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The School Food Holy Grail (and how I got it)

Hubs and I went to elementary school together.  Cute, right?  Don’t start thinking we were all that cute.  He sat in front of me in the fourth grade and we didn’t like each other at all.  As a matter of fact, even through high school we didn’t really associate with each other, except in a casual kind of “Hey, I know that guy” way.  Who would have thought we’d end up married for a gazillion years, am I right?

But I’m quickly wandering away from my point.  Back to elementary school.  Our cafeteria food was bangin’ at that school.  We have many fond memories and we often replicate it and subject our children to stories of how good that food was.  Which, when you think of it, is pretty mean considering that neither of them have had experience of school food that is much beyond edible, let alone tasty enough to still talk about all these many years later.  (I’m not doing the math.  It’s a lot of years and let’s just leave it at that, shall we?)

There has always been one item out of our grasp, though.  Fried veggie sticks.  Does anyone know what I’m talking about, here?  They look like mozzarella sticks, but the filling is mixed vegetables.  I know, I know, it sounds gross.  These suckers are so much tastier than they have any business being, though.  They are the ultimate of nostalgia food.  Guess what else they are?  Freaking impossible to buy.  Anywhere.  Ever.


We have been searching for these for years.  They are still made, but apparently only for food service companies.  I, for one, have never, in my adult life, encountered these at any eating establishment.  My kids have never heard of them, let alone been served veggie sticks at school.  Who’s getting these?  Where are they going?  More importantly, how do I get some???  I have done everything I can figure to try to make them at home, but it’s not working out for me.  I did discover that you can make a yummy little treat if you add mixed vegetables to hush puppy batter.  I’ve also added broccoli and shredded cheddar to hush puppy batter with great success.  But, alas, it’s not the same.

So, after all these years, I’ve kind of given up on them.  And they were certainly not in the forefront of my mind as I was making my grocery list yesterday.  But my husband asked for steak.  He almost never asks for steak, even though it’s one of his most favorite foods.  And I really, really hate to buy steak.  It’s tasty, sure, but it is not as good as the price tag would suggest.  And my grocery store has no steak on special this week.  You guys know I don’t really pay full price for anything, right?  I would ordinarily demand politely suggest that we have steak another week when it’s on sale.  However, Hubs has been working hard lately.  I mean, like, no less than sixty hours a week in the past three weeks, and usually more.  Who am I to deny him a nice fat ribeye?

So, I got this idea to try another store.  We have a funny little store in town that is like a miniature Costco combined with a local butcher and farm stand.  They have fresh meats, local produce and seven pound tubs of animal crackers.  You just never know what you’re going to find in there.  Honestly, I rarely go there, because I’m more of a one-stop shop girl, but I knew I’d find some nice steaks there, and probably for a fraction of the price.  Also, summer’s almost over and I haven’t even eaten a local cantaloupe yet and, well, our local cantaloupe is kind of a big deal.

So, I stopped at the store on my way home from work.  I threw a couple cantaloupes in the basket, selected some very nice steaks, and had an idea.  I know this store has a huge selection of giant food service size bags of frozen foods.  What if…..just what if….

Bam.  There they were just sitting on a shelf like I haven’t been searching for them for the better part of twenty years.  I snatched them up, then actually looked all around me, as if there was a veggie stick mob threatening to take them from me.  I could barely contain my glee.  To say nothing of the accolades I was sure to receive from Hubs.

So when he got home, I did my usual song and dance about who’s the best wife ever?  And what could I do to be even better?  Nothing?  Wrong!  I did this!


He could not have been more stunned if I’d told me I was pregnant again.  That’s a lie.  But it was close.  I, friends, have forever cemented my place in his heart as the finest woman in all the world.



You may be wondering if they were as good as we remembered.  I was wondering the same thing, and, frankly, I expected them to be disgusting.  They were NOT.  They were actually not only as good as we remember, but better.  You see, we dipped them in Ranch.  Ranch dressing was not really around when we were in elementary school.  And now that I’ve dated myself horribly, I’m signing off.  Peace. 🙂

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