by Kamya Sud
Finding yourself growing weary of the same old dining options but too short on funds to do anything else? Fear not. Here’s how to hack your culinary experience here at the 5Cs and reach peak levels of extreme gastronomic pleasure every time.
- Make sure you hit up dining halls besides trusty ol’ McConnell. Harvey Mudd does a pretty decent sushi night as well as a make-your-own-pizza night, for pizza that’s just yours. Frary has stir fry and amazing weekend brunches. Although, I can’t discount Scripps brunches with the most popular (and for good reason) smoothie counter and delicious berry selection. Finally, Collins does a wide range of baked goods and granola.
- We may have the healthiest college food in California but with all the woes of college getting to us all at times, feel free to indulge in a little sugar rush or greasy comfort food. Special mentions go to the freshly baked trays of chocolate chip cookies at Scripps (*hack* – go to Mudd, they’re just as good and more easily available!), Icees at Mudd, and pretzel cheese pizza at Frary!
- Sushi night at Pitzer comes only one a week, but if you’re trying to keep the freshman 15 at bay (read: barely kind of at arm’s length), it doesn’t get healthier than seaweed, rice, protein, and veggies! DIY your own burrushi by simply ordering a packet of seaweed off Amazon and fill with the ever-present rice (or rice-like salad, whatever they’ve got that day), some sort of protein – tofu works pretty well here, diced carrots, lettuce or cabbage ‘slaw’ using a little ranch dressing and leaves, and finally, if you just can’t do without the sriracha mayo and/or ponzu sauce – try mixing a little sriracha and secret sauce and/or a combination of spicy dressing and balsamic. And don’t forget the pre-shelled edamame beans set out every day! All of these items can be readily found across McConnell almost every day, either at the salad bar or main plate station.
- Missing your regular cup of joe but Mudd/the Village too far and cash flow too low? Get your Starbucks fix using just the ingredients we have provided to us in the dining hall. The potential for exciting coffee concoctions are endless – just begin with a regular cup of coffee or hot chocolate and go wild adding lots of just about everything. Customize to your exact frappuccino flavour with chocolate or caramel syrup, easily crumbled cookies, and of course, sprinkles! There’s also soy milk, lactaid milk, fat-free milk, almond milk, whipped cream, half-and-half, or just plain yogurt if you’re extra particular about your usual multifaceted order to the barista. Plus, this solution has the added bonus of no one spelling your name catastrophically wrong on the cup since you can just use your own reusable one! (*suggested hack* crush the after-meal mints into a cup of hot cocoa for the perfect peppermint touch and top with whipped cream and marshmallows from the cereal bar!)
- Grilled cheese, quesadilla, or burger lacking enough cheese? Just tick off all three kinds of cheese on the little order form or just put x __ for more cheesy goodness! Also, remember that you can order two things off the Grill at once and you can add all of the toppings on whatever you get!
- We don’t have soda and ice cream machines with a variety of sugary options just to push us into early-onset type 2 diabetes. They also exist to provide us with the heavenly goodness that is soda floats. Coke floats? Psh, who needs ‘em when you can make a lemonade or root beer or blue cola float?
- The ice cream machines pair perfectly with the plates and plates of exquisite cookies that are set out at every meal. Three words, eighteen letters: say it and I’m yours – ICE CREAM SANDWICHES. Extra points if you use cereal (Lucky Charms marshmallows!) as a garnish.
- Get those late night munchies just about every night past even Muddhole hours? Fear not, simply combine and melt (in the Demo kitchen) crunchy peanut butter, chocolate chips and a spoonful of honey or caramel topping. Perfect midnight (or late) snack that stays delicious and accessible during the wee hours in a reusable cup for a minimum of 3 days.
- Breakfast blues are real and sometimes you just don’t have the time to sit down or get a box. Simply fill your cup with peanut butter, oatmeal, blueberry yogurt, a piece or two of melon, and some nuts from the salad bar. Grab a bagel with a shmear of cream cheese or delicious vegan spread and you’re good to go!
- Trail mix night at Snackie Snack was certainly something. Replicate that by combining the trail mix from the salad bar with all the toppings from the sundae bar on Wednesday, be they yogurt chips, waffle cone bits or crushed Oreos.
- If you do not already have the 5C Menu app that tells you the hours and exact menu of every dining hall every day, get it. Available from the Apple App Store for the low, low price of FREE.
- Finally, just a quick tip for those who haven’t realised it already – the dining halls are pretty large, and you can’t be expected to know everyone. And hey, sometimes you just want to enjoy your grilled cheese and alphabet soup (Scripps!) in peace by yourself after a really long day. It’s not embarrassing or weird, just go sit outside and enjoy the day and food to the fullest.