Cafeteria Smell

  1. The odor of: fried food, mixed with old mop water, mixed with cookies, mixed with bleach, mixed with hot dumpster leavings – that emanates from every cafeteria
  2. A sign that sloppy joes are being served at a given location
  3. A sign that pizza will be served in the form of a soggy rectangle

Usage Example: “I wanted to try that restaurant, but it had that cafeteria smell.”

Background: There is no escaping the cafeteria smell. Every cafeteria, whether it’s found in an elementary school, college, hospital or standalone “buffet” restaurant, has the exact same smell. It doesn’t matter if it tries to make itself upscale, the cafeteria smell will always be present.

The cafeteria smell is a complex bouquet of pleasant and disturbing odors. Due to its complexity, it can be difficult to identify its individual components. However, in spite of its complexity, the cafeteria smell is instantly recognizable. One single whiff of cafeteria smell immediately takes a victim back to standing in line at an elementary school cafeteria, waiting for his chicken patty sandwich, pudding, chocolate milk and carrot sticks.

The cafeteria smell is comprised of equal parts of odors from the following categories:

  1. The food category
  2. The cleaning supply category
  3. The dumpster category

This combination creates a smell that is somewhat appealing and somewhat revolting at the same time. Cafeteria smell is the primary distinguishing characteristic of any cafeteria-style dining establishment.

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4 thoughts on “Cafeteria Smell

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