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How to life hack D-hall meals

Sitting down to eat in D-Hall is not essential. You can bring Burchit’s ramen into your own dorm kitchen.

Some days, you walk into the Dining Hall, and feel the desire to sit down and cry. You wander from station to station, looking for something to satisfy you after a busy day, but all the options are words we cannot publish in a newspaper. But don’t lose hope! Many Grinnellians have hacked the system and figured out how to manage these disappointing days in the Dining Hall.

Vegetarians struggle when their only option – the vegan station – doesn’t suit their fancy. However, Zoe Gonzalez `23 has figured out a couple of easy meals to satisfy her on these days. The first is a basic mac ‘n’ cheese.

Basic Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Step 1: Go to the pasta section and get a bowl of just pasta, no sauce.

Step 2: Add cream cheese, a lot of shredded cheddar, a little mozzarella, and parmesan (because I like my cheese).

Step 3: Add in red pepper flakes, black pepper, parsley and oregano.

Step 4: Microwave for a minute until cheese melts.

Gonzalez has also figured out a way to turn the Dining Hall fries into a main course.

Main Course Dhall Fries
Zoe Gonzalez `23 has figured out how to turn fries from a side dish to a seasoned main dish.

Main Course Fries

Step 1: Plate of fries.

Step 2: Cheese.

Step 3: Black pepper, parsley, sometimes cumin.

Step 4: Microwave.

Step 5: Ranch on top.

It’s pretty good.

Eunice Lee `23 and Robby Burchit `23 have also spent a lot of time getting creative with options in the Dining Hall. The quality of the hummus is, well, questionable at the vegan station, but the pair figured out a way to make their own.

Homemade(?) Hummus

Step 1: Chickpeas covered with a healthy amount of olive oil.

Step 2: Microwave for 30 seconds.

Step 3: Mash it all up with cumin, seasoning salt, garlic powder and lemon wedges.

Step 4: Salt and pepper as you keep mashing that!

There is always pita at the vegan station.

Burchit has also made delicious meals using Dining Hall ingredients back in the dorms.

Dorm Tofu Stir-Fry

Step 1: To-go box that tofu from the vegan station.

Step 2: Also grab broccoli, baby carrots and red onions.

Step 3: Popcorn shrimp? Put some of that in there too.

Step 4: Take it home, crisp up the tofu with veggie oil and dump in the veggies.

Step 5: Peppers from Farm House? Put those in there!

Step 6: Ramen on the side, peanut hoisin sauce situation, dump it all together in the pan and eat with the shrimp.

For those who don’t have time to bring stuff back to the dorms and cook, Lee offered a simpler version that can be created directly in the Dining Hall.

“D-Hall just put out the soy-sauce that they are supposed to have, so you make a peanut sauce with [that and] peanut butter,” said Lee. “If they have pasta, you stir that in with the sauce and [add] veggies like broccoli, carrots, edamame [and] tofu. Then you throw that in the micro-wave for like three minutes.”

Lee’s biggest advice in surviving bad Dining Hall dishes?

“You cannot be shy with the spice rack!”

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Millie Peck
Millie Peck, Opinions Editor
Millie is a fourth-year English and psychology double major. Despite stewing on a witty bio for the better half of a year, she has failed to think of anything good, so will instead just lean into the fact that she is living the liberal arts dream: sharing a rainbow polka-dot house with seven roommates and a cat.  
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    Stu DentOct 31, 2021 at 12:38 am

    The vegan station is intended primarily for students whose sincerely held beliefs prevent them from consuming animal products, just as Halal is intended for students whose religious beliefs require them to keep Halal. Since the supply of that food is limited, encouraging non-vegan students to take dishes from vegan — particularly as ingredients in meals containing animal products like the stir-fry presented here — is both disrespectful and irresponsible.