Top 5 Nostalgic School Cafeteria Foods

With schools starting back up, why not take a nostalgic look back at some of the meals we had back in the 90s. Now in 2020s, the state is concerned about what our kids are eating. Back in my day, most of the stuff we ate could hardly be classified as food.

Here are 5 foods that I enjoyed, but also find disgusting.

Honorable mention: Tater Tots

The reason this is a honorable mention is because… I personally hate school Tater Tots. I despise tots. if they are freshly pulled out of a frier, I don’t mind them, but what school was freshly deep frying these to order? None!

To me, school tots tasted like old microwaved fries. They were always a stage between bland and stale. They were nothing to look at and even harder to swallow.

There is only one reason they are on the list. If I did not put them on this list somewhere, I knew someone would be outraged.

Number 5: Gelatin

Okay! After going off on tots, I know this is not much better, but there is more of a personal nostalgia for this jiggly red monster than baked balls of potatoes.

Did it taste watery? Yes.

Did it have a flavor? Maybe.

The reason this made my top 5 is because I did not know one person that grabbed school gelatin and not try to eat it through a straw. It was pointless, disgusting, and absolutely hilarious to an adolescent boy.

Number 4: Chocolate Milk

Did anyone drink white milk on purpose? There were days in school that chocolate milk was the only thing worth getting on the menu.

In my home, chocolate anything was a special treat. Whenever I got the sweet brown cow juice in the cafeteria line, I felt like I was getting away with something. It was my constant. When the school was out of chocolate milk, I regretted not calling in sick that day.

Number 3: Cheeseburger

Was it meat? I have no idea what government agency would loosely qualify this as a meat product, but I did look forward to enjoying a somewhat identifiable meal at school.

Burgers are a fast food staple, and this was a close enough substitute. There was the overcooked patty, the undercooked cheese, and the dry bun. When I covered it with ketchup and mustard, I enjoyed every bite.

Number 2: Mac & Cheese

There is no reason I should have enjoyed cafeteria mac & cheese, but I loved every bit of it. When the cafeteria worker spooned a glob of noodles and orange sauce onto my tray, I always wanted more. I also knew I had to eat it quick because it would get to congealed if I waited to enjoy.

Looking back (and this is a positive memory by the way), I used to take the leftover cheese sauce left on my tray and adhere my fork to it. The fork appeared to defy gravity in the Orange mess. If I waited long enough before bringing my tray to the trash, the prying of the fork off the plastic brought me an odd satisfaction.

As an adult, I now realize that concrete mass of cheese was doing numbers on my digestive system.

Number 1: Pizza

Why did everyone I know look forward to this, including me!

Cafeteria pizza did not even resemble recognizable pizza, but it was still pizza. This rectangular piece of familiarity was a highlight of most days. Pizza had to be one of the favorite foods amongst my peers. If it had just cheese or some form of meat, it all tasted the same.

In school, I convinced myself the crust was squished bread, and the cheese came from a spray can. This was most likely not true, but I felt I was not far off. That thought did not stop me from devouring every last bite of the rectangular meal.

After all, even the worst pizza is still decent pizza.

What was your favorite school cafeteria food? Let us know in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Top 5 Nostalgic School Cafeteria Foods

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  1. Today’s hamburger, became tomorrow’s Salisbury steak, became the next day’s chili…

    1. My schools were the kind that had burgers on Monday, meat spaghetti on Tuesday, and Italian sloppy joes on Wednesday.

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