RE: I always hated school cafeteria food...
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.