Open thread: Lunch confessions and food fantasies

The “ranch on pizza” discussion was lively. Thanks for enlightening me, but I’m not going to do that again even with excellent pizza and a touch of excellent ranch. 

What did you eat at school lunch (or whenever) that was strange by your standard or another’s? 

Someone asked me in an interview, “What do you wish you could have for lunch?” When I’m at school, I don’t think about any other lunch than what I’m served. Why would I because it would only make me think longingly about food I’m not eating. However, when I’m at home, I think about potential lunches I could make all the time.

Do you fantasize about food and if so what kinds of food? Or am I alone in this because I don’t have control over what I eat at school. My answers will be the first comment…

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60 thoughts on “Open thread: Lunch confessions and food fantasies”

  1. Confession: I love pickled herring as a snack. I buy it every couple months. My husband can't stand it.

    Fantasies: Turkey sandwiches, pesto, tuna melts, guacamole, chili with beans, dark chocolate, all kinds of soups, chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches, chopped chicken salads, chow mein noodles (the crunchy kind) and on and on….

  2. I was just thinking about this, probably one of the absolute worst things I ate as a kid…dump a few scoops of hot chocolate "mix" (mostly corn syrup solids and sugar) in a tall glass. On top of that, add a few scoops of "non-dairy creamer". Pour on some nasty dead pasteurized milk — but not a whole glass, just enough to cover the powder by about an inch. Now stir it — again not completely, just enough to partially turn it to sludge, with "pockets" of still-dry powder. Eat with a spoon.

    Oddly, I was also the only kid I knew who liked liver. And smoked oysters, and creamed herring. Now I like sardines better than oysters. And creamed herring in a jar usually has too much sugar, so I make it myself.

  3. I love chocolate. What I really find myself craving though, especially when I was pregnant, was this peanut butter granola with chocolate chips that they served for breakfast where I went to school. I love cheese so I think about pizzas and quisadillas and grilled cheeses.

  4. I love chocolate. What I really find myself craving though, especially when I was pregnant, was this peanut butter granola with chocolate chips that they served for breakfast where I went to school. I love cheese so I think about pizzas and quisadillas and grilled cheeses.

  5. I don't really fantasize about food these days, (well, except for cheesecake, which I love) but I'm a geologist and I did my field work in east Africa, in Tanzania. Even the food in the tourist hotels is bad, and the local food is almost inedible –the worst cuts of tough beef, rice with pebbles, boiled together in water. There are nice spices sold in local markets, but most of the locals don't use them (I'm not sure if it was the expense or just the food culture).

    I was there for several months, and we used to have the most amazing food fantasies as a group –just normal food that we were used to at home, but it was almost agonizing.

  6. As a native Californian who has been transplanted in the South, the one thing I really fantasize about these days is good Mexican food. 🙂
    Funnily enough, my favorite school lunch as a kid in elementary school was a slop of taco salad. LOL

    Mostly I fantasize about what I would like to feed my older two kids. One being typically picky and the other having huge feeding issues stemming from autism, their diets leave me frustrated and feeling helpless often.

  7. When I was little I used to put a blog of cottage cheese on top of my spaghetti-Os. If you stirred it up just right it look kinda like throw-up. I'm getting a little sick just thinking about it.

    I crave Etheopian food. Especially the injera! I would eat there everyday if I could!

  8. I crave sushi. Like crazy. But now, Mrs. Q, I want some pickled herring.

    And I fantasize about recipes and cooking all the time.

  9. still do it to this day but dip my french fries in brocolli cheese soup…before you go eeeewwwww remember french fries in some form are potatoes so it is no different then adding potatoes to the soup!

  10. Applesauce on pasta. Yum!
    When I was in school, smearing mayonnaise on the cafeteria pizza was all the rage…of course, that was because the pizza was inedible.

  11. my food fantasies change with my mood, although theres usually a carb of some kind in there. i love bread lol.

  12. I fantasize about my family's brand of comfort food: steamed mussels, tofu pot pie, garden tomatoes with salt & pepper, mashed potatoes with brewer's yeast gravy, freshly baked bread, avocado on toast.

  13. When I was in high school, my youth group had a tradition where every time we got together for an event with food, we had to have what we called "spooey" I don't know if that's a name that's used elsewhere or not, but it was basically pretzels dipped in icing. Looking back, I think that's kinda weird.

    I crave lots of random things, but they tend to be sweet things…reeses peanut butter cups and strawberry cheesecake pancakes from IHOP are big ones. I also get cravings for kinds of food…generally mexican or chinese. I could eat those all day, every day.

  14. One other thing I crave is food from where I've travelled. Hummus in Israel is the best hummus you will ever find, and watermelon shakes in Thailand. It's just frozen, blended watermelon, and it's served at almost every restaurant over there. I know I could make it here, but watermelon over there tastes so much better then here!

  15. Most people I know don't like the sound of poutine, but it's one of my favorites. Lately I've had a craving for a bagel with lox.

  16. My food fantasies also change with my mood, but I always crave things like delicious fresh fruit (especially fresh-picked fruit), thai food, chinese food, really crispy chicken tenders, and sourdough bread

  17. I used to love dipping french fries in a chocolate milk shake. Mmmmmmm, it's been years. But I do remember some of my classmates (twins) bringing peanut butter and pickle sandwiches to lunch and thinking it bizarre.

  18. I get cravings for certain foods that just won't go away till I have it, it'll consume my thoughts till I give in.

    As a kid I liked to deconstruct my candy. I'd smash smarties and then eat the powder with a spoon or cut starbursts into tiny pieces and place them all in a bowl, mixing the flavors together and then zap them in the microwave for 10-15 secs so they are slightly squishy and make them into multi-flavored little clumps and eat them like that. Wow that was a lot of detail.

    Now I'm all about salty snacks and pasta.

  19. Oh man, I moved from California to DC and now I would about kill for all of my lovely farmer's market produce. Mango and papaya and *good* avocados that don't look all sad and tiny. This seasonal produce thing really isn't working for me.

    Like Melissa, I also crave Mexican food. My family is Mexican so I grew up with this amazing food that just doesn't exist on the east coast. Even the up-scale Mexican restaurants I've been to can't compare to LA street food.

  20. One elementary school I attended used to serve us a creation called a "flying saucer". It was a slice of bologna, with a pretty round scoop of very thick mashed potatoes in the middle, and a square-cut cheese stick sticking out the top (antennae?). Three of my then-favorite foods combined into something inedible.

  21. If "craving" as a desire to eat when we aren't hungry, the obvious question is, what causes the human body to go against its own nature? Is there anyone who can honestly say they "crave" things that aren't carbohydrate-heavy, specifically starches/grains and/or sugars? Have there been any exceptions to this in the examples given so far?

  22. When I was a kid I actually liked to eat braunschweiger, which is a type of liverwurst. I would sometimes bring liverwurst sandwiches for lunch to school. Yes, in elementary school! I loved it spread on German rye bread. It was one of my favorite sandwiches. My classmates thought it was disgusting.

    My grandmother was from Germany (and my mom was born in Germany before they immigrated in the 50's), and she used to eat it straight out of the casing with a spoon, so I guess that's where I got it from.

    Gosh, I haven't had braunschweiger in years! I wonder if the stores still carry it. It MUST be served on good rustic German rye bread.

    So much for "kid food" eh? Us little German kids don't need no chicken nuggets! We're fine with our liver and sausage and sauerkraut!

    Gah! Now I'm fantasizing about German food. Usually I only crave that in the wintertime.

    I've never had pickled herring, but Alton Brown has recently gotten me eating sardines. I like my fish fishy!

  23. I fantasize about food because
    A. I'm currently studying in Europe and they don't have all of those terrible HFCS foods like we do in America — even though I'm fighting for their removal, I still enjoy eating them (which is the problem!).

    B. I'm lactose and gluten intolerant. There are LOTS of foods I wish I could eat.

    Maybe fantasizing about food happens when your diet is restricted by outside forces.

    http://lesadventuresdulorax.blogspot.com

  24. Just heard you on Good Food/KCRW. Fantastic, and I love the blog! Thank you for doing what you do!

  25. @stepshep Love me some lox

    @Amanda Love brauschweiger and yes it's available at the grocery store.

    Thanks everyone! I'm getting hungry…

  26. I admit to being one of those kids who liked peanut butter and pickle or peanut butter and olive sandwiches. Dill pickles with cheese were and are a favorite snack, cold spaghettios with lots of black pepper a favorite quick dinner and I still dip my french fries into my chocolate shake. However ever now I tend to crave less canned and processed food and more fresh fruits-mandarin oranges and raspberries, or fresh strawberries and greek yogurt.

  27. I used to eat the soup at school a lot. Maybe a couple of other kids and a few teachers would touch the stuff; it was so unpopular that they'd have to go to the back room to get it for me sometimes. It was often the same soup all week, and deliciously gooshy by Friday. Looking back, it was actually pretty wretched stuff.

    I'm on a severely limited budget right now and doing all of my own cooking, and I long for convenience food and vegetables that aren't carrots, green beans, and corn. Cheeseburgers and eel rolls are way up there, as are zucchini (*ridiculously* expensive considering how fruitful it is!), tomatoes (again!), cauliflower and artichokes.

  28. When I was in school, long ago, in the dark ages. They actually cooked! They made this wonderful chicken with gravy and biscuit topping…mmmm! The biscuits were slightly sweet, I have tried to recreate this so many times with no luck, does anyone remember this? I would love to have the recipe… I still crave this.

  29. I love pickled herring, too! And liverwurst. But not together. I love sushi, especially salmon. I don't have much of a sweet tooth at all and tend to crave salty/crunchy snacks over anything sweet. If I had to choose, I would always choose to have "seconds" of the meal rather than having dessert.

  30. One of my most vivid school lunch memories is my first encounter with Cincinnati-style chili. I was utterly dismayed that the lunch ladies put spaghetti noodles in perfectly good chili (actually it was perfectly foul, and the noodle cooked to a mushy pulp). In any case, as a 6 yr old, I thought it was bizarre. Still do.

    Right now what I'm craving is mostly planted in my garden– fresh, ripe, tomatoes and sweet corn in particular. I'm just dying for a tomato that doesn't taste like plastic. Oh and I'm also craving more of the local strawberries I got at the farmer's market this week.

  31. not school lunches but

    fluffernutter sandwiches (peanut butter and marshmallow fluff) and pickles wrapped in a slice of cheese were some of my favorites as a kid – not together

    now I crave crunchy and salty. slow roasted chickpeas with lots of cumin. I think I need to go make some of those now.

  32. Broken up graham crackers placed in a glass – make it about half full…finish filling with milk. I ate this all the time as a kid. Guess I could have done worse….it was the only way they could get me to drink milk at that time.

  33. One of my favorite breakfasts as a kid was cheerios in a bowl with a soft boiled egg and a pat of butter and some salt. I still think it would be good. Mostly now I crave good dark chocolate and toast…I could live on toast alone.

  34. I used to (and still do today) eat bologna sandwiches, with crunched plain Ruffles chips on it! yummmmmm 😛

  35. Ahh when I was a kid my mom used to eat Frito's dipped in mayonnaise. I still like that to this day, but my husband refuses to even try it 🙂

    I also did cold white rice and ranch "sandwich rolls" with a slice of wheat bread. Just fold in half and fill with rice and ranch. That brings me back.

  36. I like potato chips on my peanut butter sandwiches – no jelly!

    When I was in college, I lived by a deli that served what they called a vegetarian reuben sandwich: cole slaw, swiss cheese and thousand island on toasted wheat bread. It was to die for! I have never been able to replicate that yumminess.

    I love my pizza dipped in ranch to this day.

  37. mine arent so much a fantasy as just what my friends and mother call weird anddifferent. as a child i would only eat a ham sandwich if it had crunchy (not puffed) cheetos on it. i even found myself doing this at work one day during my lunch break.
    today, i tend to put ranch dressing or ketchup on about half of my food with every meal. you may think its weirdbut i think its good.
    and i love reading your blog!

  38. I always swore that my mother's pregnancy cravings must have spilled over… because there's not really any sense at all to a peanut butter mayonaise and pickle sandwiches.

    Now, I crave anything that I'm not trying to eat… I've been watching my diet for ages and it seems like I'm always backsliding.

  39. I used to eat (and sometimes do) peanut butter sandwiches with doritos. Put the chips on and crush it up, yum!

    I actually wish I could eat the rolls that were served at my school when I was little. They were the only thing that everyone ate without fail. Salty, buttery, carb-filled goodness.

    Right now I really want peaches. Not the canned stuff but actual ripe peaches and maybe some homemade vanilla ice cream…

  40. Sushi. Sushi sushi sushi. I climb the walls for it about once a month, and as a kid, I was the weird one who brought California rolls for lunch in elementary school. The first time I did it, most of the kids at my table looked at it in horror, but then the girl sitting next to me got excited, admitted she LOVED sushi, and begged for a piece. Everyone else stopped making faces after that and appreciated how pretty my homemade California rolls were.

    To Frogfarm: I accept your challenge! Haha. I regularly crave things like a glass of milk, tuna, and fresh pico de gallo salsa. Oh, and peaches. I love peaches, but will only eat them in the summer when they're fresh from the local farmers (something tragic happens when they're shipped thousands of miles from another hemisphere). So the other 11 months of the year are spent longing for fresh peaches.

    I'm a self-proclaimed foodie, and part of the joys of my day is making elaborate plans for what I'll be cooking for dinner that night, so I fantasize about food all the time–even if it's just envisioning a lovely pot of tomato sauce that I'll be simmering later that day.

  41. @Amanda – your post helped me figure out what the sandwiches were that i loved as a child.

    I haven't had braunschweiger in years, and I still crave it now and then. That as well as a good Rainbow roll. That or BBQ pork ribs.

  42. A lot of kids I went to school thought it was odd when I would dip my potato chips in ketchup. It's no different then fries with ketchup. It's really quite good. I still do it on a rare occassion.

  43. Baloney and peanut butter roll ups. Basically a slice of German balongna (NOT oscar mayer, eww) with pb spread on it and rolled up."Fried" balogna and ketchup sandwiches. French fries dipped in a Wendy's frosty, or french fries with vinegar. I still eat all this stuff sometimes!

    I crave just about anything, as long as I don't have to make it! Raw veggies, pie, baked potatoes, lasagna, a good salad, egg salad…. now I'm hungry!

    Amanda

  44. braunschweiger with red onion on black rye(I can't eat it anymore, but I used to love it!)
    good mexican food
    fresh homegrown tomato with fresh basil and black pepper
    mom's oatmeal bread fresh from the oven
    fresh local strawberries
    Now I'm hungry.

  45. I'm pregnant, so my cravings are more powerful than normal right now, but I would kill for a good plate of vegetarian Pad Thai, a hershey's bar with almonds, Rustic Bruschetta with good mozzarella, and STRONG Black licorice.
    Milk is also something I crave (and drink) often. Sometimes Chocolate, but most often white 3%. yum. Never ANY other flavor (here you can get banana, strawberry and mocha, also)

  46. My food quirks were more about how things were served than combining them in strange ways. Whenever we had tacos, I insisted on having mine in its separate components – so a taco shell, a pile of meat, a pile of cheese, a pile of lettuce, and a pile of chopped tomato. I would then work my way around the plate eating one thing at a time until I was done (and driving my parents crazy in the process).

    On the other hand, my younger brother did like some bizarre foods, the most notable being what he called "sushi" – steamed white rice with tuna straight out of the can dumped on top. It smelled just like cat food!

    Things I crave now: really good stir-fried tofu with a crisp crust; mangoes; dark chocolate Raisinets; and funnily enough, tacos, which I eventually learned to eat the way they're supposed to be eaten. 🙂

  47. I think what was strange about my childhood palate was what I didn't like (and still don't). I hate store-bought white bread so I've never been fond of sandwiches, especially egg salad, tuna or anything else with mayonnaise. I have also never liked traditional breakfast foods. My mom used to give me soup for breakfast.

    My food cravings/fantasies revolve around comfort food of my childhood. My mom is an amazing cook and experimented a lot. I often crave her Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup. Another favorite is sliced pumpernickel bread topped with shredded provolone or mozzarella and a sprinkling of dried oregano put under the broiler until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.

  48. I liked veggies as a kid, especially spinach and artichokes (and still do). I get massive sushi cravings that will be tempered for a while after having some…and I crave greasy ground-beef foods like shepherd's pie, tacos, and Cincinnati chili. We do indulge in those occasionally here, but we eat meatless 40-50% of the time and most of our meat is chicken and fish.

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