I remember the bell would ring and everyone would race to the cafeteria, sometimes shoving each other into lockers just to get ahead... because perish the thought that you weren't first in line for chicken chunks, green mush and soggy fries slathered with cheese slop!
As you rounded the corner, a wall of invisible cholesterol would hit you directly in the face and immediately cause your heart to palpitate. A warm greasy air would simultaneously fill your nostrils with a scent akin to a deep-fried sneaker.
Once you got to the cafeteria there was always one kind, grandmotherly lunch lady whom every kid loved, and another lunch lady who was about as friendly as a hell hound. The former would call you "honey" and give you extra cheese slop with a wink. The latter would order you to "behave" or "be quiet," all the while wishing you dead with her bloodshot eyes.
As you passed through the line, the object was to fill every section of your thin, Styrofoam tray with a different food-like substance.
Of course it depended on the day, but you could expect any one of the following appetizers, entrees and sides:
- rib dippers - rubbery hockey pucks painted with a black line to fool you into thinking they had been grilled
- chicken chunks - microscopic bits of chicken held together with gelatin (probably made from horse hooves)
- nachos - soggy tortilla slathered with one pound of melty cheese, with a yellow color found nowhere in nature
- corn dog - a hot dog wrapped in corn muffin batter and left in the fryer overnight
- peanut butter and jelly - a peanut butter-flavored blob, topped with jelly and placed between white bread the color of new fallen snow
- pizza - cardboard, marinara sauce and nine pounds of cheese
- pizza bagels - bagel-shaped cardboard, marinara sauce and nine pounds of cheese
- tater tots - congealed potato chunks deep fried for several days
- veggies - aka ketchup
These are some of the delicacies I enjoyed. What tasty treats did you enjoy in middle school??
Photo credit: John Murden