Every college student goes through one ritual—the struggle of choosing between eating food at the mess, or giving in to the temptations of the tasty but expensive food at various outlets. Most of the university students live away from home which makes it even tougher for them to get nutritious and tasty food at a reasonable price. A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found over half of college students had high levels of “food insecurity”, which led to further troubles in academics and physical and social life. Mess food sounds like the safest option to stick with here— but is it? Most of us complain about the lack of healthy food in the mess and claim to be tired of the excess oil in most of the meals— but the alternatives are generally even unhealthier to stick to. In this article, let us observe the attitude of Ashokans to mess food.
On an average, approximately 30% of the total food gets wasted on a daily basis. This is mostly because of the erratic and unpredictable turnout of students on any particular day. Although the mess team has a rough estimate of how many people will eat at the mess depending on the day and occasion, the turnouts are often very different from the predictions. When asked how they decide if they want to eat at the mess or not, Ashokans had the most interesting answers.
Koiranbinee Das Bhaumik, a first year, said that she cares the most about the nutritious value of the food. If the mess has enough healthy options to choose from, she happily chooses the mess food over the eateries. However, if the menu of the particular meal is not all that healthy, it gets tough. Then it depends on how much she is willing to spend, and that decides if she wants to treat herself or stick to the salads and whatever healthy options there are on the menu. Switching to junk food is also justified on special occasions.
Srijan Sinha, another first year, had a rather amusing response to this question. His first step towards making this decision is to check the menu and see if there are items that he’d like to have. The second is to go to the mess and see if the stuff looks nice and tempting enough. And the third and final step is to check the dustbin and see whether people have been eating or throwing most of the food away. If he is still not convinced enough to have the mess food, then he turns to Foodies or Chit-Chaat.
Although we complain a lot about our food, at the end of the day, we must commend the mess team for the great amount of effort they put in making sure we get good and delicious food on time. They work tirelessly to arrange hot and nutritious food for us four times a day. We are lucky to have an option that gives us quite a lot of variety and is easy on our purse strings.
Edited by Vasudha Malani
Images curated by Viraj Malani