There's a fun meme circulating on Facebook that asks "What meal traumatized you as a kid?" Anyone who went to Thruston Elementary School in Daviess County, Kentucky, can answer that question quickly.
Now, it's important to know that we Thruston Tomcats are a loyal group. As an adult, I have endlessly fond memories of my time at that school. The principal, Mr. Pendley, was an incredibly kind man who celebrated his students in the late 70s by playing Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life", daily, over the school's PA system.

I remember playing with a giant parachute in Mr. Marx's PE class. I fondly recall diligently searching for The Gingerbread Man the first day of kindergarten in Mrs. Jones' class. I loved going to the library to visit with Mrs. Nation. I remember gargling with flouride, then spitting it into a Dixie cup in the hallway. Thruston was amazing and many of the friends I made there in the late 70s are still dear friends of mine today. Thruston bonded us together and we are forever linked by all the wonderful memories we share from the school.


Of course, we're also bonded by a bit of trauma too. While I loved the school cafeteria, that was also the site of one of the worst memories of my entire life. Once a month, for some inexplicable reason, Thruston served us a lunch that traumatized all of us. Are you ready for this?  As much as we all looked forward to Rectangular Pizza Day, we all loathed and dreaded Spinach and Pink Rice Day!


What in the fresh Hell was that about?

Now, let me clarify. Spinach and Pink Rice wasn't one dish (which would have been unimaginably worse), it was two. The spinach was served in the large, center compartment of our lunch trays. The pink rice, if I haven't suppressed the memories too deeply, rested in the top right hand compartment of the same tray. And, yes! The spinach was cooked and the freaking rice was pink.

How does rice even become pink? How does that happen and why were adults feeding this to us?

Compounding the trauma were a couple of other things. 1) Back then, the only thing you got to drink at school was a carton milk- which is gross on its own.


But having to wash down spinach and pink rice with it made it one thousand times worse.

2) Mrs. Sholar was a first grade teacher at Thruston who used to walk around the cafeteria and stand over her students until they tried a bite of everything on their plates. While I appreciate her desire to expand our palates, I don't appreciate her forcing us to broaden our horizons on Spinach and Pink Rice Day. No one should have had to eat that crap.

Oh! One more thing. To enter the Thruston cafeteria, we would line up single-file, by class in the hallway. We always knew it was Spinach and Pink Rice Day when the kids at the front of the line entered the cafeteria and noticed bottles of vinegar on the tables.The vinegar meant spinach. The spinach meant pink rice. Spinach and pink rice meant agonizing hunger the rest of the day.

Though the school was torn down years ago, my fellow Thruston Tomcats and I are hopelessly devoted to the memories we made there. Well, except for one.

Now, that I have shared mine, I'll ask yours. What meal traumatized YOU as a kid?

See How School Cafeteria Meals Have Changed Over the Past 100 Years

Using government and news reports, Stacker has traced the history of cafeteria meals from their inception to the present day, with data from news and government reports. Read on to see how various legal acts, food trends, and budget cuts have changed what kids are getting on their trays.

Gallery Credit: Madison Troyer

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