When I was in college at UC Davis, the dining commons (or the DC, as we called it) was the center of dorm life. Eating, socializing, making plans to … er, study … it all happened at the DC.
And the food was OK. Decent. Well, I do remember one altercation between the food services manager and me regarding some really old, slimy lettuce at the salad bar. At one point I held up the prison-grade lettuce with tongs and asked her, “Would YOU eat this?” The look on her face said no, but I think she responded with a “yes.” However in general, it was passable. You had your salad bar, greasy hot food under infrared lights, breakfast items … even a stir fry station where you picked ingredients and gave them to a cook who would saute it all up with the sauce of your choice.
But living a year without a real kitchen, I sometimes yearned for things that the DC didn’t have. Homemade things. Among those yearnings was the occasional desire for Rice Krispy Treats.
Here’s the thing about rice krispy treats. They need to be homemade. Yes, pre-packaged ones exist. Have you had them? Their corn syrupy hyper-sweetness makes me cringe, and the krispies are mechanically pressed together, squashing out much of the krispiness. In short, the store-bought version is a completely different, much less satisfying beast.
One magical night at the DC, the stars aligned and I had a vision (I have to qualify this story by saying I’m not usually very creative in the kitchen, and had only ever made rice krispy treats on the stovetop). I grabbed a mug and a handful of marshmallows from their home next to the hot chocolate machine. I got some pats of butter from next to the sliced bread, dropped the marshmallows and butter pats in the mug, and threw the mug into the microwave! The marshmallows puffed up and the butter began to melt.
I pulled the mug out of the nuker, pranced over to the cereal bins, and stirred in some Rice Krispies, my mouth watering from the sweet, heavenly scent of butter and marshmallows. Voila! Delicious dorm-made rice krispy treats!
Although this was by no means a groundbreaking discovery, I like remembering that night, because for me it was a small moment of triumph. One other food mod from the college days was to drop a Jolly Rancher into a Zima to make it taste tangy instead of just plain bad. Do you have any creative food recipes from your college days? Share them in the Comments section below!