Everyone's got horror stories about their school lunches, but these are some doozies! From bad food to terrible accidents to just gross behavior courtesy of other students, these kids' lunch periods were absolutely ruined!
“The Cheese Stick Incident”
“I was in fourth grade (age 9-10) and had gotten school lunch for some obscure reason. My friend and I sat down at the table together, and she left to get a fork. I looked over, and there, on her tray, sat a cheese stick that was completely-completely-covered in blue and green mold. Totally encrusted. Needless to say, it was disgusting. How she and the lunch servers had missed that was totally beyond me. It went down in history as ‘The Cheese Stick Incident’ (CSI), second only to the ‘Fingernails in Applesauce Episode,’ which is self-explanatory.”
Pizza Day Ended Horribly
“In elementary school, bell rang for lunch period. Today was pizza day, and if you remember school pizza day, it was all about who was first in line to get the freshest pizza. Everyone was absolutely running their butts off to get to the lunch room. The lucky ‘winner’ slid around the door like he was rounding first base. Little did anyone know that the hinge on the door had warped outward ever so much and the constant opening and closing of the door had polished it to a razor sharpness. When it caught his left leg at the base of his ankle, it ripped upwards through his calf and stopped him suddenly at his thigh. Blood, viscera, and vomit put an end to pizza day.”
It Unleashed A Smell Like Nothing Anyone Had Ever Smelled Before
“It was senior year of high school. A couple of guys in my grade had skipped class and were out wandering around the school grounds when they found a dead squirrel. One of the guys found a nearby, empty pizza box and scooped the squirrel inside. The bell rang for lunch, so he brought it into the cafeteria. I’ll never know why, but the very next thing he did was toss the dead squirrel into the microwave, set it for five minutes, then walk away. Roughly five minutes later, an unassuming freshman girl went to open the microwave and unleashed a wave of smell onto everyone in the cafeteria. It literally smelled like death warmed over…because that’s exactly what it was. Kids were running out, gagging from the stench. The microwave had to be thrown away. The guy who did it was suspended for a week.”
This Time, The Game Went Too Far
“I was a freshman in high school, and the kids at the table I sat at in the cafeteria eventually started some ritual where we would mash a bunch of disgusting condiments and leftover food and milk into a water bottle and shake it all up. Yes, this was stupid as heck, but we were 14-15 years old.
Some days, we would get someone to take a sip and inevitably gag, but one day we agreed to play some kind of roulette and the loser had to chug as much of it as possible. I lost, so not wanting to look like a wimp, I chugged a bunch of it. I don’t remember what was in it, but it was like remnants of the worst food in the cafeteria, plus all the condiments like mayo, ketchup, relish, mustard, vinegar, plus milk and salt and pepper. Somehow, I downed a large portion without puking and sat there, not feeling too good, until the end of lunch bell rang.
As I was walking out the door of the cafeteria, I just projectile vomited out of nowhere all over the vice principal who was standing near the door. Everyone saw it and it was one of the most humiliating moments of my life.”
Just A Little Extra Crunch
“At my primary school, cooking was mostly done by heating up pre-made industrial trays of food and then giving it out in molded plastic trays. The quality was (and still is) very poor.
Once, and only once, we were given a square slice of meat pie, with some vegetables (watery carrots and peas spring to mind).
Personally, I adore pie, especially a steak pie. This was not a steak pie.
Watery gravy, tough minced beef (assuming it WAS beef) and potato chunks more akin to wet paper. A veritable delight of culinary art.
So, I was working my way through this, I don’t recall minding too much as I had had worse before.
Suddenly, a hard crunch.
I spit into my hand, and I kid you not, there was a tooth in my pie.
Not my tooth, which I’m not sure would be worrying or comforting, but a random tooth.
Looking back, I realize the implications of murder and cannibalism in that claim, but I’m pretty sure the tooth had to have come from a line worker when the pie was made or from an animal.
The tooth was an incisor and roughly the size of a normal adult upper front tooth. Hence why I think it probably came from an animal, specifically a herbivore.
I gave the tooth to a dinner lady and their reaction was underwhelming, they assumed I was telling them that my tooth had fallen out.”
Something Just Didn’t Taste Right…
“In my high school there’s a shop in the yard, and every student goes there to buy food, so do I.
I bought a hamburger for something like $1 or so (very cheap, indeed), went in my class and opened the box in which the hamburger was contained. I was very hungry, so I just grabbed that hamburger and bit right in. I was munching on it, but something seemed strange, it was softer than usual, and the meat was slightly gooey. I didn’t mind that and I continued munching on that bite until something on the box caught my eye…the expiration date.
It expired on January 21, 2015. And it was currently a week before Christmas 2016.
I was shocked. I just went to the bathroom, threw up the bite I just ate and threw away the hamburger. I washed my mouth thoroughly with water and then I made a complaint to the high school’s principal.
I won’t ever again buy food from that shop, ever.”
How Anne Learned To Never Eat School Lunch Again
“It was breakfast for lunch day at my school. The food here is usually pretty good, but some of the items can be…questionable. The eggs are one such case item.
My friend Anne had finished her cold funnel cake and was scrutinizing her eggs.
‘You dare me to eat these?’ she asked me. I took a look at the yellow pieces of rubbery material that occupied one section of her lunch tray.
‘Gross, no,’ I said. ‘Don’t eat them. They don’t even look like food.’
They really didn’t. They looked like pieces of clay that had been spray painted a light yellow.
‘But I’m still hungry, and I’m not gonna eat them unless you dare me,’ she argued. After some back and forth, one of our other friends dared her to eat the eggs.
She put a forkful of them in her mouth and made a face, then swallowed and picked up another bite.
‘Wait, those are a weird color,’ I told her. She looked at the eggs on her fork, which had brown splotches mixed in with the yellow.
‘Ugh, is that dirt?!’
It could have just been flaws in the eggs’ color, but we didn’t know that for sure!
She dumped that forkful back onto her tray and got a new one. I tuned out for a second since I was looking at my phone, but I paid attention again when I heard, ‘Look at this!’
I looked over at Anne, who was staring in disgust at a tiny piece of metal that she had extracted from her food.
‘Now I’m un-daring you to eat those,’ I told her. She threw her fork down.
I asked her if she wanted some cucumber slices since she couldn’t finish her food, and I had some left over. She said yes and vowed never to eat the school food again.”
Let’s Play “Bounce The Cheese”
“In elementary school, we had a game.
It was called Bounce the Cheese.
The grilled cheese sandwiches that were the main courses had no business being called food. Even elementary schoolers figured this out. What happened on Grilled Cheese days?
All cheese was removed from the sandwiches. The bread was eaten or thrown away. Then we all went to the playground. Someone discovered that the cheese bounced when they threw it on the ground. Ever since we had a contest on who could get the cheese the highest. Little pee-colored bouncy balls exploding everywhere during recess.
The cheese got into some strange places. The janitor found a ball of cheese on the roof of the gym (about 25 feet high) stuck in a vent. I found a ball of cheese in my backpack once.
Eventually, the school took away the grilled cheese sandwiches. They learned their lesson.
This wasn’t a bad experience with school food. It was actually pretty fun. Unless you were the unfortunate person who actually ate the cheese.”
It Happened In Slow Motion
“Back in elementary school, I remember sitting beside a friend of mine as we prepared to dig into our mac and cheese.
It was one of the few lunches provided by the school that was universally liked by all. As my friend went to take a bite, I glanced at the fork slowly making its way to his mouth.
In true slow-motion, action-film fashion, I yelled, ‘Don’t!’ and seized his fork from his hand.
Puzzled, my friend shot me a look that said, ‘What gives dude?’
I proceeded to point out to him that tucked neatly between two noodles and partially obscured by melted cheese, was a long, thick hair about five inches in length. Oily too. Though that may have very well been from the food itself.
Equally repulsed, my friend and I marched up to the serving counter and complained to the bored guy behind it.
Barely glancing at the cluster of noodles on my friend’s fork, he rolled his eyes.
‘Sit down, kids,’ he said irritably. ‘It’s a spice.’
Even as a naive 9-year-old kid, I was intelligent enough to conclude that the hair was as much a spice as our lunch was oil-free.
From this point onward, I made sure to inspect everything that came from the kitchen before I put it in my mouth.
It paid off. Not two weeks later, I found a dead cockroach smushed into a piece of bread.
Needless to say, from that day on I brought lunch from home.”
How They Almost Lost Their Life To Mozzarella Sticks
“At my high school, they had those mozzarella sticks. Mmm, those greasy mozzarella sticks were so darn good. I had them with my lunch almost every day (yeah, my high school cafeteria wasn’t exactly health conscious). One day while at lunch, I was so hungry that I forgot to totally chew it, and it was so cheesy and stringy that it got stuck in my throat. For a minute I panicked and thought I was going to die. I calmed down and managed to pull it out, with a big sigh of relief. I don’t know if anyone saw me, but it must have looked really disgusting, and I was rather embarrassed. That was my last mozzarella stick.”
“It Crossed My Mind That It Tasted Like Something I Couldn’t Eat”
“I have celiac disease (meaning I have quite a high intolerance for gluten). So, you can probably guess where this is going.
My school is usually really good in letting me know what I can and can’t eat, and this fateful day, they told me that I could have x, y and z – the island chicken.
So, I ate it, because I have never had a problem with it in the past.
As I was eating it, it definitely crossed my mind that it tasted like something I couldn’t eat.
And that was confirmed about 30 minutes into the last period.
I almost pooped myself in the middle of history class. I had to literally waddle run out to there bathroom in front of the whole class to avoid something even more embarrassing.
I swear, my poop was not normal for a week afterwords, and I constantly felt like I wanted to barf.
Even worse, it was the day before the play opened.
So, I decided the best thing to do would be to stuff myself full of cereal because I thought giving my body fiber would help.
Don’t think it did…
Very unpleasant experience.”
Forced To Eat Chicken Balls
Seriously, that’s what they were called. They were a mess of various kinds of vegetable and allegedly some chicken, bound together with mashed potato and probably mashed parsnip. They were clearly the school’s way of using up scraps.
The school had a policy that you couldn’t refuse food – the dinner ladies would just dump it on your plate, no matter what you said (‘Sorry, I don’t eat fish,’ ‘You’ve got to have fish, it’s good for your brains,’ ‘I’m in the gifted student program, I think my brains are good enough as they are,’ ‘Have some fish anyway.’). You were expected to eat everything on your plate.
The teachers would police the dining hall to make sure you didn’t just scrape it all into the bin. The usual solution was to wait until they were distracted and then head for the bin as casually as you could while moving quickly and then just scrape everything casually in as you walked past.
One day I got caught and was made to go back and eat my chicken balls. They were disgusting.
I made it out of the dining hall, but only as far as the playground. Where, because the dining room had a glass wall facing onto the playground, I threw them back up in full view of the rest of the school.”
How Ice Cream Made A 5th Grader Pass Out
“I haven’t had a school lunch since elementary school.
I used to get lunch almost every Friday—y’know, pizza day. A lot of kids, even if they brought their own lunch, would get a school lunch on Friday for the novelty. They had some pretty good ice cream, too—actual name brands.
So, I’d like you to imagine what might be happening if you were to eat one slice of half-cardboard, half-pizza, some (sugary) chocolate milk, and a massive ice cream bar for lunch, as a small little 10-year-old.
It was a later thought that I hadn’t been eating enough–or more specifically, eating enough that wasn’t straight-up sugar.
I passed out.
In fifth grade, in the middle of the cafeteria, in front of pretty much the entire school, I passed out.
Halfway through my ice cream bar I put my head down on the table. I was feeling light-headed and dizzy. I didn’t usually (ever) talk to anyone, so I sat on my own, and thought to just rest my head on the (probably dirty) cafeteria table until I felt better.
The cafeteria monitor noticed me and came over. She asked me if I was okay, I replied yes, she persisted, I told her that I was feeling light-headed.
She asked if I wanted to go to the nurse. I refused–one, that would be embarrassing, two, I didn’t think I needed it. I just wanted to kind of sit there for a little bit.
She insisted. Just because something of a scene was being made–people at my table were watching and staring, curious, and even people at surrounding tables were starting to notice, so I went along and stood up so I could be walked to the nurse’s office. My head hurt and I just wanted to be left alone.
As soon as I stood up, everything just…dropped away.
I went from standing to being half held up by the cafeteria monitor, my friend appearing from nowhere and standing nearby, talking and saying things that I couldn’t make out.
Later, my mom brought me to the doctor for blood tests and the like, to see if this was going to be something regular or if it was just a one-time thing. The consensus was that I wasn’t getting enough nutrients and food and that to prevent further episodes, school lunches were not going to be a regular occurrence.
Tip for life, kids: ice cream is not an acceptable lunch.
Also, if you feel light-headed and someone’s trying to get you to stand up, just don’t. You might end up passing out in their arms in front of your entire school.”
The Cooks Took Inspection Day Very Seriously
“When we were in elementary school, we were occasionally warned by our teachers not to make any comments about the cooks wearing plastic bags on their hands. We were told openly that the health department was inspecting that day and the cooks were wearing the gloves as required. We were innocent enough then not to wonder why there weren’t wearing the gloves the rest of the time and too naive to go home and tell our parents what had been said.
Also, my mother once had a student report that the cafeteria was ‘recycling’ the half bananas served to the students. The cafeteria was cutting each banana in half and serving each elementary student one half (which made sense–small kids, few of them needed or could eat an entire banana). Then, if they didn’t eat it, the people clearing the trays would take it off the tray before dumping the rest of the food in the garbage and would take the bananas back to the cafeteria to be served to other students. The boy said he didn’t eat his after he saw that because he could see kids were handling the bananas and even licking the cut end. My mother verified the practice and then went to the principal, who nearly knocked her down on his way to the cafeteria to order a stop. (To be fair, when a boy found a large green worm on his spinach, the cook immediately threw out the contents of the tray and steam-table pan of spinach and gave him a fresh meal that, in violation of the law, didn’t not include spinach.)
Bad food is nothing new in the schools.”
“Just Eat It Like That, It’s Not Like It’s Going To Kill You”
“A little background: I attended an all-girls Catholic school in my hometown and our dining hall was a two story building. The ground floor was for the junior students and the senior students were upstairs. There are at least 44 tables on each floor with a maximum of 10 students on each table. On each table, there are two pots from which one person shared the food among the table members. The cooks would prepare the food outside where anything could fall inside the pot containing the food. Here’s the worst so far:
-There was one time some students found something moving in their pot of stew and when they complained about it, they received this nonchalant response: ‘Just eat it like that, it’s not like it’s going to kill you.’
-Another time other students found a cockroach in their food but they just threw it out and ate their food. Not that I blame them.
-The worst by far is when students found a dead lizard in their food. It’s possible that the lizard was alive when it fell into the food and how the cooks would miss that is beyond me.”
Pizza Day Isn’t Always So Fun
“In elementary school, our school would serve fried rice very week. This particular week it was vegetable fried rice. My friend sat down next to me, and as they put their spoon in the rice, they saw that the rice was moving. As he moved the rice away, he saw that there was a live caterpillar in the fried rice. Good thing he saw it or else it would have been really bad.
Another one happened to me. In our middle school cafeteria, they would serve some really disgusting pizza, that wasn’t even legitimate pizza. I folded the pizza in half, and the oil that was squeezed out was disgusting. It quickly filled up one regular bowl and ending up filling half of the second one. The oil wasn’t even clean- there were dirty things in it, and I even found two hairs.
Finally, my friend was buying some milk boxes from our cafeteria, and when he opened it, I could smell something really disgusting. It turned out that the milk was outdated by almost a year.
I have filled out many complaints to our food provider, but nothing has changed. Needless to say, I bring my own food now.”
Oh, THAT’S How Milk Gets Sour
“I remember being served sour milk at a Fairfax County elementary school in the early 1960’s. When we complained, the lunch lady said that the cows must have eaten onions and that was why the milk tasted bad. Bring your own lunch, kids. At least you know what’s in it!”
He Didn’t Really Miss Out On Much
“Once when I lived in Kentucky, I had a best friend named Timmy. He ate the school lunch and I decided to bring leftovers that day.
That day there was egg rolls on the menu. I got pretty upset since I had never had an eggroll before, but ate the leftovers anyway.
Before long, I heard barfing from my side. I turned to see poor Timmy barfing into the trash bag behind us. I hear about five other kids barfing by the end of the period. Good thing I missed out I guess. I got to have my first egg roll at a fancy restaurant instead.”
An Excellent Source Of Protein
“We had bugs in our school food in primary school.
And it took too much time to start sorting them out, so I can say now, with glee, that I have had my fair share of eating insects.
An uncle of mine used to joke that I should just convince myself that I was upping my protein intake.”