Best and Worst School Lunches

What my schools gave me to eat (and sometimes vomit)
November 23, 2009
Ahh! School lunches. Waiting in line is something we all learn early on, sometimes in kindergarten and sometimes 1st grade. There were delicious entrees and disgusting piles of filth that every school tried to get kids to eat (successfully and not). School lunches from 15 years ago were slightly different from today as then, the more grease and fat it contained, the better it tasted. This is my list of the best and worst food stuffs that my schools tried to feed me throughout my 12 years of government-required learning and my brutally witty remarks about them.


5. Chicken Nuggets

These things were great with ranch dressing. From my deepest recollection these were normally the food served on Tuesday or Thursday. In elementary school, my friends and I would always reenact Mortal Kombat with these on the table, until we got yelled at by those evil women known as "lunch moms." I still recall getting in trouble in 3rd grade for calling one "fat" to her face, but I digress. The chicken nuggets were served with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies on most occasions. They also tended to be lightly breaded and made with the unused portions of the chicken (or so they looked that way with being darker than white meat chicken). They also had a tendency to have a rubbery taste, but were always palatable with the right amount of your sauce of choice.

4. Cheese Sticks

Another food that was delicious with ranch dressing. The cheese sticks were different from your average mozzarella sticks in that they were much thicker and they were encased in a pizza-dough-like container rather than bread crumbs. A memory that I have of these things from middle school is that once, my friend and I had a fight over the last tray of sticks which resulted in detention for a day (nor did we get the cheesy goodness). I can't quite remember what was usually served with these, but I know there were vegetables with them on a few occasions.

3. Nachos

Oh the nachos. Rarely were these served with any sort of side dish because the lunch ladies liked to just pile them on our trays. This was one of the few dishes I liked to be at school for. When these were served it always seemed to be on Fridays. A fond memory I have of these was from 4th grade. I remember having a laugh with my buddies and shoving mouthful after mouthful of chips into my mouth until I received a nasty cut on the roof of my mouth which kept bleeding until I got home from school. Nothing like a spelling test with a mouth full of blood. I can also recall someone cursing out the lunch lady at my high school once because she forgot to put meat on his serving, but I do not remember what happened after that. The taste was totally delicious. The chips were perfectly salted which complimented the cheese well and the meat topped it off just like whipped cream on a frozen coffee. This was one of the few dishes that could actually fill you up until dinner.

2. Pizza

Oh holy heaven, this pizza was comparable to any frozen brand you could find at the store, but the lunch ladies knew how to cook it just right. It had the perfect amount of sauce and cheese and a crunchy crust. Occasionally it was topped with many pepperonis or just three. I remember being first introduced to this lunch my first day of middle school (7th grade). I instantly fell in love and I was blinded by the sheer deliciousness of it. This was always coupled with french fries (oddly) and with a tray compartment of ranch, you were set. I still recall a time when someone who always covered his pizza in ranch wasn't paying attention to which condiment pump he was at and accidentally covered it in honey mustard. "Aww sh*t!" still rings in my ears to this day.

1. Fiestada (or Fiestata)

I honestly have no clue why it was so damn good. All it was made of was tomato sauce, ground beef, Mexican blend cheese, and a crust similar to those found in Lunchables pizza, but softer. This was always served on Fridays when I was in elementary school and it virtually didn't exist when I was in high school. This was always paired with mixed vegetables or green beans. In middle school, I can recall it being served with fries (which oddly they seemed to serve with everything then). Fiestadas never needed any sort of sauce accompaniment to be delicious and I can still remember that girl throwing her "Mexican Frisbee" since she hated the stuff.

Ok, here is where this is going to get funny.

5. Hamburgers

Well, what do we have here? It's an unknown substance on a bun that the school laughingly calls a "hamburger." No, no, no, no. This sorry dried out piece of faux meat was unfortunately served to us early and late in the average school year since it represented summer. The dish tended to be served with french fries and corn. I can honestly say these were horrible. There were few occasions where I or my friends could stomach one of these. They had a taste that was similar to licking a brand new shoe and I would rather do that than eat a school hamburger.

4. Corn Dogs

I wretch thinking about these. Always over cooked and tasted like your tongue was charred. I can't quite get over why the franks inside had a dark red to brown color. Normal hot dogs and corn dogs alike have a flesh-like tone, so why didn't these? Well, for one they tasted as though they were dragged along the locker room tiles and smelled even worse. My middle school had a nasty habit of serving these with corn and gravy. I always refused to touch the corn dogs and I would suffer through 3 hours until I got home to eat a proper midday bowl of Cap'n Crunch.

3. Fajitas

Don't let the picture I have provided confuse you, THAT is a proper and delicious looking fajita. The school ones normally looked like a mutant taco (no pun intended) with fake steak and a nasty smelling cheese falling out of them. The tortillas they were served on were always crunchy, like when they are out of the package in the refrigerator. They smelled like a dirty garbage disposal. Plain and simple as that. I don't recall these during elementary school, but I do know for fact they served them in my middle and high school. The dish was generally complimented with corn, mashed potatoes, or fries (which made them even worse). This too was something I would always pass up for something actually edible.

2. Creamed Turkey

Or "The Day Before Thanksgiving Death Lunch" as I liked to often call it. The turkey was served as pretty much shredded with gravy and it was on top of mashed potatoes. This was always served with corn or mixed veggies. Now, the taste. The horrifying, terrifying, disgusting, detestable, unpalatable, nasty, just pure "BLECH!" taste. It could be comparable to rubbing some KFC on the freshly laid concrete outside of the school that kids like to write their names and shove their hands into and drowning it in death sauce. The taters were not the problem, but damn, this stuff was bad. Every school I have been to would serve this the day before Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. It would also be served at random times during the winter as well. There were quite a few people I knew who would get a plate of this stuff to start a food fight with because of it's sheer nastiness. I highly doubt that it had any sort or nutritional value.

1. Bagel Pizza

The bagel pizzas...this is where the line is drawn between food and nuclear waste. The taste was so bad that if I use the words I want to describe it with, I would be banned. It smelled like wet dog that had just rolled around in a pile of rotting caterpillar vomit. The so-called "sauce" that was on it, I believe, was the root of the problem and those tiny diced pepperoni. I could never eat this stuff no matter how much ranch dressing I would put on it, nor could I hold my breath because my body knew I had just taken a bite of pseudo-cat waste. There was also a variety of these that were shaped like a normal slice of pizza, but instead of being on top of a bagel slice, the death-stew sat upon a bread-like item that had the consistency of a heavily used sponge that was used to clean the floors around the toilets. They served this with fries, which either way, is irrelevant because this was avoided by most of my friends and I. I can only say, if Death were a food, this would vanquish it.

So, there you have it the best and worst stuff my schools tried to get me to eat (then review with witty remarks years later).

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