Dinner on the side

Mac and CheeseMeal options at the campus food court are more than a little off-program.  We have a Mexican place with loads of cheeses and fat-filled nachos and taco salads (can you tell I’ve had some of them?).  There’s also the ubiquitous pizza place, with oil puddling on top of the giant pizza slices.   Though they do usually have a whole-wheat crust healthier version.  But still, it’s not the best choice.

There’s a soup-bar, usually at least one that’s cream based and another that tastes weird.  Hot and cold deli sandwiches are also available – none of them low fat or low cal – and there’s a Chinese place, too.  And sushi.  And a salad bar, of course, though they make it for you rather than let you do it yourself; that seems pretty weird to me but I’m not in charge.

My favorite food option is Cranberry Farms.  They serve turkey and rotisserie chicken with home-style sides like mashed potatoes and vegetables, and some yummy sandwiches.  Sometimes I get dinner at lunch time and manage to overcome my craving for stuffing or baked apples to have turkey and veggies.  Or the #2 sandwich on wheat bread with turkey and cranberry sauce, leaving off the stuffing they usually use on it.  That sandwich has so much turkey you can hardly get your mouth around it.

What cracks me up is watching students – and it’s mostly students – go through the line and get “dinner on the side” which is a meal of just side dishes, without turkey or chicken.  Usually the plate ends up consisting of a giant mound of mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, stuffing, and a big biscuit in the middle.  “Everything is the same color!” I want to scream at them, “put some color on that plate!”  Not to mention vegetables or protein.   Then I know I’m channeling my mother – or a WW leader.

Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to try it myself.  A meal of just carbs sounds very tasty and sopophoric.  I felt very virtuous going through the union today with my homemade salad (lettuce + black bean/corn salsa + chicken + tomatoes + blue cheese + craisins) and a pear, even as I inwardly sneared at all of the “3 carbs and a biscuit” plates I saw.   It’s comfort food in a way that salad just isn’t for me.