If I Had A Nickel…

One thing I’ve noticed since starting culinary school is that people seem to get really nervous whenever they cook for me. They usually begin by apologizing for whatever it is that I’m about to eat before the fork is halfway to my mouth. From now on, anyone who even starts to feel that way should immediately reference this post. Because today might be the most pathetic food day ever. Like really, really sad.

I was rushing out the door for class today and went to grab a Luna, but guess what? All gone. Once again, Brian has asserted his love for the “Nutrition for Women” bar. Awesome. So instead I made the saddest little PB&J from the heels of our frozen Ezekiel bread. And notice that I didn’t even bother with a plate… this was eaten chez Prius in transit to the train station.


Today in class we made Jelly Rolls, although technically they were more like Lemon Curd Rolls. I was shocked at how easy it is to actually make lemon curd. You just simmer egg yolks, sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest for a bit, then strain. That’s it. The hardest part of this whole thing was the rolling. Our sponge cake was so delicate that it was tough not to just poke through it as you rolled. The filling consists of lemon curd with a bit of unsweetened whipped cream folded in.


Lunch was almost as sad as breakfast. I was waffling between this frozen Indian meal and pierogies, but then a craving for pasta hit. All we had were macaroni noodles, so I had some of those topped with (jarred, Barilla) pasta sauce and the dregs of the goat cheese:


I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house, then hit up Target for a few groceries. I bought the makings of turkey tacos but then didn’t feel like messing up the kitchen after spending all afternoon scrubbing. Am I the only one that does this? Anyway, we ended up having a glamorous dinner at… wait for it… The Highland Park Cafeteria.

There are 2 kinds of people in this world: The kind that like cafeterias, and the kind that don’t. Oh, and the kind that trap squirrels in their backyard and then release them in the Luby’s parking lot (a good friend of mine relayed that story about her grandfather and now I can’t pass a cafeteria without thinking about the poor little exiles). Brian LOVES the cafeteria, and I am only happy to oblige every once in a while. Maybe it’s because we never really had a school cafeteria growing up? I don’t know. Anyway, we found ourselves there for dinner tonight (before 8, of course… catering to a certain, ahem, “distinguished” clientele, the joint closes EARLY).

I settled on turkey- sans dressing- with cranberry sauce, green beans, and the best squash casserole ever.


Along with cucumber salad and a big yeast roll. You can see Brian’s little deviled eggs in the background. He loves him some deviled eggs.


So there you have it, folks: PB & J, macaroni, and the cafeteria. Bon appetit.

Off to study for my last midterm. Later, kids!


(This one’s from Brian)

One was the one item, if any, you looked forward to eating from the school cafeteria? Or what did you HATE?

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20 Responses to If I Had A Nickel…

  1. Andrea says:

    I LOVE the cafeteria! My Dad and I used to go to Furr’s every Wednesday night. My favorite cafeteria/buffet food is mac & cheese – it’s so fake, but so good. When I was in school, I loved Thursdays – usually some fried chicken variation, veggie, instant mashed potatoes and a roll. Those were the days.

  2. lesouefsbrouilles says:

    i am one of those people who LOVES the cafeteria. The best foods I looked forward to was pizza, this turkey cubes with gravy on top of mashed potatoes, hamburgers with baked beans and chicken fingers. The worst had to be sloppy joes. yuck.

  3. gammypie says:

    From the school cafeteria (White Rock Elem.), my favorites were the warm rolls, chicken fingers and mashed potatoes. From the restaurant cafeteria (Luby’s), my favorites are the baked fish, fried okra (double please), green beans and Jell-o.

    When I was younger, my Mom would make the cafeteria line a game. Whoever had the most colorful tray won. I don’t remember getting an actual prize, but it was still fun.

  4. Eddie G says:

    I always hated the hamburger (the patty always had strange blue spots that the cafeteria lady claimed was from the packaging), but I LOVED the curly fries that accompanied it…drenched in ketchup, of course!

    I think it’s awesome that Brian likes Luna Bars! My friends make fun of me for eating them, but they’re SO good…especially that new macadamia nut one :)

  5. Brooke says:

    Excellent! Im glad you posted about Jelly Rolls. Weedon and I were wondering what a jelly roll was? Subtext: Van Morrison’s “it stoned me” was playing & apparently jelly rolls stone him in the song. do jelly rolls have magic food coma powers like turkey?!?!

  6. Kathy says:

    School cafeteria: From MY schooldays – Hard to remember but would have to say my faves were the hot rolls with the pizza in second place. From my KIDS’ schooldays – turkey and dressing day!

    Public cafeteria: Baked fish and coconut pie with chocolate icebox pie a VERY close second!

    And going back to your housecleaning question: I’m exactly the same way Heather! I used to hate it when someone walked on my freshly vacuumed carpet or put trash in my empty cans, not to mention messing up my clean kitchen! I have a housekeeper nowadays and I won’t even mess up my kitchen after SHE cleans, so it’s a given that we eat out every other Tuesday – at least! Pitiful, pitiful …. though 2 kids and 3 dogs later, I’ve given up on a lot of that, just not the kitchen part!

  7. Matt says:

    First off, PBJ is awesome. I eat it everyday and look forward to it everyday. Such a timeless and extraordinary combination of pure deliciousness.

    As for cafeteria food, since I went to all the same schools you did, you know my experience is limited. I always loved Mexican food day and the Crsipito, but my all-time favorite were the chicken rings; although I am not quite sure where you find the “ring” portion of the chicken. It tastes godd smothered in gravy though.

  8. Matt says:

    I meant good, not godd…

  9. Brian says:

    In college (the “D-Hall”), my favorite was always the chicken cordon bleu. You know, the one that’s completely unnatural (as the chicken breast is formed AROUND the ham and cheese). Unless there is a ham and cheese breed of chicken with which I am unfamiliar…

    I also loved the crappy frozen chicken patties. Add one bun and one package of mayo and you are set.

    Anyone who hasn’t been to Highland Park Cafeteria should go. Pure magic. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s in Casa Linda, not Highland Park.

  10. Jill says:

    I love that you think about the squirrels when you go by lubys! haha

  11. Rose says:

    My school mascot was “The Ranger” (as in, Park Ranger). Every other Friday they had Ranger sub day. The bread they used was incredible. Gosh. And I had the last lunch, so if there were extras – we could get ‘em for free.

    What memories.

  12. Julie says:

    I was only “allowed” to buy lunch once a week and yes, my mom did make much lunch all the way until college. I know— spoiled rotten. My personal favs (and Lauren might agree) were the rectangle pizza days and steak finger day.

    Apparently, GSS had grandy’s catered in their cafeteria and Kelly and his cronnies liked to try and get ‘altered’ on the yeast from the fresh baked rolls? Not normal I know and yet is explains so much about Kelly. So that was Kelly’s favorite…rolls.

  13. Erin says:

    I am not gonna lie. I loved the big pretzels with salt chunks dipped in fake nacho cheese AND the cookies the size of my head!
    I love Brian’s involvement in the blog.
    And lastly…I’d be scurred to cook for you too!

  14. Sammie says:

    My mom never let us buy school lunch :( I always wanted to have the pizza. Instead she would make me & my sis a PB & J almost everyday. I think sometimes I would get tuna too. But never anything fun to go with it – my mom was the junk food Nazi.

  15. Margie says:

    I hate cafeterias. But, it’s good that you’ve been honest about your bad food day. We all have ‘em.

  16. Lauren says:

    Is it sad that I sometimes crave those rectangle pizzas and chicken rings? But Matt’s right, Mexican food day was the best day of the week :)

  17. Lauren says:

    Is it sad that I sometimes crave those rectangle pizzas and chicken rings? But Matt’s right, Mexican food day was the best day of the week :)

  18. Hangry Pants says:

    What color is your prius? Mine is silver, but I wish I had red

    I like this question! At elementary school I never got school lunch, but I would eat my friend’s butter sandwiches – yep on white bread. In middle school we had Taco Bell sometimes and that was rad. In high school, it was the Friday macarni and cheese with bacon!

  19. Mary Anne says:

    Ah, Julie beat me to it – - the pizza was my favorite St. Pat’s cafeteria special!

  20. Allison says:

    I ate in the cafeteria every day of the week and LOVED it…I still eat down there when I forget my lunch. My favorite was either steak fingers and mashed potatoes or pinto beans. I loved their pinto beans…

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