When we reminisce about the '90s, we tend to reflect back on the fun things we watched on TV, the games we played with our friends, and, of course, making our very first email addresses. One thing we rarely reflect back on, though, is food the cafeteria served in the '90s. Yes, that's right: I'm thinking about what we ate for lunch in the '90s. But what we ate in the '90s is funny to think about, because my first thoughts are of all the glorious snacks I ate (Dunkaroos, anyone?) and all of the weird fad foods and drinks we begged our parents for (remember Crystal Pepsi, for instance?). I mean, let's be real: Who didn't covet Lunchables or Pop-Tarts? No one. That's who.
But school lunches were an entirely different beast. What your school served might vary depending on a lot of factors, including where you lived, but there are some staples that existed pretty much everywhere in the '90s. Personally, I think my palette has changed and expanded quite a bit from my days of scarfing down Dunkaroos, but I have to say, looking back on all of the foods I ate in my school days definitely does bring back memories. Even if I never get to eat these foods again, I can safely say their taste (and in some cases, smell) will live on in my memory forever.
1. Rectangular Pizza
Who doesn't remember those slices of rectangular pizza? They usually only came in two flavors — cheese and pepperoni — and they were almost certainly of the frozen variety. But pizza day at the cafeteria was always worth it, even if the pizza wasn't actually that great. Because, well... pizza. At school.
2. Fish Sticks And Fries
I definitely remember "Fish Stick Friday." I just never actually managed to convince myself to eat said fish sticks.
3. "Fruit Cocktail"
The quintessential side of fruit on every single lunch tray in America. Who doesn't remember those little cups of fruit in that perhaps overly sweet syrup? I'd recognize their shape anywhere.
4. Hoodsie Cups
Everyone remembers those little sundae cups filled with half vanilla, half chocolate ice cream, right? I've only ever seen them on the trays of school lunches, but maybe that's just me.
5. Nachos With Loads Of Cheese Sauce
OK, literally everyone remembers eating those round tortilla chips covered in gooey cheese sauce, right? At my school, nachos didn't come with any additional toppings, like meat or vegetables, so it was just melted cheese and chips. None of us complained.
6. Chicken Nuggets with Tater Tots
A classic that many of us still enjoy. It's possible your school used french fries instead of tater tots, but I clearly remember my classmates losing it in line when we heard it was tater tots day, so I'd say it's pretty clear that it's the tots that left the life-long impact. Sorry, fries.
7. Sloppy Joe's and Crinkle Fries
Another classic that I'm willing to bet you can still find at barbecues and cook-outs across the country, sloppy joe sandwiches were a staple of lunch in the '90s. Napkins required, of course.
8. Simple Peanut Butter and Jelly
In my school district, I'm pretty sure peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were always an option in case you didn't like the main dish being served at lunch. Always on white bread and cut down the middle, of course.
9. The Original Taco Tuesdays
It's possible my school district was way ahead of the pack, but I definitely remember Taco Tuesday being a weekly thing in my school's cafeteria. Of course, they were always hard shell tacos filled with beef and topped with an assortment of vegetables. Perhaps not the most creative way to serve tacos (taco bar, anyone?), but probably the least messy.
I remember these being an option (along with milk) every single day at school. These juice cups, in my memory, were always filled with Apple Juice and sometimes came frozen. Either way, you stuck your straw right in the top of the juice and bam, instant refreshment. They were the perfect size for school lunches, too.
Images: ABC; Giphy (10)