Cafeteria Food Circle


In a cafeteria at any grade level, there’s not really a food pyramid. Instead, students follow a food circle, in which each item carries equal weight with the others in a complex system of barter and trade. Few people truly understand the cafeteria food circle, but in a way, the more you understand it, the less it works.

(Clockwise from top)

LOOSE-CHEESE PIZZA – Cafeteria pizza varies in its quality from sloppy, dry, and oily. In some┬ácafeterias, it is served only on friday to give students something to look forward to; but in many cases, it is possible to consume pizza every day of the week if necessary. Cafeteria pizza can be used to trade for soda, but since it’s school-provided, it doesn’t see a lot trading. Not pictured: Mrs. Obama Veggies

SPARKLING MUFFIN – School muffins are sometimes homemade by a dedicated kitchen crew, or at least ordered in large batches from a local bakery. If you go to a bigger school, the quality probably decreases slightly, but muffins are, like bagels, every student’s go-to item. The sheer volume of grain and shrunken berries provided gives students a stand-in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, any time of the day in any grade level. Not pictured: Stiff Bagel

3rd PERIOD KIT-KATS – Purchased during a study hall, the 3rd Period kit-kat bar is now malleable and ready to be eaten. Not pictured: Soccer Game Twizzlers.

FLEXIBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE – In elementary school these were sold for $0.25 each, meaning that tooth fairy money got you anywhere from 1 – 2 whole cookies. In the old days, they cost nickels, which is kind of painful to think about. Not pictured: Rough Sugar Cookie

DANGEROUS SODA – In schools without government health codes, a wide variety of energy drinks and sodas are sold. These are drunk much more often than necessary, but a well rounded student will keep their consumption to about once a week. Some students attribute magical properties to certain drinks. If you get that, then it’s funny. If not, you wouldn’t find it funny. Not pictured: Feminine Cherry Vitamin-Infused Negative 2 Calorie “Neggie2” Water. Which is especially humiliating when purchased by a male

H20: You can’t go wrong here. Not pictured: Half a cob of corn, hash browns, lunch from home

MYSTERIOUS BOTTLE YOUR ACQUAINTANCE JERRY SNUCK IN – Jerry just kind of does his own thing. The bottle smells a little like paint thinner and Jerry seems very, very relaxed after drinking from it. As far as you know, there’s nothing else in the paper bag. Not pictured: Chewing tobacco

INDUSTRIAL – STRENGTH SCHOOL PB&J: The school provides its students with industrial – strength PBs which serve several purposes: testing student sugar tolerance levels, fattening up students who refuse to eat anything without white bread, and preventing in-class flatulence by blocking the bowels. Not pictured: The Bottom of the Stack PB&J. Which is best served with extra plastic wrap

QUESTIONABLE SANDWICH – This sandwich has questionable origins unclear to anyone in or around the school. Even the kitchen staff aren’t sure where it came from. It just kind of showed up and they threw it in with the Spare “Ribs.” The bun matches, after all. Not pictured – Science teacher looking for the sandwich from his mold-growth experiment

napoleon dynamite animated GIF
Tots – a vital source of nutrition in most cafeterias

Have any lunch room stories?


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