Did you have a favorite meal at school? Mine was pizza, made special because it was rectangular, and taco day, so I could make a taco salad.

Honestly, any meal that included chocolate sheet cake was worth enduring.

My youngest daughter goes to a summer camp, where her favorite meal is Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes. Today's recipe is my attempt to make it as good as she has it there, or even better with fresh, local ingredients. The rest of the family gave it rave reviews. She said it was close. Harrumph.

This meal came together mostly with locally sourced ingredients, including ground beef from a local butcher and potatoes and mushrooms from the farmers market. The average lunchroom is rarely so lucky.

I Eat La.: Recipes for Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Peanut Butter Cookies

I had to follow through with a cafeteria favorite for dessert — peanut butter cookies. However, if you find yourself with a craving for chocolate sheet cake, I recommend the one in "River Road II" cookbook. 

This meal took me down memory lane. It sparked some great table talk about the cafeteria meals we loved and those we thought were a bit wacky. Pizza casserole anyone?

We also told a few crazy stories about lunchtime with our classmates. If only we could have lunch with our best friends everyday again.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.