Some colleges are renowned for their stellar dining programs. Mine...was not one of them. In the early days, we'd speak in hushed whispers of campuses rumored to serve farm-fresh produce and rare salmon steaks. Later, we merely shuffled along, eyes cast downward, loading our plates with ambiguously colored meats and scrambled eggs, served fresh out of the cardboard box.
Of course, not everyone felt the same way. There were those who claimed to know the ins and outs of the system—the cook who'd slip you a juicy, seared steak if you asked nicely, or the best station to visit on any given day of the week. Some seemed to genuinely appreciate the menu (waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? What's not to love?), and, of course, not all the food was quite so dismal—the campus was studded with smaller dining facilities, serving up decidedly superior meals.
But there was one thing that each and every student agreed upon, no matter who you asked: The school was definitely sneaking laxatives into the food. Where this idea came from, let alone how it became so pervasive, remains a mystery—as far as I know, nobody was...suffering...markedly ill effects. Nonetheless, whenever I hear the words "college dining hall" my very first thought is, and will likely always remain, "poop."
Thankfully, not everybody has it that bad (though I imagine some do indeed have it worse). I've even heard magical tales of farm-to-table feasts, succulent chicken, and vast grain selections that would make your head spin. So, folks, why not a little show 'n' tell? What's your most memorable dining hall dish, meal, or all-around experience?
About the author: Niki Achitoff-Gray is the associate editor of Serious Eats and a part-time student at the Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into pizza. Also, she likes offal. A lot.