Yay! Bean Day!

Another memorable aspect of my elementary school days in Buckeye, Arizona was lunch. We had some choices, which after we reached the mature age of eleven, included walking over to the Dairy Queen. Fifty cents would get you a hamburger, fries and a coke, and you’d have a nickel left over for the pinball machine. (I’ll tell you about the pinball machine another time.)

The other choices were the school cafeteria, a sack lunch, or if you lived close enough you could go home for lunch. The last one was not an option available to me, so I alternated between the other two, based on what was being served at the cafeteria. I had my favorites, and they were hamburger day, bean day, and fish day wasn’t too, bad either. I cannot remember what they served on the other two days of the week.

That’s the thing, though, it was the same thing every day and every week. The menu—best I can remember—never varied. I also don’t recall what day each dish was served, except fish day; that was always on Friday.

The hamburgers were good, although not really a typical hamburger. The meat was not a patty, but rather, it was finely chopped ground beef (I hope) that was spooned onto a hamburger bun. I’m not even sure how they cooked it. You could then add veggies and condiments of your choice. They were weird, as far as hamburgers go, but tasted pretty good.

But my favorite dish, strangely, was the pinto beans. I don’t know how they prepared them, but I’d love to have their recipe. I had beans at home quite often, but their recipe had something different about it. Thinking about it now, I’m wondering if they weren’t canned. That would make more sense. Beans take awhile to cook, you know.

If anybody knows someone who worked in the cafeteria back then, ask them about the beans for me. An enquiring mind wants to know!


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    My grandma was the head cook at Stark High School in Orange, Texas. If your school was like hers, the recipe would go like this:

    100 pounds of pinto beans
    5 pounds of onion, chopped
    4 pounds ham hocks
    80 gallons of water

    • Nope. That’s a pretty typical recipe, and these beans had something else in them–spices or something–that gave them a very unique flavor.

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