About 70% of undergraduate college students have jobs, but when you’re in school full-time you only have so much time to dedicate to work and not much cash is leftover after paying for tuition and books.
Enter every college kid’s food struggle.
We all remember our god-awful starving college student diets, but being inventive in terms of creating cheap and somewhat tasty meals is a crucial skill to master when ballin’ on a student budget. Personally, I enjoy the occasional bowl of Top Ramen, but I can also see how it can become a form of torture if it’s ALL you can afford to eat, day-in and day-out for eight semesters.
Thanks to reddit and the general public’s repulsive college meal disclosures, here are some of the weirdest things college kids have eaten, and some even weirder ways they’ve cooked them. And because most of them were posted from memory, not all culinary works of art have corresponding photos. Enjoy, and don’t try these recipes at home.
BROKE ASS TACOS
I present to you broke college student taco. Crusty end toast, chips, a slice of turkey, bacon, and cheese. via Imgur
A fine gentleman’s sandwich as it looks from first glance. But that’s the full-crust end of the loaf of bread… that’s worse than no bread. Tortilla chips are a nice addition to this student taco, and some might say he’s not a starving college student after all, because what broke 20-something can afford to keep all of a sandwich’s ingredients fully stocked… not to mention cheese? Cheese on a sandwich in college only happens if you hit the lottery. This guy must be loaded!
BOOTLEGGIN’ A FINE PASTA DISH
College student “spam Parmesan.” Egg noodles and thin spaghetti topped with fried spam, a slice of cheese, and then covered in tomato soup. via Imgur
What a 5-star dish description! I’m pretty sure this student means “angel hair” when they say “thin noodles,” but they still get an ‘A’ for effort. This sounds awful when reading it, but I would totally try it.
And again we have some seriously privileged college kids here. Toblerones are one of the most expensive chocolate bars that you can buy at a grocery store! What’s this kid doing eating spam on mix n’ match pasta with tomato soup?!
The “Cheese Taco” with only two ingredients: mayonnaise and cheese. This photo is equivalent to barf. That is all.
POOR MAN’S TUNA CASSEROLE
Make 2-3 cups rice. Mix in one can of tuna and about 1/4 jar of spaghetti sauce. Goop that all up and throw it into a bowl. It was actually pretty awesome and not that unhealthy all around. Tried subbing salsa for the spaghetti sauce once – that was great too.
Tuna fish is a staple in a dorm pantry, it’s versatile and it’s protein. But this is the by far the last food that you should be getting “creative” with. We can call this one the “poor man’s tuna pasta,” sans noodles.
CONDIMENT HAPPY FRAPPE
Used to use half and half and chocolate syrup to make a lazy lady’s chocolate frappe. So tasty, so awful for you. mmmmm
Using leftover condiments has proven to be a common theme among college students and their food strategies, and it’s genius. Condiment packets are free, just take them and make bootleg frappuccinos and meals with them. As far as cost efficiency goes, this wins.
THE WORST EXCUSE FOR TOMATO SOUP EVER
You can make a pretty awesome tomato soup out of ketchup and hot water. Used to eat it back in University before payday when I had exhausted my resources. If you get extra cheap you can go into McDonald’s, ask for a cup of hot water and take some free ketchup. No one will stop you, they’ll just pity you.
Another prime example of why condiment packets are important in life. Ketchup packets are free, and McDonald’s gave this kid free hot water, which yields a meal cost of $0. There are likely zero nutrients in this meal, but college is more about eating something, or rather anything, than eating something good.
COKE ‘N RAMEN WTF
Our campus lounge had vending machines with items like burritos and top ramen, but no faucet. So when we ran out of burritos, I poured Coke into the Top Ramen and microwaved it. It was… not ideal.
I ran into a similar situation. Only other liquid I had in the dorm was vodka. I figured it was clear so at least the mac and cheese LOOKED correct. It did not taste good.
Coke-flavored ramen is a new one, and it sounds horrific. Hot carbonated liquid simply cannot taste good on its own, let alone with salty ramen noodles added. Vodka mac ‘n cheese is a on whole ‘nother level. I’m hoping that whoever’s idea this was, had already consumed the vast majority of that bottle of vodka before coming up with this dish and still, it’s not okay.
TUNA KINDA LEVELED UP
Tuna and corn warmed in a skillet with mayo and sriracha and put on toast. Actually really good when you’re broke and stoned.
Warm tuna, why would you warm tuna? Room temperature tuna was just fine by itself. Was the sautéing of the tuna possibly a mind game to make yourself think that you were actually cooking food instead of just opening a can of tuna, adding mayo and hot sauce, and warming it up? These are questions that need to be answered!
Spaghetti noodles with rotting broccoli someone dumpster dived, with peanut butter and salt mixed into a paste/sauce.
Pity, I feel pity for this fool. If you’re going to dumpster dive for food, at least let it be for something better than broccoli. The poor kid must have been high AND desperate.
HOT DOG EXTRA BASIC
I like to make hot dogs in the toaster oven and eat them with a Kraft single on a slice of Wonder bread.
Toaster ovens are everything. You can warm, bake, AND toast a variety of food items including hot dogs. American cheese tastes like plastic and I still don’t know why a glorious burger joint like In-N-Out uses it, but the resourcefulness used here with the combination of random pantry ingredients is impressive. This student would at least win in an episode of Guy’s Grocery Games.
Ketchup and mustard sandwich after picking mold off bread.
Again, condiment packets save the day! Or ruin it… A ketchup and mustard sandwich on previously moldy bread is a new low. But I’m not judging here, I’m reflecting. When you’re hungry and broke you simply cannot afford to be picky, which is why you’re probably reading this thinking “thank God I graduated.”
IRON-PRESSED GRILLED CHEESE
Grilled Cheese (made on a hot iron)
If you put this grilled cheese in front of me, I would never have been able to tell it was made with an actual iron. The foil is most likely the key to disguising that fact, as it would function as a steamer that would melt the cheese and also toast the bread. This photo makes actually me want a grilled cheese now, and since I don’t have any Campbell’s tomato soup I might just have to boil some hot water and throw a couple of ketchup packets in there, just to say I’ve tried it.
Using a coffee pot as an actual pot — they’re basically the same thing. Another popular item you can cook in said coffee pot is none other than ramen! It does make a great pot substitute, it just looks absolutely ridiculous.
I hope this compilation made you at least grateful that you’re not in college anymore, and if you are, I’m sorry.
Photo Credit:nexdot, therionsayswhat, emmzadie, maddilicious,, joaniesimon.com