Lunch Lady Cafeteria Rolls
Scrolling through recipes on Pinterest and this was the recipe that caught my eye - "Lunch Lady Cafeteria Rolls." I don't know about you but I certainly don't have fond memories of the rolls that were served by the lunch ladies when I was in school. (Keep in mind that it's been 25 years since I've been in a school cafeteria and lunch room protocol has changed in the last quarter decade.) Apparently my experience with underwhelming cafeteria rolls was not the norm though, there WERE school kids around the country being served delicious, fresh baked rolls on their school lunch tray every day.
The image that comes to my mind when I read "lunch lady cafeteria rolls" was completely different than the picture that accompanied the recipe on reallifedinner.com. I can assure you that these were NOT the rolls that were being served in our school cafeteria.
I have to admit that I was feeling a little cheated out of warm cafeteria rolls when I found a link at the bottom of the recipe to another page that featured Lunch Lady Cafeteria Cinnamon Rolls! Seriously, were there kids in the 80's eating delicious, freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the school cafeteria in the morning? I'm fairly certain that my school never served breakfast - let alone a warm, homemade cinnamon roll.
I may not have grown up eating fresh bread in my school cafeteria but it's never too late to make up for lost time. I made a batch of these rolls for my family last week.
Apparently the lunch ladies of the 80s were quite efficient. They used the same dough for the cinnamon rolls as they did for the rolls. I decided to do the same. I made 1 batch of dough and divided it in half. I made a dozen cinnamon rolls and a pan of rolls to serve with dinner. (Those lunch ladies are pretty clever.)
Posting the roll recipe today and tomorrow, I'll post the directions for turning the dough into cinnamon rolls.
Lunch Lady Cafeteria Rolls
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 + 3/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons shortening
Add melted butter (cooled), milk, eggs and salt to yeast mixture.
In a large bowl combine flour and sugar. Stir until combined. Cut in shortening.
Divide half of dough into small pieces for rolls.
Remove from pans to cool completely. Gently pull apart.
So now I want to hear from those of you who were eating fresh baked rolls and cinnamon rolls in their school cafeteria in the 80s. I have a feeling that it was geographically specific but I want to hear from you to confirm my suspicions. If the lunch ladies in your school cafeteria were. And don't worry, if you're like me and you missed out on fresh rolls in your school cafeteria - now you can bake them for yourself at home.
11/22/2020 12:47:13 pm
My lunch ladies made the best rolls in high school, in fact I spent twenty cents daily for two rolls and butter for lunch, they were that good.
I like to say I made rolls in schools for 25 plus years I made them through hard years with no mixer a 30 gallon navy pot and my arm . But let me say making 1500 to 1700 rolls a day u had find easier ways they have home made cinnamon rolls for dressers same day u had rolls too it was double dog hell in demon world u say, I get there hour half early no over time pay I get started because I figure if I was a child only meal I’m getting is at school I hope them ladys make them rolls good, I did soft flaky u pull them apart they melt in ur mouth, them kids bite them down ask miss cathey u have extra can u give them to us I smile say I see they run on but the rolls the main dish the meat desert is what kids look for the meal if it’s great their lil belly get satisfied I make them fluffy and put lil extra sugar in mine teachers they know if I made them or not if my right arm wasn’t in that dough up to my fore arm they wouldn’t eat they come to the kitchen door they see me first thing I was the First Lady everyone seen with a big smile but they look at me say miss cathey we r checking make sure ur making them soft sweet rolls we all eat up I smile say yes I don’t miss they laugh really big that why we don’t miss on school roll day but I made them they taste like they been kneaded by mixture people come from other school teachers the school main district office all come all our maintence that service 28 schools they always come to me hug me I tell them I got extra I go up to 2,000 a day if it fried chicken cabbage or greens brow or white beans these wasn’t from cans on Friday was managers choice me and my boss we hand fry our chicken we made frozen greens mixed and homemade corn bread onions in it fresh onions shredded our white beans ham in them home made potatoes bake potatoes all the trimmings for loaded baked potatoe like u bake in ur oven at home home made cake served with ice cream and lemonade or sweet and unsweetened tea everybody call on Wednesday afternoon managers from other schools what r ya menu for Friday we tell them sign us up for so many plates we thrived on our food being number one in all 28 schools fireman in every fire station come our school to eat why our health score 100 the inspector put a plus beside it they say where miss pat miss cathey miss Mary it going be a 100 plus that plus means we didn’t get a date when they was coming it was call we pop in ur kitchen on our srecet time u never know but we do like Santa we love giving surprises they did but our score was never below 100 my uncle was captain over one fire station he ate in no restaurants nothing just home then he come inspected our fire alarms he knew I worked in the kitchen he put his head in hey girl I got check the fire alarms I told him ok he walk around our kitchen my boss miss pat behind him he said u all have the cleaniest school resturant or eatery I ever seen ten more men with him said the same thing they ask can we buy a plate my uncle come hug me I want extra too pinch my neck well our school where the fireman police come to eat I get off for the summer my uncle then work side jobs man next door to me he tell my uncle come on we got dinner ready for all of u I fix dinner every day like I was at school because my husband get off at noon my uncle come in say girl u fixing lunch today I said u know I fix lunch everyday he say I’m plate on ur table I tell him ok but he never would eat my other three sisters house they wasn’t clean in their house he laugh say this is my niece old clean woman I feel a person see ur car inside dirty ur house is dirty and they see ur bathroom nasty u can bett one hundred percent they won’t eat in ur house I t took a test for school food service I told my boss what I thought people think about eating in ur house by ur car ur clothes we sat beside each other the teacher smile ya finish to fast we know ya fail they took up 101 test we were the only two test pass every questions we walk out smiling laughing women got mad at us my boss said it common senses ur a cafeteria school lunch lady ur cleanliness in school u take it from ur school kitchen to ur house cathey was spotless before she got to the school she taught me things I taught her it’s a teaching experiences for us all we are the school cafeteria cooks who r to serve clean meals in clean shoes clean clothes clean body u take that with u in life to let people know ur a clean person every where just not when ur at school
Cathey - Thank you so much for serving the needs of so many children and adults in your community. You have touched the lives of so many people with your work in the school cafeteria. I'm forever grateful and thankful that there are people like you preparing food for the children and support staff in our schools. Thank you for sharing your story and for stopping by the blog.
11/25/2020 04:05:34 pm
I grew up in Kaufman, TX during the 70’s and 80’s. I was just telling my DIL about the best rolls I ever had. I told her we had them at lunch when we were in school. She found your site and the recipe!! I’m going to try them tonight!!
You were fortunate to grow up in a time and place where you had access to freshly baked homemade rolls. I would like to think that school cafeterias are still serving homemade rolls but from what I've heard, that trend has ended. It's too bad because, I'm sure you would agree that homemade rolls are the BEST!
11/16/2021 11:39:47 am
Kid during the 70's and teen during the 80's. We never had anything else but fresh made yeast rolls in our cafeteria. Loved the days they were served.
11/16/2021 11:40:52 am
Forgot to add that I'm from South Alabama/Northwest Florida.
I'm starting to realize that during the 70s and 80s, homemade yeast rolls in school cafeterias, were actually quite common. Maybe my school was one of the exceptions that didn't serve homemade rolls.🤷🏻♀️ Anyway, consider yourself fortunate and thanks for stopping by the blog.
8/24/2022 05:21:46 pm
I went to school in the 90’s in southeastern Texas. We had huge homemade wheat rolls. We occasionally had homemade birthday cake too. At my high school we had an ala cart line when the lunch ladies made all homemade food. It was the highlight of the school day.
11/22/2022 07:56:55 am
"quarter of a decade?"
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