I came to college with the idea that the dining halls would serve an extensive variety of food that I could choose from. Of course, I knew they would not have unlimited choices, but I figured I wouldn’t get tired of the food. However, that did not become a reality.
I became intimately familiar with the tragically unseasoned food the dining halls served.
Fall semester of my freshman year started off great. The food tasted different than what I normally ate, so I enjoyed it. I felt excited that I could eat pizza or a cheeseburger if I wanted and no one could tell me anything. It seemed like a dream to me. As the semester ended, it became harder to eat.
The food’s uniqueness started to wane away to expose its lack of seasoning. By the end of the semester, I dreaded eating a grilled chicken for lunch. Regardless, I continued to force myself to eat it because they only served pizza as another option, and I couldn’t jeopardize my health.
Dinner didn’t change much from lunch. Yeah, it tasted great in the beginning. But eventually it just got boring. The dining halls served the same things every week with the occasional night dedicated to a different culture’s food.
I decided to start going to the dining hall located on the other side of campus. The majority of upperclassmen lived there, so I figured that it must serve better food. I guessed correctly. The food there tasted completely different from the other dining hall. It did have the same basic foods, but there were more options.
The discovery of the other dining hall sustained my appetite for the rest of freshman year. It even satisfied me for the first couple of weeks of my sophomore year. At this point, the food has started to taste bland once again. I started looking around for another method that could help me. I tried to find another place that sold food that could push me through.
I found nothing.
Then one day, I stood in line for a burger. I saw a station of sauces next to the fries. I figured I’d try them.
I could only use one word to describe them: lifesaver. It added taste to my burgers and grilled chicken. I could even alternate between barbecue, ranch, chipotle mayo and more. I started to get excited about my meals again.
I found out a couple of weeks later that the dining halls also provided seasonings like Montreal and cajun seasonings that employees could mix into your food. A whole new world of possibilities had opened up for me with the discoveries of these sauces and seasonings.
I guess my sour opinion of the food on campus comes from the fact I grew up in a Hispanic household. We cook with an extensive amount of seasonings and other flavors. All of them combined adds so much flavor to food. Now, you can imagine how going from those kinds of meals to one where the chefs hardly use enough seasoning, unless you count the charcoal from the grill.
I did not think anyone else felt this way at first. At first, I heard kids raving about the delicious food. I kept thinking to myself, “What do you eat at home?” I felt confused, thinking to myself maybe they eat different things than I do.
I realized later on that the food itself did not actually taste atrocious. My displeasure stemmed from the constant comparisons I made to the food that I typically eat at home, which I probably shouldn’t. If I want to survive another two years of this food, then I have to learn to make different combinations to liven up my food and, therefore, ignite my taste buds.