Dear Pavlov, what can I eat in college?

This question came from a thoughtful young lad about to head off to his freshman year in college. Now as we all know there are many questions you need to stress out about with regard to college. Will I get laid? Will I be able to get ample amounts of adult beverages? Crabs aren’t permanent are they? These are all questions worth thinking about. But the following question is one you shouldn’t think about… until you’re about 60.

Pavlov, I’m a senior in High School and am a self-professed foodie. I enjoy eating well and I’m afraid college food will be everything it’s cracked up to be. Do you have any ideas or tricks for me, or should I just dream of future great meals.

Thanks, Animal

Dearest Animal,

College is a time you’re supposed to look back on and lament about all the awful food you ate, things you did, and parents money you wasted just to end up your first five years out of college as a barista trying to “find yourself.” Like your friends will probably tell you, “Hack your Ramen Brah.”  Back in the day we called it “cooking funk”, we didn’t know the joys of Sriracha, fish sauce or the word brah. The craziest thing you could get in the Asian “section” of the Asian food aisle in the grocery store in rural NH was La Choy chow mein in a can!

I personally have eaten everything from egg shells, a dead lobster, drank beer out of someone’s barn boot and even drank vodka from a plastic bottle. Were these all good experinces? No, no, no aaaaand no, (Wolfschmidt, you are one cruel son of a bitch!) but it’s preferable to telling my grandchildren about an excellent steak tartare I had as a Freshman.

You should instead be telling them stories out of earshot of “grandma” about pizza you had of questionable provinance you got from a convenience store at 3 am, before going home with a woman of even more questionable moral fiber. Then upon awaking a day and a half later, leaning on the mercy of your friends better nature to help you piece the events together. What was up with the goat, and where did the prosthetic eye come from?

Trust me you’ll get to know the good sausage joints and hell maybe even educate your fellow classmates on the virtues of good pizza. Of course good pizza and beer being what they are tend to come at a premium, so you’ll get to start using your education in real world situations. You will be learning about such things as “economies of scale” and the thought process will go thusly.

If we all chip in and get the good pizza and the good beer we will all get one slice of pizza and maybe 2 beers. If we all chip in and get the broke-assed pizza and the broke-assed beer…we will all have full stomachs plus breakfast. As an ancillary benefit to having plenty of beer, you will have stories to tell the grandkids about like “how I tried to fight all my dorm mates”, “I was a gentleman and held a girl’s hair while she took the toilet for a spin”, and how you “nearly got grandma’s best friend pregnant.”

Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to focus on great food… probably when your 60 after having paid off your student loans, your mortgage, cars, put 4 kids through that same damned college, Well 3-1/2 kids, because Junior thinks he’s a rock star and quit his junior year and off to CA, bought more throw pillows, throw rugs, picture frames, shelves, guest towels and window treatments (that’s the expensive way your wife will say shades) than you care to think about.

By then however, you’re just going to want some peace and quiet. You’ll be on your way to the grocery store across town because it’s 15 minutes of extra silence (read:less nagging). On the way there you’re going to see that sausage stand you used to eat at in college and smell those peppers and onions mixed with wonderfully spiced charred sausage and you’re going to realize…. you didn’t miss a damned thing. Sometimes food is as much about the experience and the company as it is about the actual food.

Enjoy your freshman year!



4 thoughts on “Dear Pavlov, what can I eat in college?

  1. Good one Pav. I ate mac and cheese for four years straight. In those days you could get it on sale at the IGA for 10 cents a box. 100 boxes ten bucks. .Plenty of money left over for beer.

    • I’ve eaten blue box I believe 2 times in my life… I was all about the ramen and minute rice hacks. Thing I think is funny now walking around Asian food stores and seeing thos big assed bags of rice you need a mule to help carry out of the store… you can get one of those for like 5 bucks! It would have given me more money to buy limes for my gin and tonics.

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