Growing up I never ate meat (still don't although I have attempted in my adult life with negative results). When I started elementary school in the late 80s in SW Washington, no real vegetarian options were available in my school cafeterias. Except for one. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Cheese Zombie.

The Best Cafeteria School Lunch Ever

What is a Cheese Zombie? My parents and I wondered the same thing when it appeared on my first cafeteria schedule. It is like a million dollar grilled cheese. An elevated take on a diner classic.

It is home made bread dough stretched on a half sheet pan. Stacks of American cheese in the middle. Another layer of bread dough on top. Bake it up and brush a little melted butter on the top. Slice into squares and serve with a bowl of tomato soup. Dip your Cheese Zombie in the tomato soup.

Don't you dare try to fancy it up with real cheddar because the results will be a grainy, greasy mess. You need American cheese to hold you Zombie together. I wouldn't bother making fresh tomato soup either. Campbell's, baby (made with milk because I am not a monster). I'll include my ingredients on how to fancy up your tomato soup in the comments.

It is alleged that Cheese Zombies were created in the Yakima School District in Yakima, WA. There are differing accounts on exactly who created this gift from the gods.

Now, I won't leave you lovely folks hanging. Want to make some Cheese Zombies yourself? BAM. If you don't have a stand mixer/don't want to mix and knead bread by hand/have no clue how to make bread, get frozen bread dough at your grocery store. They usually come in packs of three. Two loaves work perfectly for Cheese Zombies. Follow the packaging instructions for defrosting and letting the dough rise.

I made them at my old job several times, and a few times at home (I'd make it more often by my apartment kitchen is tiny so making bread dough is a pain but you should goddamn know I am making some as soon as it cools off a bit). Here are pans of assembled Zombies, resting for thirty minutes before I baked them off.

The Best Cafeteria School Lunch Ever