As far as dining hall food goes, Oberlin has food that is, I believe, leaps and bounds better than average. And I'm not just saying that. There are tons of options, it's super easy to eat healthy, there are always vegetarian and vegan selections, and the wonderfulness that is fresh, cheesy Stevie breadsticks deserves a blog post all its own.
All in all, we have it really good here. That being said, the question still remains as to how to eat so many meals at the same place without getting bored of the food. Luckily, my friends and I have found ways to get creative and invent our own gourmet masterpieces using only ingredients in the cafeteria. I present to you our secret, most coveted dining hall hacks.
First, some practical advice
There are two main dining halls on campus: Stevenson (Stevie) and Dascomb. They both have rotating stations of food every day that feature different food from around the world, more of a "comfort food" option, and vegan and vegetarian meals. Both also always have a grill station, a sandwich station, an awesome salad bar, and pizza. It's easy to mix it up day to day because of all the options, but when you just aren't feeling any of the food, never fear, there are even more choices!
Visit a co-op with a friend who's in one
Head to DeCafe for a smoothie or some deli treats
Eat at Lord Saunders (I haven't tried it yet, but I hear the mac and cheese and chicken are delicious)
Stop by Science Cart for some food on the run
Or, you can try some real life Oberlin students' tried and true dining hall creations below.
The Mix and Matches
For the Sunday Morning Hash at Stevie brunch, you will need
Hash Browns or breakfast potatoes
Steamed veggies if desired
Crumble the bacon, chop up the veggies with a dining hall knife, and mix all the ingredients together on a plate. Sauce liberally with ketchup or hot sauce. Don't think about the homework you've been putting off all weekend.
For the Every Station in Stevie Pasta you will need
Plain noodles from the pasta station
A hamburger or turkey patty from the grill station or tofu from the salad bar
Pesto from the sandwich station (can be substituted by marinara sauce from the pasta station)
Steamed veggies from the vegetarian station
Parmesan cheese from the pizza station
Cut up the meat/tofu and vegetables and mix with the pesto and pasta. Almost every food group in a single dish! Don't forget a breadstick.
For the Trek back to South Campus Trail Mix you will need
Pretzels from the sandwich station
Raisins and or craisins*
Place all ingredients in the cup and mix thoroughly
*can be found at the salad bar
Ice, Ice, Baby
For the Cure for a Bad Day, you will need
2 cookies of the flavor of your choice
Soft serve ice cream from Stevie
Place one cookie below the soft serve ice cream machine and carefully spread ice cream evenly over it. Top with the other cookie to make a sandwich. If it's a particularly bad day, roll the sides of the sandwich in rainbow sprinkles for some color (colorful food is healthy, right?) and an extra sugar boost.
For the Mudd(y) Buddy, you will need
A cup or mug
Soft serve ice cream
Add all ingredients to the cup and stir thoroughly to distribute them evenly through ice cream. This is my personal favorite dining hall hack.
Sandwiches that seem gross but are actually delicious
For the Panini and Jelly, you will need
Two slices of bread
The panini press
Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Place it in the panini press for a warm, gooey, toasty treat. Trust me, it will change your life.
For the 4th Meal* Mac and Cheese Monster you will need
Mac and cheese
Two slices of bread
The panini press
I know what you're thinking... and yes. Spread the mac and cheese evenly over one piece of bread and place the other on top to make a mac and cheese sandwich. Place in the panini press to complete the grilled cheese transformation. Full disclosure, I haven't actually tried this one, but I saw someone else do it and was intrigued. If you decide to brave it, let me know your results.
*4th meal is served at Dascomb on Sunday through Thursday from 10-11:30 PM. Every night has a fun theme for food, there's music and lights, and basically it's the best study break ever.