Child Enjoying Food

10 Childhood Meals You Thought Were Fancy, but Were Far From It

Little kids understand reality differently than teenagers and adults, especially regarding food and fine dining. A four-year-old demonstrates unwavering excitement for a Kids Cuisine, while an adult opts to splurge on a steakhouse dinner, but they both deduce their meal is extravagant. An online discussion forum chews over examples of affordable meals kids think are elegant in the culinary world.

1. TV Dinners

Family watching tv and eating dinner
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Here is the most accurate description of indulging in a TV Dinner. “If my parents were going out for the evening, my mom would take us to the grocery store to pick out TV dinners. I usually got turkey with mashed potatoes, stuffing, those miserable peas and carrots, and some kind of cobbler dessert. No microwaves then, so the foil trays went into the oven. My mom would put the hot tray on a washcloth on a TV table. We got to eat in front of the TV and thought it was fabulous.”

2. Pasta Roni

Los Angeles, California, United States - 02-01-2023: A view of several packages of Pasta Roni, on display at a local grocery store.
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Do you remember the hurt in your heart when your friend informed you your favorite homemade meal came out of a prepackaged processed box your parents disguised as home cooking? A contributor notes that their mom used to make a delectable angel hair pasta dish infused with Alfredo sauce and love from scratch. Later, they found out the specialty was Pasta Roni.

3. KFC

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Forum members who lived far away from chain restaurants believed ordering takeout from the selected locations meant they had a fair share of money. It turns out their parents didn’t want to cook that night and could feed their kids on a few bucks while tricking them into thinking they were consuming Michelin-rated cuisine.

4. Pizza Hut

Peru - Circa August 2018: Pizza Hut Fast Casual Restaurant. Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of YUM! Brands I
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One person recalls the special occasions in their childhood when they traveled to Pizza Hut. The establishment’s decor suggested the kitchen and staff dedicated their lives to serving five-star meals, with red tablecloths, glass cups, stained glass windows, and candles lit in the center of the tables.

5. Fruity Cereal

Woman eating Cereal
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Television commercials prolong false narratives surrounding brand-name foods. Cereal commercials show fresh-cut oats and crunchy morning meals stacked with sliced fruit, which does not come with the box. A former child remarks that if their parents added fruit to cereal, they trusted their parents had received a bonus that week.

6. Oyster Crackers

Oyster Crackers for Soup and Chowders
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A courageous soul bolsters the strength for this confession regarding the sumptuous appetizer of oyster crackers. “I always thought oyster crackers were super expensive and fancy because I only had them at restaurants with my clam chowder. The waitress would only give me one tiny packet, which was never enough. Sometimes, I would work up the courage to ask for one more packet if I was extra brave or hungry, but I always felt like maybe that was selfish of me because clearly, this is a precious commodity.”

7. Ramen

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Eating ramen by the bucket has a certain connotation for broke college kids, yet a few respondents remember their parents telling them they could only eat ramen a few times a year due to the expense. The parents meant they couldn’t afford to consume the sodium-stuffed noodles for health reasons, but that glazed over the kids’ heads, who assumed ramen cost more than eating at top-rated restaurants.

8. Mac & Cheese With Hot Dogs

Kraft Mac & Cheese
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Many contributors viewed their families’ recipe of Velveeta or Kraft Mac mixed with cut-up hot dogs as insinuating their high net worth. Several members on the thread agree about their experience and say they still cook the budget-friendly dish today.

9. Lunchables

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The kids I babysit think Lunchables are the greatest food on the planet. Their dad regularly cooks them sweet potato and feta sandwiches and high-end turkey burgers, but given the option, they grab the ultra-processed square plastic lunch. “Lunchables: I was always disappointed mom didn’t want to pay for Lunchables,” someone writes. “They looked so cool and well organized. Now I know it’s just mass-market low-end charcuterie, but man, they seemed fun.”

10. French Onion Soup

French onion soup with cheese cheese
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French Onion soup is a cost-effective, delicious soup that satisfies kids and adults. This person recollects their childhood dinners and remarks that their mother resorted to making French onion soup when she had to watch her funds.

Source: Reddit.

11. 12 Dishes Foodies Secretly Find Disgusting

Child Refusing Food
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Even seasoned foodies encounter offerings that, beneath hushed confessions, they find hard to stomach. From revered global delicacies to local favorites, here are 12 dishes that secretly make even the most adventurous diners cringe.



Gabrielle Reeder
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