Tuesday, December 15, 2009

vegan in college

I am alive! The last month has been ridiculous. Papers, finals, I won’t bore you. If I could get academic credit for cuddling and blogging and eating fried pies (Whiffies. Nom. Come to Portland.) I would have graduated by now. But I made it through the first semester of college alive! I’m surprised it took me a whole semester, but I do believe a vegan college student is required to post about her experience of things. I am lucky enough to go to a college with a really vegan-friendly dining hall (hint: liberal arts colleges on the coasts). The dining hall has different stations and there’s always at least one that has a good vegan option, marked by a big green circle.
There’s a salad bar, fresh fruit, a soymilk dispenser, cereal, and even nutritional yeast for your cheesy B12 delight. It’s so nice never ever having to worry about being provided for. I get asked surprisingly often if I would go to a school that didn’t have vegan options. I can’t imagine going to a school and not even being able to eat – or at least not being able to go to the dining hall with my friends like everyone else. My school has vegan theme day sometimes! Last one was macaroni with cashew cheese, housemade seitan “ribs”, corn salad, berry cobbler, and deliciousness.
Yes, I do love my school. If you’re going or thinking about going to a larger/public/less liberal school, they might not have cashew cheese but you can still survive. Peta2 does a yearly contest for the most vegetarian-friendly college, and while I’m sure it’s not exhaustive, a lot of the winners are state schools, so you never know.

Beyond the dining hall, though, I still eat well. I have been called ‘the hall Mormon’ before because of how much damn food I keep stocked. Sometimes I’m out on weekends and get back after dinner has been served, wake up too late for breakfast, plus I just like to cook and eat. I am on the floor of my dorm that has the biggest kitchen in the building, which is nice. It’s amazing how much stuff you really need to have a fully stocked kitchen…I read recipes and think “Wow, I don’t have a casserole dish or curry powder or aluminum foil or cream of tartar. Um.”

Here’s what I’ve got (bear in mind that this is the end of the semester and my mother has been plying me with care packages, so the ratio of junk to actual nutrients is a little distorted):

Apple sauce, dried cranberries, popcorn, noodle bowls/coconut rice, ramen (naturally), oatmeal, graham crackers, cashew crunch, chips, recently veganized Skittles hiding by the cookies and Dandies marshmallows hiding next to the granola bars.
Earth Balance in the fridge, peanut butter, chickpeas, rice, pasta and baking supplies in the kitchen cupboard. I try to have ingredients for a few simple, satisfying, not horribly unhealthy meals – e.g. rice with a simple peanut sauce, pasta with Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, and garlic, a Boca patty with green beans, peanut butter sandwich, etc. I feel like I’m going to be cooking a LOT during winter break. “You mean we have turmeric? And I didn’t have to pay for it? MULTIPLE SPOONS?!?”
I know I’m in college because last week I ate ice cream with a knife.

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