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Got food?

Food. We need it to live. We enjoy eating it.

My mother is a professional chef. Her career life has always revolved around food. Growing up, there was always something good to eat. Our refrigerator was always packed with leftovers from something my mom made. Whether it was something traditional or something she came up with on the spur of the moment, nine times out of 10, it was good.

Throughout high school, I never really touched the school lunch because it never compared to what I could bring from home. Every now and then I grabbed something from the cafeteria, but most of the time, I avoided cafeteria food.

I remember telling my mom that one of the things I would miss from home would be her cooking. She told me not to worry about it and that I would be eating well while at college. Unfortunately, her wishes did not live up to their full potential.

Eating on campus hasn’t been one of the best experiences, but I can’t complain too much. I could always go hungry or live off of microwaveable dinners, but my mini-fridge can only hold so much.

A salad never fails me. Every time I step into Argos or Andros dining halls, I usually find myself making a good salad.

Pizza is always a winner. I am a firm believer that pizza is a staple food of every college student’s diet. If all else fails, grab a slice of pizza. However, you can only eat so much pizza before you gain the “Freshman 15.” I guess that’s where the salad and walking to classes helps out.

I guess my biggest problem with eating on campus is the lack of options for me. I am a vegetarian and have been for almost two years. Back home, my mom had no difficulties adjusting to my dietary needs, even if they differed from everyone else’s in my family. On campus, a salad, a piece of cheese pizza and rice seem to be on the menu for me every day and every night.

I have had the opportunity to try the “veggie burgers,” which were good. The vegetable wraps are OK, but having a vegetable wrap and a salad is overkill. French fries are getting old and I am afraid to try the soup in case there is some sort of animal stock in the broth.

However, when I do ask questions when I go to the dining room, those working are very helpful and answer my questions to the best of their knowledge. I know it must be difficult to cater to everyone’s individual needs when you are dealing with several hungry students.

When I feel like a change from using my meal plan, I have Flex Bucks to spend at Subway or Bené Pizza and Pasta in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center. I try to use my Flex Bucks sparingly, but a girl can’t live off of Argos and Andros food alone.

I guess my mom spoiled me a bit too much with her cooking skills. However, I know that when it’s time to go home to Melbourne, the one thing I won’t miss about my home here in Tampa is the food. Sorry Aramark, but my mom’s food can beat yours any day of the week.

Olivia Hattan is a freshman majoring in mass communications.