A recent trip to my college alma mater included a visit past a dorm. As I listened to a discussion of meal plan options, “I-bucks,” and more, I began to reminisce about the dining halls I frequented several decades back.
Dorm Eating in the ’80s
Back then, in the mid-’80s, the IU college meal plan was simple: you got 20 meals per week (breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, except no dinner on Sundays). If you didn’t eat a meal — and I often didn’t, since it wasn’t always convenient to get to a dorm at mealtimes — you lost that credit. Meals usually offered a couple of entree choices. There was a salad bar in the dining area as well, which seemed a bit new/avant garde at the time. Dorm cafeterias definitely weren’t the buffet restaurant-type setups I’m surmising is normal these days.
One thing I remembered, too: yogurt. College was where I first became aware of yogurt. I don’t think it’s that my family was anti-yogurt; it just seems that yogurt wasn’t even on my radar until then. Are the ’80s when yogurt first became popular? I remember that, if you didn’t like either entree choice in the cafeteria, you could substitute two containers of yogurt for it. Since I am generally not a very picky eater, it was only a rare occasion where I didn’t like one of the offered entrees. But when it happened, it was kind of a treat to get my very own little containers of yogurt. They were always the fruit-on-the-bottom type (or maybe that was the only option then?), always seemed to be Dannon, and I’d eat one and bring the other to my room, to stash safely away in my neat-o dorm fridge.
Ordering Pizza at College
The common stereotype of college kids ordering pizza was never my experience. I was always too frugal and conscientious to do this: too frugal, because I reasoned that since I was already paying for a meal plan, I certainly wasn’t going to “double pay” by ordering pizza as well. Conscientious, because I was determined not to gain the “freshman 15” at any point in my college years, and I also knew that I didn’t need all those extra calories on top of the regular dorm food (yes, I was born 40 in many ways). In the interest of full disclosure, I do recall one time where I participated in ordering pizza. It stands out in my memory, probably because it occurred just once.
What do you remember about your college eating experiences? And what about yogurt — do you remember it prior to the ’80s?