By Liv Hage

Dear Mr. Swongo, 

The food here has been getting worse and worse. I’ve been here for 3 years, and I’m sick of eating the same bland meals over and over again. Sometimes just walking into D-Hall makes me feel nauseous, I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this. Do you have any advice for navigating D-Hall? Any secret recipes or ways to game the system? If I eat another sad yellow curry from the Vegan section, I’m going to run into a field and cry, watering the corn with my tears. Please help. 

Sincerely, Depressed in D-Hall


Dear Depressed in D-Hall, 

Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with your plight. Sometimes I wake up at night in a cold sweat as I remember the smell of soggy hamburgers wafting through the air, or the aftertaste of an impossibly greasy pizza sticking to my mouth. Ah, those were the days. 

I have good news and bad news. Bad news: there is no way to forget the trauma inflicted by the D-Hall salad bar. Yet, the good news is that the abundance of depressing food at the dining hall allows for infinite possibilities. You have not truly taken advantage of the “Grinnell Experience” until you have scrounged the dining hall floor like a desperate sewer rat, putting together unholy combinations of food in the hopes of creating a miracle. Fear not my beloved student, for I will help you with your culinary journey. When you simplify it, D-Hall can be broken down into two categories: food and drink. 

Drink allows for endless chaos. Back in my time, my friend used to down a shot of powerade, milk, and mountain dew, just to feel something. Drinking this concoction daily granted her the uncanny ability to stay awake during her 8:00am Art History class. Combining drinks will allow you to reconnect with your creative side. Milk, soda, even the spice rack can be utilized to create an energizing concoction that will liven your dull spirits. 

The food, on the other hand, is a much more fickle matter. The pizza is treacherous, the salad bar a health hazard, and the vegan section is consistently pathetic. You best rely on the consistent variables such as the bagel station, the salad bar, or the secret vat of soy milk behind the booths. 

My first piece of advice is to experiment with textures. Think of a bagel, smothered with cheese mixed with rice, or a delectable pasta dish enriched with lively raw vegetables and sumptuous quinoa. The goal is to confuse your tastebuds with the heinous texture of incompatible foods so that your brain does not process the pathetic taste. These concoctions lead to my second piece of advice. In order to survive D-Hall , you must be insidiously inventive with your food choices. Every time you sit down to eat, you must choose violence. Think of the worst possible food combinations and feast. This dynamic and aggressive mindset will breathe new life into your body and soul, the powers you gain may enable you to communicate with the vegetarian hotdogs at the Roller Grill. 

Do not fear, my child, for there is still hope, even in the lawless territories of the Honor G Grill. Go forth, and destroy!! You are sure to prosper this way. 

With love,

Binston Swongo