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March 7, 2013 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Columbia students stuff Nutella in their pants to the tune of $1,000s a week. (SLNYT) Last month one of Columbia’s undergraduate dining halls began serving Nutella every day, not just in crepes on weekends. The problem was that the Columbia students went through jars and jars of Nutella — at least 100 pounds a day. Apparently they were not just eating it in the dining hall. They were spiriting it away in soup containers and other receptacles, to be eaten later.
posted by grobstein (100 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Heh, we used to do this with peanut butter. And crackers. And cereal. Maybe some bread.

It's food we would have eaten anyway, had the dining hall been open during off-hours. And it came out of our tuition. The only one hurt by this large expense is the for-pay, on-campus snack shops.
posted by DU at 7:15 AM on March 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't think I would scoop from a big container into a little one, but I am completely unable to resist pocketing Nutella (or any of the hazelnut/chocolate spread counterparts) when I find it in those cunning little single serve tub things. We were in Istanbul three weeks ago - our hotel had it every morning at breakfast, and I would slip some in my purse so we could have it with a street simit later in the day or with a cracker and a glass of something before bed. I think I actually smuggled some home.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2013


Those darned students with their chocolate-hazelnut-stealing ways! They should be hunted down by drones!

Alternatively, since Americans are so benighted that they do not generally realize the glory that is the hazelnut-chocolate combination, is it any wonder that young people, exposed to this taste treat, might lose their bearings a little. I propose a Freshman Symposium -- Nutella and Ethics: What You Should and Shouldn't Stuff in Your Pants.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


My college used to have a problem with people stealing trays in the winter, and using them as sleds.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:20 AM on March 7, 2013 [29 favorites]


Columbia students stuff Nutella in their pants to the tune of $1,000s a week. (SLNYT) Last month one of Columbia’s undergraduate dining halls began serving Nutella every day, not just in crepes on weekends. The problem was that the Columbia students went through jars and jars of Nutella — at least 100 pounds a day

Except that apparently those numbers were completely made-up:

A spokeswoman declined to comment on the Nutella situation at Columbia. She said that numbers quoted in The Columbia Daily Spectator — and repeated by Mr. Bailinson in a telephone interview on Wednesday — were “speculative and inaccurate” and that the cost figures were “roughly 10 times greater than the actual figures.”

...

“They took the 100 pounds and used it as a hard fact” in doing math on the Facebook page, Mr. Bailinson said. “I quickly commented, ‘More than 100 pounds was a rough guess, I don’t have the hard figures.’ ”
posted by burnmp3s at 7:20 AM on March 7, 2013 [12 favorites]


Awww!
posted by grobstein at 7:24 AM on March 7, 2013


I have stolen a tray and used it as a sled - admittedly, this was in 1993 and it was a different world. The practice was called traying, and it was wonderful - trays make great sleds. College students today probably just take trays to make porn photos on tumblr or something; things have gotten a lot more sophisticated than when I was that age.

I recognize, though, that there is a problem involved in all of this - the people who take the Nutella/bread/silverware generally are not the kind of people who think to themselves, "the system will probably be all right if I take a little extra occasionally but not if I walk off with loaves and loaves/a huge tub of Nutella, so I will be modest"...they tend to be people who think "I had better get mine while it's here" and the whole system ends up getting more heavily policed.

I am, however, astonished by how fancy the college dining experience has gotten. I felt like we had a quite decent cafeteria, and there would have been no way that Nutella would have been available precisely because it's not cheap.
posted by Frowner at 7:25 AM on March 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Nutella makes me shudder. God I hate it. I don't get the love for it. I guess I know how the cilantro people feel.
posted by spicynuts at 7:29 AM on March 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


If any of you fellow Nutella freaks have a Gordon's Food Service store nearby, you can get a two-pack of the 26.5oz (750g) jars for close to the price of a single jar in a supermarket.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:29 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


My college used to have a problem with people stealing trays in the winter, and using them as sleds.

Anything that wasn't bolted down (and some stuff that was) got nicked at my college. All manner of dining room paraphernalia, food (people would walk out of the dining room with whole loaves of bread), stuff from classrooms. Two large lecture halls got outfitted with new projectors which were promptly stolen by someone. College students just like to take stuff.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:29 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like Nutella? Try gianduia.
Homemade Hazlenut-Chocolate Spread: 1, 2
World Nutella Day was last month.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:29 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


I worked at IBM for awhile, and one of the old timers there told me that at the end of August, the cafeteria would take all the salt and pepper shakers off the tables in the cafeteria, because otherwise, the exiting interns who were going back for fall semester stole them all for their dorm rooms.

They took extra pads of paper and boxes of pens out of the generally accessible supply closets in late August early September to keep parents from stealing them for back-to-school.

And you better not have needed scotch tape for anything work-related in December, because come the 1st of December, every year, scotch tape disappeared from supply closets and was replaced with signs saying "scotch tape is on back-order".

Kids stealing, adults stealing, adults stealing for their kids. It all happens everywhere. I think we're a world of secret kleptomaniacs.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:31 AM on March 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


The obvious answer is generic Nutella substitute; I believe I saw that Jiff had come out with a hazelnut flavor. Perhaps it is cheaper.

On-campus dining plans are often mandatory for students living on campus and also expensive and also the food is, well, cafeteria food. With the money I spent on my dining plan I could've bought cheaper and healthier meals, and eaten them when I was actually hungry. As it was, I spent a lot of cash for many meals that consisted of a bowl of Captain Crunch and a Coke, because that was the only thing I found edible that meal period.

That was a while ago, maybe it's better now, but maybe it would just be better to give everyone a food allowance and let them feed themselves. Let kids take responsibility and if they go hungry because they spent it all on booze, well, they'll either learn or they won't.
posted by emjaybee at 7:33 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


If any of you fellow Nutella freaks have a Gordon's Food Service store nearby, you can get a two-pack of the 26.5oz (750g) jars for close to the price of a single jar in a supermarket.

Also available at Costco. Although unlike with other products bought there, the problem with bulk Nutella is that no matter how much you purchase, you will still consume it all in the same time frame.
posted by psoas at 7:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


For the uninitiated, Nutella is a creamier-than-peanut-butter, chocolate hazelnut spread from Italy that a college student might eat a whole jar of in a single sitting when the pressure is on stoned.
posted by dubold at 7:35 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like Nutella? Try gianduia.

I read that as GLANDULA. Um, no thanks.
posted by dubold at 7:36 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Peviously, on MetaFilter.

Those college kids know nothing, NOTHING, about the proper respect for, and worship of, Nutella.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:37 AM on March 7, 2013


Two slices of bread. One side, nutella, the other peanut butter. Slap them together and put them in the toaster.

GO DO THIS NOW
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:38 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]



Nutella is my regular go to dessert. Sometimes I want just a little bit of sweet after dinner.

A couple of spoonfuls of nutella does the trick, though sometimes it durn hard to stop.
posted by Jalliah at 7:38 AM on March 7, 2013


//I am, however, astonished by how fancy the college dining experience has gotten.//

My son is a freshman at a small public school. They have a central food court, where he can pick what he wants to eat each day. Italian, Vegetarian, Mexican, Burgers, Pizza, whatever. It's 1000% better than the high school style cafeteria in each dorm that we had back in the day.
posted by COD at 7:43 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


We'd bring a bottle or two of somethin' somethin' (Bourbon or Vodka etc) and the neverending juices and sodas, made for all sorts of mixology and a good time for at least one whole section of the cafeteria at least...

But that level of Nutella craziness is...just...um..really?

Should I've smoked more pot in college to understand this?? Is Ben & Jerry's cookie dough ice cream, no longer good enough???
posted by Skygazer at 7:43 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two slices of bread. One side, nutella, the other peanut butter. Slap them together and put them in the toaster.

That seems like it would be bad for my toaster.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:44 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Two slices of bread. One side, nutella, the other peanut butter. Slap them together and put them in the toaster.

Wow, this combines two things I don't like into something I don't understand.
posted by eugenen at 7:45 AM on March 7, 2013


I once bought Nutella, which my roommate had never tried. I never ended up eating any (I prefer the flavours together in other forms, like ice cream or cake), and one day she admitted she had eaten all of mine, but had just replaced it with a bigger jar. Shortly after she finished that whole jar as well.
posted by jeather at 7:49 AM on March 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: "My college used to have a problem with people stealing trays in the winter, and using them as sleds."

You have a strange definition of "problem."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:50 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know - my college dining experience was actually pretty healthy, and the food court that we have here at the Large Land Grant Institution is just jumped up fast food, basically - pizza or bagels and cream cheese or fancy-yet-very-caloric mexican food for every meal is just way more fat and salt and calories than a pretty ordinary plate of, like, the Sunday red-beans-and-rice or the pretty ordinary sandwich bar and salad choices we had. I don't know what I'd do if I were a college kid who had to choose every day among really enticing good-quality-junk-food options.

I add that I never actually buy Nutella except as a very occasional treat, because please - a sandwich spread with Nutella and peanut butter? That's, like, 400 calories of sandwich filling alone, plus the bread. And it's not even like regular peanut butter where there are some nutrients involved and it's fairly versatile. If I had access to unlimited Nutella at college, the freshman 15 would have been, like, the freshman 40.
posted by Frowner at 7:53 AM on March 7, 2013


Two slices of bread. One side, nutella, the other peanut butter. Slap them together and put them in the toaster.

Wow, this combines two things I don't like into something I don't understand.


Slaps and toasters?


In college, we had an off-campus dwelling friend who had a monthly routine:
Step 1: Beg a Guest Meal from an on campus associate.
Step 2: Don The Jacket, a custom altered trenchcoat with a zillion pockets sewed inside. It even had a tube and funnel in a sleeve for stealing liquids.
Step 3: Rob the food hall blind. Fruit punch went into a jug via the sleeve. Boxes of cereal would have the bags pulled out and stashed away. Fruit would go into some sort of hidden bandolier setup. Anything that could keep in the fridge went into freezerbags or tupperware. Condiments went into the pockets, preferably unopened.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:55 AM on March 7, 2013 [11 favorites]


I had a meal plan that, for whatever reason, did not limit the size of your portions just the ratio of said portions ( self serve hot buffet style).

Thus, all my friends without meal plans knew to hit me up at lunch for wobbly piles of French fries and sweet and sour chicken.
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on March 7, 2013


Man, kids these days don't know how good they have it. When I was in college Nutella was still pretty rare, at least in my region; I don't even remember how I learned of its existence, but on more than one occasion a bunch of us would pile into somebody's car for a pilgrimage to the Tops International market like half an hour away just to buy a jar of the stuff.
posted by usonian at 8:00 AM on March 7, 2013


Aw! My college's dining hall used to have super delicious burritos occasionally, so I would smuggle 'em out in a trenchcoat with deep pockets.

Each burrito would be wrapped in aluminum foil, big and warm and soft, so that it felt like the inside of my coat was rife with hibernating guinea pigs.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:02 AM on March 7, 2013 [49 favorites]


I recognize, though, that there is a problem involved in all of this - the people who take the Nutella/bread/silverware generally are not the kind of people who think to themselves, "the system will probably be all right if I take a little extra occasionally but not if I walk off with loaves and loaves/a huge tub of Nutella, so I will be modest"...they tend to be people who think "I had better get mine while it's here" and the whole system ends up getting more heavily policed.

Not to mention they're going to pay for it anyways one way or another.

This to me is a little like people who make different decisions because insurance will cover it - so doctors that will prescribe brand and not generic, or people who want massages but have no medical reason to do so other than it's covered by their health plan (I suspect this luxury is more Canadian than American) as if the university or the insurance company are just going to eat the expense. They pass it back on to the students in the form of cost increases to food plans and in insurance by way of premium increases. So, congrats, the collective student body is going to pay for all that Nutella, so unless you're in fourth year, this is a short-term gain, long-term pain kind of deal.

The saying is you get what you pay for, but the alternate is true - you pay for what you get. Stealing shit from university doesn't come out of some rich person's pocket - it comes out of the student body's time and time again, and while it isn't the most inflationary cost being passed on, it's one of a small number that the students themselves can control.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:04 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Count me in as another "cafeteria tray sledder." Stole / borrowed mine back in 1997. It's in my basement to be passed down to my son as soon as he's old enough.
posted by stltony at 8:04 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


My mother said that in college back in the 60's trays were used for sledding, or in a pinch, lids from garbage cans. I wonder how long students have been doing this - probably since teh first college cafeteria?

I am so, so glad my college dining hall did not have nutella. I would have gorged.
posted by pointystick at 8:07 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe someone can clue me in here, but how can this even be a problem?
Can't they just put out a limited number of jars out every day? Say, 50 a day?
And once those are gone it's tough luck, you're back to peanut butter Mister, should have gotten here earlier.

I mean, I can see how you can't operate a dining hall without silverware, cups and plates or trays, but Nutella?
posted by sour cream at 8:09 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


student cafeterias are a bastion of waste, offset by the ridiculous cost. I don't know how things are done in schools that I haven't attended, but I think that the cafeterias in my schools basically allowed students to get the nutrition they needed while not having to learn about food budgets, cooking and kitchen techniques, all in order to allow them to have "the dorm experience." It is indeed one hell of an experience, but I really think people could have the same experience if it were more of an ala carte rather than buffet. Better still would be giving the students adult responsibility for taking care of their adult lives now that they are adults, instead of shoving it down the line for a few more years.
posted by rebent at 8:09 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


The saying is you get what you pay for, but the alternate is true - you pay for what you get.

I think the perception for the people that steal this stuff is that they really do believe they've already paid for it so they deserve to have it. They justify it in their minds by thinking that the prices in the dining hall are high, or they already paid so much tuition, or whatever.

The thing is, though, that the thieves themselves pay for very little of it. Because as much as it might seem like 'everybody does it', everybody doesn't do it. If only half the student body steals shit, then they're basically getting half off, because even if they eventually have to pay higher costs, so does the half of the student body that isn't stealing shit.

Which is the cycle that leads back to my first point -- they feel like they've already paid for it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:10 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


My college used to have a problem with people stealing trays in the winter, and using them as sleds.

My northeastern Ohio alma mater solved this problem by having the foresight to cover the entire area with glaciers roughly 20,000 years prior to my attending, thus ensuring that there would be no suitable hills for sledding.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:11 AM on March 7, 2013 [12 favorites]


I predict that the novelty of this trend will quickly wear off to more reasonable Nutella-consumption ratios. Mini-fridges and dorm room shelves can only handle so many cardboard or styrofoam tupperware containers before getting gross.

(but also yum +1 nutella)
posted by likeatoaster at 8:15 AM on March 7, 2013


Once there was a tornado or fire alarm in undergraduate during dinner.

My roommate and I dined on pilfered cheesecake for a week.
posted by dismas at 8:23 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Strange Interlude, I was at Kenyon. Maybe it's an Ohio thing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:24 AM on March 7, 2013


And Jeff Desroches, a junior, said he had made off with Nutella — enough to last all day — when he was stressed out before final exams.

“Usually,” he said, “people apply peanut butter on one slice of the bread and Nutella on the other slice, but I apply thick layers of Nutella to both slices of the bread.”

posted by shivohum at 8:25 AM on March 7, 2013


Pants may contain nuts.
posted by Segundus at 8:26 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


(We swiped trays for sleds in New England, too.)
posted by likeatoaster at 8:27 AM on March 7, 2013


I have a duo of friends that were a few years older than me in school, they were roommates. One of the girls got engaged part-way through her senior year, and from the day of the engagement on, the other roommmate took a single piece of dining wear from the cafeteria. One day a single fork, the next a single glass. A salad bowl. A bread plate. By the bridal shower, she'd amassed an entire set of dishes for eight. She wrapped them individually and gave them as a gag gift. It's been decades since we graduated, but her kids still use them as a playset.

We have a cafeteria on site where I work, and a few years ago the accounting group was seen sledding on trays down the hillside. Most of us were jealous but the EHS group put a stop to it as "dangerous and potentially liable." The accounting director is still my hero.
posted by librarianamy at 8:28 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tray sledding at the Midwestern university I went to didn't involve real snow hills, it was all done on outdoor concrete ramps and stairways around the dorms. Sometimes students actually brought buckets of water out to properly ice up the surface beforehand.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:29 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


My college roommate boldly absconded with a five gallon ice cream tub from the dining hall, in broad daylight, without remorse or shame. Granted, it was almost empty, but I was embarrassed enough not to walk back to the dorm with him.
posted by exogenous at 8:30 AM on March 7, 2013


My first semester at college I had a meal plan. I got to the end of the semester and had about $75 left, which I was told I had to use or lose. So I went to the cafeteria and bought seventy bucks worth of Ben'n'Jerry's ice cream.

It was rad.
posted by Doleful Creature at 8:31 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two slices of bread. One side, nutella, the other peanut butter. Slap them together and put them in the toaster.

You forgot to mention the banana.
posted by davejay at 8:31 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


My college went from having (when I was there) real staff who got paid meaningful wages and benefits and who were employees of the college (and therefore, whose kids got the employee tuition break) to being an outsourced service (shortly after I left). The outsourced service was more deluxe, or so I hear - pizza available at every non-breakfast meal, fancier desserts - but the wages were shitty, the benefits were shitty and the cafeteria workers lost the tuition break. And this at a nominally "social justice oriented" school.

When I was there, as I said above, we had ordinary food with a regional tinge - this was the midwest, so we had "bars" for dessert a lot, for example, and those bars were made on the premises using normal recipes such as one might have at home. We had beans a lot. We sometimes had some terrible food - for the first couple of years, they really could not seem to steam broccoli so that it wasn't just a grey-green mush - and yet, I ate all kinds of vegetables that I never ate at home.

This whole "ooh, college food service is so wasteful" business really boils down to "I want people to be paid shit wages to serve me fancier food, because I don't understand that although my mom cooked special dishes for me for free, other people should not have to".

I think a lot of people don't really understand that paying people a living wage - which has all kinds of positive ripple effects in the community - is sometimes incompatible with the luxury-spa-hotel experience that has become the ideal at colleges. (Which I just don't understand - my college was not a hotbed of luxury, and yet I had a ton of fun just with very ordinary facilities - the pool was ordinary, but I liked swimming in it; I sledded and biked a lot; the dorm I lived in for three years was a little old-fashioned but clean and well kept-up. I mean, in many ways it was a very good time and I'm not sure that it would have been better with a lot of mere material luxury.)
posted by Frowner at 8:33 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


We keep jars of Nutella at the research station I work at in the rain forest. Nutella is a perfect rain forest treat because jars seal, so ants and roaches can't get in and nibble on (or drown in) my snack. It's already practically a liquid, so it won't melt like chocolate or get stale and mushy in the humidity like crackers or cookies/biscuits. Nutella on mushy cookies after getting back from a day of hard work is amazing, especially compared to the regular diet of rice, sardines, and other starches. I've been considering seeking sponsorship from Nutella for my dissertation research - it's pretty integral to my ability to function in the field.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [22 favorites]


Alpha Centauri reference. Nice.
posted by Strass at 8:35 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I enjoy Nutella, but it's no Biscoff.

And when I was in college, we would stash our contraband food inside hollowed out loaves of bread. Eat the loaf-leavings, hide the loaf under your coat, and you're off.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:48 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


My northeastern Ohio alma mater

If Bowling Green is in northeastern Ohio, then western Ohio must be really, really small.
posted by rodii at 8:53 AM on March 7, 2013


Biscoff! Yes! I just had some. Obesity in a jar,
posted by rodii at 8:55 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Nutella really so uncommon in the US that it needs to be explained? It's not as overwhelmingly popular in the UK as it is in France (for example) but you can pick it up at any supermarket or convenience store here. It's as prevalent as Marmite (don't confuse the two). I never lived in catered halls, mind (catered halls at my university tended to be filled with those who went to private schools, maybe because of the cost, maybe because they were a similar world to boarding school) so who knows if they serve it for breakfast at universities here.

I bought a dark chocolate version from a Belgian supermarket, something D'or...made by a Kraft company but not available here. Oh my, it was good.
posted by mippy at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2013


Metafilter: combines two things I don't like into something I don't understand.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:09 AM on March 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Datapoint, my college had signs up explaining what Nutella was when it appeared in the cafeteria.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on March 7, 2013


WAIT WAIT WAIT HOLD UP WE'RE MISSING SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT HERE.

Did someone say "nutella pants"? I'm pretty sure I heard someone say "nutella pants".
posted by loquacious at 9:22 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Nutella really so uncommon in the US that it needs to be explained?

Around ten years ago, it was kind of hard to find. Nowadays it's in most supermarkets, and they have little one serving tubs of Nutella with cracker sticks at 7-11s and stuff. But ten or so years ago in southern California, I'm pretty sure I could only find Nutella at ethnic groceries. And most people hadn't really heard of it either. Maybe it was easier to find if you knew where to look, but back then I was still getting my jars of Nutella from visiting German relatives.
posted by yasaman at 9:27 AM on March 7, 2013


Nowadays it's in most supermarkets, and they have little one serving tubs of Nutella with cracker sticks at 7-11s and stuff.

Some of the markets even have store brand knockoffs of Nutella now. Kroger definitely does, and I think Meijer (a local chain here in the east-midwest) does too.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:31 AM on March 7, 2013


jacquilynneKids stealing, adults stealing, adults stealing for their kids. It all happens everywhere. I think we're a world of secret kleptomaniacs.

I do it for the thrill, like Dave Chappelle
posted by surplus at 9:38 AM on March 7, 2013


We were served frog legs at our dining hall once. Institutionally prepared frog legs for several hundred people. They were awful. After dinner, a friend of mine forked a pair of legs and a napkin to the entrance-way corkboard and drew a little body and head above the legs. Above the head, the word balloon screamed "DON'T EAT ME!"
posted by octobersurprise at 9:43 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Would you download a Nutella?"
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:44 AM on March 7, 2013


Nutella makes me shudder. God I hate it. I don't get the love for it. I guess I know how the cilantro people feel.

Flagged as offensive/sexist/racism.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK, TAKE THAT BACK RIGHT NOW.
posted by xqwzts at 9:58 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was a member of a campus youth group my freshman year, and was once slated to write a skit for the group. We settled on a fake infomercial that somehow involved a loaf of bread representing evil (we were to write "EVIL" on the bread to illustrate the metaphor).

Being carless, the cafeteria was my only food source, and thus I furtively stuffed half a loaf of white bread into the pockets of my cargo shorts. When I proudly returned with the bounty, I was faced by my writing partner holding a loaf of legally purchased bread, with a look that said "did you just break a commandment for this?" We used his bread, which had the dual advantage of neither being stolen nor smashed in a pocket.

Later he said "I bet that bread already had 'evil' written on it."
posted by Turkey Glue at 10:02 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bought a dark chocolate version from a Belgian supermarket, something D'or...made by a Kraft company but not available here. Oh my, it was good.
That's Cote D'Or, a brand of chocolate here, and yea, their version of Nutella is amazing, even without hazelnuts.
posted by Karmeliet at 10:02 AM on March 7, 2013


Sadly, not all Nutella is made the same. I searched in vain for a page I had found last year that showed the differences in Nutella ingredients by country but couldn't find it. That last link seems to indicate that this list used to be on the Wikipedia page which seems right to my recollection. But, it's not there now! Conspiracy!

I think Nutella isn't as popular in the U.S. as other places because it doesn't taste as good. I loved Nutella when I first had it in Europe as a kid. Was disappointed when I found it in the U.S. during post-college years and then loved it again when I was in Italy a few years back. Here? Not so much. It's a pity that whenever Europe sends stuff to America, they figure they can throw a bunch of cheap ingredients in and no one will notice. And, usually, that's true.

But, compared to the other crap on the shelves, Nutella shines!
posted by amanda at 10:12 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


a fake infomercial that somehow involved a loaf of bread representing evil (we were to write "EVIL" on the bread to illustrate the metaphor).

I want to see this SO BAD
posted by Greg Nog at 10:23 AM on March 7, 2013


My former boss had an au pair from Norway who had never had Nutella before she got to his family's house.
He noticed that she liked them and bought more because the jars would empty quickly.
After 3 months of this steady 1 jar/week Nutella habit, she complained that his "American driers" had shrunk all her clothes because somehow they were all too small now.
When she tried to make him pay for a replacement wardrobe, he stopped buying Nutella.
posted by rmless at 10:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


If Bowling Green is in northeastern Ohio, then western Ohio must be really, really small.

Glarg, this is what happens when I MeFi on the sly at work. I should have just left it at "northern Ohio" and given the east-west differentiating part of my brain the day off.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:50 AM on March 7, 2013


"Well, they're stealing the back end of my youth from me - may as well steal a spoon from them."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:56 AM on March 7, 2013


Back in the mid-'80s in a far-off land called McMinnville, Oregon, there was a small private school dining hall. There was no Nutella. The most exotic food we had all year was the annual luau (due to the small but very boisterous group of Hawaiian students).

It seems like the dark ages now, if you think about the circumstances. Everybody sitting in one dining hall, having to interact with each other. No TVs, no laptop computers, no mobile phones, no electronics smaller than a Walkman. We stole enough things such as forks and plates and cups, and you could even get a take-away meal if somebody was sick. It being the Willamette Valley, there was no snow worth considering for a tray slide.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:12 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bah. As an alumnus of this institution, I will say that these kids are amateurs. I can't believe they're still eating at the Columbia dining hall! Everyone knows that if you want good dining hall food, you gotta go over to Barnard.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:29 AM on March 7, 2013


Two slices of bread. One side, nutella, the other peanut butter. Slap them together and put them in the toaster.

Next time, try Trader Joe's Cookie Butter instead of peanut butter. Man oh man, that's good eatin'.

(I usually toast the bread before adding condiments, but to each their own....)
posted by slothdog at 11:42 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


One time in the college cafeteria I made a peanut butter sandwich with an inch of peanut butter. It was odd for it to take a discernible period of time to bite through the sandwich. And I needed a lot of milk.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:43 AM on March 7, 2013


My university dining hall, other than looking like something out of Harry Potter, was notorious for the extremity in the quality of the food it produced. There were some great meals we always looked forward to like fajitas night or the annual steak night with it's no seconds policy and resulting mad scramble to find a vegetarian willing to get a steak so you could have two. And then there was the weekly baked hake, the most dreaded of all dinners. It all came to a head when they ran out of fajitas filling and thought they could pull a fast one on us by replacing it with chicken pot pie filling. You'd think we might notice when the strips of chicken, peppers and onions suddenly transformed into cubes of chicken, carrots and peas?

I was never much of a dining hall klepto, and now look back in regret that I don't have at least one set of dinnerware with my school crest on it.

There was a some on-campus construction while I was there that led to, with a little fence hopping, full access to the phys plant tunnels underneath the campus. And from there late night access to the kitchens. The garbage bag full of bagels wasn't much of a score, but we feasted on rhubarb pies that night.
posted by thecjm at 12:04 PM on March 7, 2013


In our dining hall you were allowed to take "one piece of hand fruit" or an ice cream cone out of the dining hall. I still put "hand fruit" on the shopping list sometimes because it amuses me, plus it's shorter than "apples or oranges or bananas or pears." But we were also allowed, even expected, to bring backpacks into the dining halls. It's college -- everyone has a bag full of books. Or, a bag full of empty tupperware to fill up and take home.

Being a guilt-ridden ex-Catholic, the most I ever did was take two pieces of hand fruit after one meal. Or bring enough homework with me to get both lunch and dinner for the price of one meal, because they only charged when you first entered the all-you-can-eat serving/seating area. Five straight hours of studying would fill up my internal good-kid-o-meter enough that the free meal didn't put me in the moral red zone.
posted by vytae at 12:21 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Self-serve nutella? Lucky ducks.

My state university thought the best way to tackle 'pilfering' was by making the food as utterly horrible as possible. They offered overcooked, industrial meat, overcooked, industrial cheesy stuff, and one token overcooked, industrial vegetable offering for vegans which was always completely without flavor. And somehow, they would try to squeeze broccoli into every dish they could get away with. I normally like broccoli, but this stuff was vile.

You could get slightly better (but still terrible) food at the student union, but it wasn't all-you-can-eat and the servings were wretchedly small. I can still vividly remember the feeling of biting down on bone chunks in their overpriced hamburgers. You were allowed one "piece of fruit", which in terms of what a human normally needs is nothing.

It was incredibly depressing, and I ended up causing my friends some concern when they saw me subsisting on nothing but bagels because the rest of the food was so horrible.

The university had no concept of good food being important for morale, for students' well-being, or for overall grades. It was like they had found it cheaper to attract unsuspecting freshmen, soak them for a years' tuition, and then drive them off instead of paying for faculty for advanced classes.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:31 PM on March 7, 2013


Oh yes, and one friend successfully argued that he could take a Halloween-time decorative pumpkin as his "piece of fruit".

He brought it over to a friends' house and made pie.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:33 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is obviously a viral advertisement.
posted by bad grammar at 12:42 PM on March 7, 2013


PEPSI BROWN
posted by Chrysostom at 12:47 PM on March 7, 2013


Purdue university Terry Courts dining hall 1985, all you could eat and the food was very good. All of the cooks were over 60 and like extra Grandma's to me. I gained 30 pounds the first month. I stole two trays so that i could "ski" down the hill, but I think I did return them un-broken. My wife is hooked on the Nutella, I can't stand it.
posted by Hoosier Prospector at 12:50 PM on March 7, 2013


Another fun dining hall moment was being served fried chicken on Martin Luther King Day.
posted by Turkey Glue at 1:10 PM on March 7, 2013


Another fun dining hall moment was being served fried chicken on Martin Luther King Day.

Fried chicken, collard greens, corn-on-the-cob, cornbread and sweet tea.

Not that we minded too much (better than the food-as-fuel, don't-bother-tasting-it approach they usually took), but we all looked askance at the food service people after that.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:20 PM on March 7, 2013


When I was in college you couldn't get Nutella in the States and no one knew what it was, except me because I had gone to high school in the Netherlands. How I missed it! Then I discovered the Italian exchange students were getting it in care packages from home. I spent a lot of time with them after that.

(Also, our cafeteria served steaks and baked potatoes every Saturday night, and they were actually good quality steaks and well-prepared. You had to reserve them by Thursday, though, or else you were served the regular crap.)
posted by trip and a half at 1:34 PM on March 7, 2013


Purdue university Terry Courts dining hall 1985...

In 1985 I lived in Harrison Hall, and worked in the kitchen there. I regularly ate with friends at both Terry and Fowler as the food was prepared so much better than at Harrison.
posted by COD at 1:38 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I read the headline my initial reaction was that someone had figured out how to monetize student fads.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:42 PM on March 7, 2013


The Columbia meal plan was such a rip-off when I was there almost thirty years ago. For the price you paid for a semester's worth of lukewarm slop slapped on a tray by sullen and resentful cafeteria workers you could eat like a king in the Upper West Side's plethora of affordable dining options: that Cuban place on Broadway and 104th St, Rainbow Chicken, the Mill Luncheonette, Tom's Diner, Amir's Falafel, that two-story Greek place that was always busy as fuck because their gyros were HUGE and like $3.50.... Heck, even the Burger King way down Broadway had 99-cent Whoppers every Sunday after 2 PM....

But that's beside the point. These kids get Nutella? WE WERE LUCKY TO HAVE OFF-BRAND CORNFLAKES, AND WE WERE THANKFUL FOR IT.

(Protip to Columbia undergrads: your meal card works in the Barnard dining hall, too. Sooooo much better than the food in John Jay...)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:36 PM on March 7, 2013


It's been at least a decade since I thought about the 'pus burgers' at the Place Vanier cafeteria at UBC, and 25 years since I tasted one. I loved those things, even if (as you might guess from the nickname) they weren't all that popular.

Good times.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:42 PM on March 7, 2013


This is why we can't have niceut things.
posted by blueberry at 5:58 PM on March 7, 2013


Some of the markets even have store brand knockoffs of Nutella now. Kroger definitely does, and I think Meijer (a local chain here in the east-midwest) does too.

Trader Joe's has its own store brand and even it has Palm Oil in it. So disappointed! Made my own today from one of the recipes posted above, and so far, although it hasn't had time to set up yet, it seems promising.
posted by jvilter at 6:34 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nutella Pants (NSFW)
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:38 PM on March 7, 2013


I think Nutella isn't as popular in the U.S. as other places because it doesn't taste as good. I loved Nutella when I first had it in Europe as a kid. Was disappointed when I found it in the U.S. during post-college years and then loved it again when I was in Italy a few years back. Here? Not so much. It's a pity that whenever Europe sends stuff to America, they figure they can throw a bunch of cheap ingredients in and no one will notice. And, usually, that's true.

AH HA!! Now I know why I loved Nutella when we were overseas, but don't like it now.

Those dirty ratbags!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:23 PM on March 7, 2013


A classic case of 'if you give a mouse a cookie', I suppose. I shouldn't be surprised since I was once a poor Nutella-loving young adult, too, but I was.
posted by nuala at 9:22 PM on March 7, 2013


Uh, this probably belongs in ask.me, but are opened jars of Nutella supposed to be kept in the fridge or are they shelf-stable? You know, asking for a friend.

Wow, my private liberal arts college mandatory dorm+meal plan cafeteria was run by Mariott as an ad libitum buffet. Didn't matter if you were a 85 pound Japanese foreign student or a football scholarship boy, you paid the same for it. Starting my 2nd year, they had three or four "chef" type people doing to-order custom pastas or stirfries and whatnot on a gas grill wok thingy. And We Still Complained about it.

I still have a dozen plastic drinking cups from college, in regular use. The industrial ceramics I got rid of years ago, but I think I have a couple of spoons left from that era.

And now that the memories have started flooding back, I need to find myself an industrial quesadilla press with a decade of burnt butter carelessly but continuously worn into it.
posted by porpoise at 10:01 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I was a poor student we didn't 'ave no Nutella.
But there was vegemite, honey and jams.
I used to swipe the vegemite.
It's still good after all these years.
posted by Mezentian at 2:03 AM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a pity that whenever Europe sends stuff to America, they figure they can throw a bunch of cheap ingredients in and no one will notice.

Is that Europe's fault or the FDA? Coke over here does not contain HFCS, for example.

I know Hershey's has paraffin in it to regulate the consistency across the varied temperatures you get in the US - so it won't melt in Alabama and won't go strange and white in Minnesota. Whether that's what causes it to taste like sour milk to the British palate, I don't know.

Also: I'm sure the last jar of Nutella I bought (which I did not eat mostly with my finger, oh no) told you to keep it out of the fridge.
posted by mippy at 4:31 AM on March 8, 2013


DO NOT PUT NUTELLA IN THE FRIDGE. Learn from my mistakes. Nutella gets absolutely disgusting in the fridge, and becomes kind of impossible to spread on toast or whatever.

Nutella is very shelf stable, I've never seen it go bad as in getting mold or something. However, when I recovered an old jar from the unseen depths of a kitchen cupboard and did a taste test, it was gross and dry and tasted like plastic. So, y'know, that best by date does mean something.
posted by yasaman at 7:53 AM on March 8, 2013


I hadn't thought of the phrase "chicken puck" in at least fifteen years. Thanks.
posted by bendy at 1:22 PM on March 8, 2013


The only college cafeteria story I have is the time my friends and I read an article in the student paper explaining that a ventilation fan in one of the cattle bars had crapped out and a lot of research cattle died.

It could have just been a coincidence, but we were EXTREMELY suspicious at the uptick of beef-containing items on the menu over the next few weeks.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:35 PM on March 8, 2013


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