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Reminiscing…High School Lunches

The high school that I attended—with many of the Dish This characters, actually—had a pretty snazzy cafeteria, now that I look back as an economically-challenged, recent college grad. There was the frozen-yogurt machine, 2 salad bars, and even a popcorn machine (that looked like it was plucked from the concessions area of the circus) that suddenly appeared our senior year to much confusion and bewilderment. I can’t really remember much of what I ate on a day-to-day basis, but some odd concoctions have stuck in my mind over the years, and I’ve even found myself craving and recreating them.

I remember that we always found Jamie’s lunches to be really “weird”. While the rest of us noshed on taco salads or chicken patties, Jamie would eat from the “strange” salad bar, the one filled with pasta salads, olives, and other oddities (for high-schoolers). Her signature was mixing cold penne pasta, green olives, tuna, and wedges of tomato. At the time we all laughed and sighed, “Oh, Jamie…” as she’d plunk herself down at our table.

However, now this is actually one of my favorite weeknight meals! I almost always have the ingredients sitting around already, and it doesn’t take much actual cooking, which makes it especially good for the summertime. For grown-up palates, try adding a dash of oregano or Italian seasoning, or swap the green olives for kalamata and add feta for a Greek version.

Another combo that I grew to love is far less healthy but super delicious. I remember filling up a cup with frozen yogurt, sprinkling some cinnamon sugar on top, and stirring in some sugary cereal, like frosted flakes or cocoa krispies. (Does that sound gross to people?) It was like my own personal Coldstone Creamery, before Coldstone existed. I haven’t had a chance to recreate this, as few places in life have all three of these ingredients in one location, but perhaps I should soon.

Any high school/childhood meals that you can remember being odd or, conversely, particularly successful and ahead-of-your-time???

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