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Monday, October 18, 2021

Column: Feed me, Seymour

Listen, I’ll tell you a secret.

Food is great. It’s what keeps you and me alive.

In my four years as a college student, I’ve learned what it takes to afford food and survive to see another day. First, it takes discipline, and second, it takes knowing which restaurant or grocery store has the best, most affordable food for your budget. How, might you ask, will we ever know what our options are for affordable food? Well, I’m glad I asked that for you, because I’m going to be telling you your options all quarter long.

Yeah, that’s right. Welcome to my column.

I can sympathize with all of you who can’t go out to eat or buy all the food you want. Times are tough, this I know. For that, I’ll tell you another secret: I’m a poor college student who punishes herself by watching “Top Chef” and “Iron Chef” when she’s hungry.

I can’t tell if I hate myself or if I’m feeding my goal of a more appetizing future. But one day as I sat there watching “Top Chef” season five with my roommates, my stomach growling because I only had a can of beans and tomato soup in the kitchen, I started looking at my life and looking at my food options and I started asking myself, “What are you doing? WHAT WHAT WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” (Sassy Gay Friend, anyone? Whatever, just YouTube it.)

The first thing I did was to look at my money in my bank account. I asked myself how much could I use for food, not how much I want to use. Once I figured out the pathetic amount of money I had left for food, I walked out the door for the most epic food journey of my life, or something like that.

Before I get into my epic food journey though, I should bring up how my food spending habits became so bad.

For my freshman year, I didn’t venture far outside of the campus vicinity because I had everything I needed on campus. I had the Segundo DC (considered the best dining commons out of the three) right outside my dorm window. They serve food four times a day, which includes a “make your own omelet” for breakfast and yummy cookies for late night.

Also in Segundo, I had the Junction, which used to be the Segundo DC until they built the bigger DC in 2005. At the Junction, they sell junk food, drinks and other convenience items that freshmen want to buy.

Located further inside campus are the ASUCD Coffee House and the Silo, located on opposite ends of campus. As a freshman, I would go to the CoHo at the Memorial Union when I wanted pizza, baked goods, a sandwich or a snack for cheap. Even though it is called the Coffee House, students rarely go there for coffee. Instead, I would go to the Silo for coffee. At the Silo, you can also get a smoothie, a deli sandwich or a crepe. The Silo is a tad more expensive than the CoHo, but is better quality food.

When I got sick of being on campus all the time, I would go to the U-Mall or Rite Aid, located on opposite corners of Anderson and Russell, and walking distance from the Segundo and Cuarto dorms. The U-Mall has places like Cost Plus, Starbucks, Subway, The Grad and others that are worthwhile to check out. As a freshman, I was spoiled.

Once I moved off-campus, I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t know which grocery store was cheaper, which Chinese food restaurant had better chow mein or even which Mexican restaurant had a bigger combination platter. It was a food nightmare, unlike when I was nine and had a nightmare that involved mustard. I don’t know why.

But as I faced my food dilemma, I realized I wasn’t alone. Many students leaving the dorms to live off campus are suddenly overcome by many options, including what food to spend money on.

So during these next couple of weeks, I’m going to try to help by writing about what options you have for Chinese food, Mexican food, pizza, frozen yogurt, grocery stores, etc. You’ll be able to read about my epic food adventure, and hopefully try out some new places in the process.

For now, I’ll give you guys some quick pointers. For cheap pasta and grains, go to the North Davis Safeway. For cheap produce, go to Save-Mart. For obscure, cheap goods, there’s the Davis Food Co-op. And lastly, for the love of everything good in this world, go to the Nugget for their awesome sandwiches.

Now get out of here and feed yourselves!

JENNIFER RICHWOOD knows there are other people out there with food nightmares. If you have one, e-mail her at jcrichwood@ucdavis.edu.

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