Five Weirdest Things I've Seen At A Dining Hall

Some people say the dining hall is gross. I’ve heard it described as bland, mushy, boring, basic, and fatty. Some people say it’s good, describing certain meals or days as “my favorite.” Many see it as free food above anything else and eat at it for three years max before moving off-campus and learning how to cook for themselves (or not).

Regardless, there are certain experiences in a dining hall that stay with you. The time I saw a guy eating only mashed potatoes and mac n’ cheese for multiple meals, the time a staff member spilled apples everywhere and we all got up to help her, the time a chef cracked an egg to cook it and the white part was literally red like there was blood in it…

And, finally, just some weird-as-hell foods. The staff is delighted, but whoever makes the menu and designs the food has something at least a little bit wrong with them. In honor of all us college students and our weirdest experiences, here are, without ado, the weirdest foods I have personally eaten at the dining hall. 

  1. 1. Brussel Sprouts w/ Bacon Bits and Balsamic Glaze

    Roased Veg

    Now, weird doesn’t mean bad, and this is certainly true here because this one was actually pretty d*mn good. I love Brussel sprouts (I know), and with the glaze fancier than anything I’ve had a dining hall before and the bacon delightfully cooked and crunchy, the sprouts were delicious despite the fact that they could have been cooked a little longer. I actually wish they would bring this one back--it’s just unlike anything I’ve seen in a dining hall before. I guess that’s really the “weird” part.

  2. 2. Veggie Tots

    These, again, were not terrible. They were crunchy on the outside and gushy on the inside like nice tater tots are, just apparently with more nutritional value. The first time I had these was the night my roommate turned me onto mayochup (Mayonnaise + Ketchup) and neither were half bad. Plus, we had fun discussing what the vegetables inside might be (since potatoes are, you know, already a vegetable). Turned out it was cauliflower + garlic. Nice.

  3. 3. Cookie Pie 

    Msu Spoon Universitycookie Dough

    Don’t let the name fool you. This was not too exciting. I was thrilled when I saw it on the menu. My roommates and I were like “Woah, that sounds like some Milk Bar (REDACTED)!” Nobody knew what this was and everyone was excited since it seemed new to the dining hall. Well, “new” if you took things we had tasted before and put them together. It was essentially a sugar cookie in the shape of a brownie and covered in slightly melted royal icing. With sprinkles. Don’t get me wrong, it was good and moister than dining hall cookies usually are. But still, it was nothing to write--or call, text, or facetime--home about. In fact, due to the overwhelming “artificial” smell that soaked out of the cookie pie and permeated everything around it, my roommate smelled the plate and went “Well, that smells like Walmart!” Confused as to what she meant, I gave it a sniff and--yep. Bakery Section to a T.

  4. 4. Mushroom Bisque Soup

    Now, according to the internet, this is a real thing and a known one at that, with recipes from the various faces of the Food Network just a couple of clicks away. However, this does not change the fact that it is literally disgusting, both in its look and smell. I have never been confronted with so much grey-looking sludge in my life, and it was so intense in heady odor I literally had to back away quickly to avoid feeling sick. I don’t know if it was heavy cream or what, but something in that soup does not mix well with mushrooms at all. I did not try it and I frankly have no desire to.

  5. 5. Captain Crunch Rice Krispies 

    I honestly don’t know what to call this one. Because it was the format of a Rice Krispie treat, a bar with marshmallows melted into it. But it wasn’t Rice Krispies...it was Cap’n Crunch. The usual texture of Rice Krispie treat was therefore ruined because it wasn’t cohesive, but rather, ended up being this chunky and decently messy thing with chocolate chips on top. I’m sure it came out of a surplus, but it led to all my roommates being confused.

 

Overall, the dining hall is a good place filled with good people, especially the staff. They work incredibly hard and I would never shame them or their ethnic or ability. I just feel bad that they have to cook food like this sometimes. And I feel bad that I have to eat it.