The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Lunch Time

Ah, school lunch in elementary school.

The cafeteria, aka the “all-purpose” room, with the fold out tables, no windows and sometimes a stage at one end. Teachers aides, or occasionally the teachers who weren’t quick enough to invoke “planning time” roamed the polished linoleum trying to police who was rolling tater tots across the room, or squirting each other with juice boxes, or which second grader needed saving from his own lunch.

True the threat of violence from one’s own lunch seemed far fetched to some, if not all except the second grader in question. I mean have you see what they put in lunch meat these days?

Be honest, now. How many of us, fearing the silent threat of bologna on rye (I mean, c’mon it’s like whoever made this lunch has never met me) would squish that god-awful sandwich into oblivion and head straight for the Fritos and the Twinkie.

Following which some aide or teacher would witness an act of sandwich-cide and with narrowed eyes say, “Some starving child would be happy to have that.”

To this there are many replies:

They can have it.  Send it to them. No they wouldn’t.  Maybe if the kid was a goat, and so on.

If we were lucky, our home packed lunch would be so bad we could use it to torment and gross out our table mates. But, honestly who could get that lucky?

Probably the worst luck you could have would be forgetting your lunch on the bus or the kitchen counter, or the days when all that was left was the stale heel from a loaf of bread and mom would send you with — oh, crap — lunch money!

Yea, I guess the only thing more dangerous to a six-year-old boy than pop math quizzes, or bullies, or six-year-old girls is certainly cafeteria tapioca. Come to think of it, cafeteria tapioca is probably life threatening at any age.


Part of the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge.

Updated: April 14, 2017 — 5:00 pm


  1. Pretty funny. I remember my kids telling me that cafeteria food wasn’t so great. Then they started with all that “healthy eating” stuff and they said it was worse!
    L is for Loverboy

    1. Yeah, that sounds about right. Thanks Janet

  2. I rarely ate at the cafeteria because my mom was so good about packing my lunch–although it probably had more to do with finances—haha. So maybe that was a good thing?

    1. Us too. My dad would make sandwiches for an entire week and put them in the freezer. Problem was he did not label them so you never really knew what you’d get until you got to school. Unfortunately, more often than not it was slimy lunch meat.

  3. I’ve taken to eating lunch alone at work. The office is so noisy and busy, so I prefer to have the lunch room all to myself to enjoy a little peace and quiet with my sandwich. It was so gorgeous today, though, that I went out for a little walk after I ate. No tigers tried to attack me..

    1. I am sad that you are eating alone, but glad you’ve found some peace away from the chatter. Some days during my office hours I’ll shut the door, put NPR on the radio and pray that no one need me. Oddly, when it becomes clear I’m not needed I get rankled. Just can’t have it both ways can we?

  4. I didn’t have a cafeteria in my school until I went to high school and it was a treat for me. During my elementary years I ate enough tuna sandwiches to overdose on mercury. Believe it or not, the thought of a bologna sandwich with white bread and mustard sounds good to me. I don’t remember having cafeteria tapioca but I don’t think I’d like it!

    1. I cannot do Bologna at all. And no tapioca in or out of a cafeteria — it’s a texture thing. I sort of like our cafeteria burgers, fries and pizza. It was crap but tasty crap nonetheless and because I only bought it once a week or so.

  5. I didn’t know you were doing the AtoZ challenge too! I also didn’t know you were allowed to use Calvin and Hobbes cartoons on your blog without permission – now I’m jealous that I’m not using them! We didn’t have cafeterias in our schools – just a canteen where you could buy lunch at the counter and take it in a paper bag. Homemade sandwiches for me were always soggy tomato or Vegemite (an Aussie staple)
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    1. If it is on Google then its usable. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Also, I am not profiting by this unless you count socializing with all of you fine people. Which I guess I would. Maybe I should call my lawyer?

  6. I remember realizing as 6th-graders that what looked like scary lumps of grossness on our trays in first grade were actually a delectable, if irregularly shaped, treats of melted chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal. As in-the-know 6th-graders we cruised the little kids’ tables, generously offering to take said lumps of grossness off their trays for them! We scored so many extra desserts and those poor kids had no idea what they were giving up and even thanked us for it!

    1. Genius. Reminds me of scene from one of those coming-of-age novels or movies. Great story, thanks for sharing Lee.

  7. I hated the school dinners when I was little! I would generally only agree to eat the salad option and I hated even that. I like raisins, but I do not believe they should be in my salad.

    1. I am undecided with respect to raisins in salad, although I do like dried cranberries once in a while.

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