we had Spaghetti and the other were 2 days rotating Lunch trays of death.
Least favorite or at least most odd, Meat Roll with gravy served with Mashed Taters and peas/carrots (yuck)
The Meat roll looked something sort of like a cinnamon roll only instead of cinnamon sugarery goodness they replaced it with some type of brown paste like, mystery Meat. It was perhaps one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen plated in my entire life. There were numerous other equally offensive items offered however this is the worst one I can recall and they served it for many years.
#90
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