I'm officially old ... and find this so sad.

I overheard a student the other day discussing her, apparently mandatory, meal card.  I remember that well.  All freshmen living in dorms at almost every college/university must participate.  My first semester I rarely ate in the cafeteria because the food sickened me.

So one of my students was saying that she had over $1000 on her meal card.  WOW!  I can't help but think what that amount of money can buy.  I find this so very sad.

Why do I feel so old?  Well, because I can't help but think about the costs of things.  In my day most rented those little cubicle dorm fridges for like $50/year or semester even.  Now?  You can buy a small fridge/freezer that is separate for not much more!!  There were no Home Depots, Lowes, WalMarts, Costcos, Sam's Club, BJ's back then. And yet with all that they have available, *kids* these days are (a) on the one hand still forced into ridiculous mealplans and such , and (b) on the other hand so absolutely clueless that they cannot fend for themselves and realize how cheap that can really be!  All this not to mention your mega supermarkets.

With food so cheap, I cringe at all meals provided by educational establishments.  Even back in my day we had community kitchens in the dorms.  I can get no hot pots and such for safety reasons, but a micro?  Between this there should be no reason to require meal plans.

My student was lamenting not being able to spend those $ on clothes.  I concur.  But all of this "in my day" stuff, and being older than most of my students' parents is making me feel awfully OLD :(


Galina L. said…
My son was on a mandatory food plan during his first year of college. It was so bad, it inspired him to try cooking for himself. Food was not only bad but very expensive - 4 thousand for a year. He is trying to follow Dr. Harris advice now. Even with a grass-fed beef once a day it costs (also eggs,cheese, veggies, butter, safe starches, kiwis) him much less than the cafeteria. Not eating snacks saves money as well. He lives in the apartment on a campus, there are 3 more boys there. I was surprised to see their fancy cooking equipment and a fridge full of normal food. I also had a chance to observe girls dwelling - their fridge was filled with fruits and a fat-free yogurt and juice, blender for smoothies was a popular piece of equipment.
Anonymous said…
Maybe this will cheer you all up. Happy, go-lucky, roley poley Jimmy Moore has announced he is now on Wikipedia!

CarbSane said…
Hi Galina, That sounds great for your son. After freshman year even the dorms aren't difficult to eat real food on a budget. Seeing as college tuitions and student loans have been in the news, and it's already expensive enough, it seems almost criminal to require such high priced meal plans.

@fatboyslimkins: Welcome to the Asylum! Whoa boy. I'm surprised he advertised that. I guess making Wikipedia is an honor, but the article isn't all that flattering.
MM said…

Was the food in your dorm that bad? I guess it wasn't in mine. I mean if you're trying to eat strict paleo where everything is organic, then yes it's impossible. But otherwise it was ok. They had a soup and salad bar. At lunch they also had a sandwich bar. You could get a fresh made 3 egg omelet for breakfast. Milk was always available. The main course at dinner sometimes sucked, but you could always put together a meal with the soup and salad bar, and they had a grill open for dinner where they would cook you a burger or boca burger (lol!) if you wanted. Maybe my university was unusual. Sure it's not perfect, but geez, it sure beats the typical ramen/mac&cheese junk people would make up in their dorm rooms.
CarbSane said…
Hey MM, I'm trying to remember what everyone else thought b/c I was a pretty LF freak at the time. Most of the entrees were breaded or sauced or something and I'm a veggie girl too, always have been. I recall eating ice cream though quite often for dinner. At least I knew what it contained.

Ahhh Ramen noodles LOL. Someone was buying those in Costco the other day and I just had to chuckle that times must be really rough if folks are buying those at Costco. What are they like 200 packs for $1? ;) The meal plan card can be used at other places on the campus like a debit card. I don't recall being able to do that in college, so this is a plus. They do have some decent stuff at the little "cafe" in one of the larger classroom buildings.
@evelyn & @fatboyslimkins I'm sure you guys saw that Top 10 List of Shame for 2011 has been posted, too with GT in the #1 spot, apparently b/c his publicist got him on Dr Oz. *LEPTIN Man!!!* bounded his way onto it as well, toward the bottom and well behind Timothy Ferriss?! What was almost more interesting is who didn't make the list but was crammed into a CYA list of "special mentions" at the end.
CarbSane said…
I had to laugh. Rosedale hasn't done bupkiss until this latest starch dust-up and he catapulted into the #5 position. Leptin Man must be bummed! All in all a pretty lame list if you ask me. It's interesting to see Jimmy explain his rationale in the comments -- about certain folks not being all that active -- when Rosedale would fit that bill! LOL. At least Zoe Harcombe made a splash in LLVLClue-terroir in 2011!

I'm just bummed he didn't list me in his query for nominations for encore week. LOL!
Anonymous said…
I visited a prep school where the food choices in the cafeteria were fantastic. The kids thought it was a huge treat to go to a nearby Chinese restaurant - the food was not nearly as 'healthy' and varied as the caf's food.

In the meantime, the college where I was taking some classes had terrible food. The students are mainly commuters and don't hang around the area enough to draw good restaurants. The students get food at the caf or stand in line to get something at a doughnut place.

Food's cheap but food's expensive, too ($150 for a dinner for two at a restaurant recently, and it was not a great restaurant... but $1.00 for a burger at McD's!). How much time you are willing to take preparing food or waiting for it makes a huge difference.
This is the perfect forum to mention this. I found this interview with Jim Morrison on Youtube where he is talking about gaining weight in college eating at the cafeteria. Although the whole interview is interesting, the relevant part begins at the link below at the 2:00 mark.

Anonymous said…
Jim Morrison talking about gaining the 'Freshman Fifteen'? I think alcohol, and its calories, deserves mention there, too....