Food Policy Opinion Video

NYU’s Quarantine Meal Debacle Is A Wake-Up Call For Colleges Everywhere

As students have been returning to college to start the new school year, some have had to quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At New York University, students that quarantined in the dorms got meals, but their quality was so poor that videos of them went viral all over TikTok.


I can’t make this up ##nyu ##vegan ##quarantine ##fyp

♬ Kouen – Lo-Fi Beats

For the first few days, the NYU quarantine meals program was a mess. Vegans and vegetarians received animal and dairy products, some students had missing meals, others didn’t get them delivered until late in the day… it was chaotic, to say the least.


we literally had to drink our own pee last night ##NYU ##nyumeal ##nyutok ##quarantine ##college ##helpus ##fyp ##survivaltok

♬ original sound – cheezitbabey

After making it onto the news for their low-quality meals, NYU apologized, and pledged to do better. For the most part, they’ve lived up to that, as they’ve added more employees to help prepare and send out meals, and even sent out cases of water and snack boxes to help students get adequate nutrition.


Chicken caesar salad but the chicken caesar salad is silent😌😌😌##nyutiktok ##nyu ##fyp ##expensive ##flex

♬ original sound – drydoodooflakes

It didn’t resolve all of the issues, however, so NYU eventually gave students $30 of delivery credit per day as a way to get dinner for the remainder of the quarantine period. They continued to serve breakfast and lunch throughout that time frame.

Considering that NYU students pay over $38,000 per semester for tuition, housing, and other expenses, the quality of the meals they were getting is shocking. It’s also bringing the value of expensive college fees into question, especially during a pandemic.

If expensive schools are serving low-quality meals, limited access to amenities paid for through tuition costs, and transitioning to online learning, then what are students really paying for? A place to stay to take online classes?

The cost of an online course is about $1,200-$1,300, and monthly, one would spent about $350 in food and $1,000 in rent per person in a 2-bedroom apartment. This means that one could go take 4 online classes at home, in a semester-long timeline, and pay under $10,000 to do so.

It’s understandable that the pandemic has changed how everything operates, including college. Given how much money students are paying schools, however, NYU should serve as a case study of what not to do to ensure student nutrition during a pandemic.

To learn more about the full debacle, check out the entire Foodbeast video on the NYU quarantine meals at the top of this story.

#foodbeast Culture Fast Food FOODBEAST

12 Taco Bell Graduation Caps That Will Have You Heading To The Drive-Thru

As seniors say one last goodbye to their alma matters, one thing they’ll never have to part with is the companionship of Taco Bell. Those late nights of studying may often seem brutal at times, but pulling up to that neon purple bell to order bags of tacos buried under a mountain of hot sauce packets can often remind students that there’s a delicious light at the end of the tunnel.

Because it’s graduation season, Taco Bell asked graduates to share their grad caps on Twitter to see who really loved the fast food chain enough to immortalize the brand in their graduation ceremony. Many creative souls shared their experiences through social media.

We spoke to one of these grads, Justin Chow, to see why he chose to represent the Bell.

“I love Taco Bell because they’re fearless,” Chow tells FOODBEAST.

Chow, the guy how created an entire Taco Bell-themed suit explained:

“I wore the suit because I had to pay respect to the food chain that helped me get through school. I’ve loved Taco Bell since I was in middle school. When we were given allowance, my classmates and I needed to stretch it for the week so we would always order Cinnamon Twists or share a Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell’s value menu.”

Photo: Justin Chow

“I’ve seen people take graduation or prom pictures at Taco Bell for social media and I know they’re just doing it for the likes because their photos lack the love,” Chow explained. “It was almost offensive to me because this restaurant is a major part of my childhood. So if I was going to flex for Taco Bell I had to make sure I did it proper.”

We’ve heard the story behind Justin’s suit, now check out these other 11 hilarious and amazing creations from kids around the country.

Before you take a look at the photos below, let me really set the tone for the rest of this read. You know what I’m talking about:











Hacks Hit-Or-Miss Humor

Here Are Some Of The Weird Things Starving College Kids Eat And Rarely Enjoy

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.




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!




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.



Tuna salad in bowl

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.



coffee cream

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.




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.




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 cans

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.




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.”




 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, therionsayswhatemmzadie, maddilicious,@gillchahda421,

Hit-Or-Miss Tastemade/Snapchat

The 10 Best College Dining Halls In The US

In addition to cliches about discovering yourself and broadening your horizons, most of what you learn in college will center around what does or doesn’t qualify as a pizza topping. Many top-tier universities in the U.S. have begun drawing students in with the sweet aromas of build-your-own burger bars and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. This list highlights the creme-de-le-creme of reasons to cut French class and expand your waistline instead of your mind. It’s not too late to apply.

1. Bowdain

Your Bowdain College culinary adventure begins with a lobster bake at orientation, offers easy access to organic fruits and veggies from the campus garden center on a daily basis, and culminates with korean barbecue tacos. The first thing you’ll learn is what “freshman fifteen” means.

2. Roger Williams University

How about a little surf and turf at this Rhode Island liberal arts college? Not good enough for you? Maybe you’d prefer a turkey carving station for a Thanksgiving feast, complete with all the trimmings and trappings just like your Grammy makes it? Still not impressed? How’s about three types of chocolate fountains (white, dark and milk) on Valentine’s Day? BOOM!

3. Virginia Tech

Get as technical as you want with Virginia Tech’s build-your-own burger restaurant, featuring top choice cuts from the institution’s Meat Sciences Department (best science=best department). The dining hall will also cut you off a slice of ribeye any old day of the week. But this Old Dominion institution doesn’t stop there, with fresh lobster and wood-fired pizza on the menu as well. Maybe there’s some vegetables in there too, but who cares?

4. Washington University

The St. Louisan student body enjoys the late night dining options at WashU, which feature chicken and waffles as well as chicken fingers and fries until 2 AM. But it’s not all battered chicken: other options include Parmesan cream potato gnocchi, ahi tuna rolls, and braised pork cheeks with cinnamon candied apples. Also, there’s a Dr. Seuss themed night, so I hope you like Green Eggs and Ham.

5. Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins produces Nobel laureates almost as fast McDonald’s makes french fries, but unlike McDonald’s it also provides swanky college dining experiences that probably won’t make you vomit. There’s no snootier complement for the live jazz music than the baked brie, bananas foster, and shrimp cocktails that they typically serve at this meal—which is more impressive than the average American’s life.


6. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sure, many of the schools mentioned above go out of their way to import exotic foods and broaden students’ cultural horizons, but UMass Amherst throws in a live DJ set to kick it up a notch. Brazilian churrascaria with a side of Skrillex for dipping. There’s also a daily pho bar that will have you in beef broth and beansprout heaven.


7. Columbia

Another Smorgasburg beauty: Neapolitan-style pie by @bigmozznyc. A mobile wood-burning stove! 🍕

A photo posted by Columbia Dining (@columbiadining) on

“Zero trans fat” is probably the last thing that students care to hear, next to “written mid-term.” But when attached to dishes like Thai chili wings, eggplant roulette and “JJ’s Philly Cheesesteak,” it doesn’t sound so bad. If that all seems too high-falutin for your particular Ivy League sensibilities, you might want to check out the peanut butter and jelly bar.

8. James Madison University

Today on Tandoori: Chicken Tikka Masala over Rice

A photo posted by JMU Dining Services (@jmudining) on

Fifteen unique dining locations serve the students of James Madison University, including tandoori ovens and Chinese woks to offer some multi-cultural variety. Of course, students away from home for the first time will likely appreciate the made-to-order grilled cheese station and the home-made ice cream options just as much.

9. Cornell

Ithacan students have taken to the create-your-own omelette and pancake bars—giving students access to ingredients like M&Ms, sprinkles and fruit to add to pumpkin or blueberry batter. Whether you’re literature fan or food fanatic, you’ll also appreciate the “Hogwarts Night” featuring chocolate frog legs, butterbeer and other Harry Potter-themed eats.

10. Northwestern

It’s #DiningHallHack Monday. Check out this fun and simple hack. Be sure to tag us in all your favorite hacks!

A video posted by Northwestern Dining (@northwestern_dining) on

Northwestern’s campus dietitian oversees the menu at this Chicago university, but don’t worry: the dining service still manages to put on exotic theme evenings like Moroccan and Jamaican nights. The real highlight is the weekly hot cookie bar, which features bakery treats so piping hot and delicious that they will make your mother’s cookies taste like an inedible declaration of war.

Hit-Or-Miss Tastemade/Snapchat

Step Up Your Dorm Cooking Skills With These 5 Hacks

If you’re in college, you’re a long way off from being a charming fella who knows your whiskies and grills steaks for the family while chatting up your wife’s friend’s husband about politics. You’re also a long way off from being a dazzling lady who earns a reputation for a dish “that’s just to die for” at a dinner party, where you explain to a fascinated table of friends how you’re restoring a classic car in your spare time.

See, you’ve got time to get classy with cooking. But, in college, all rules, bets, and expectations are off. If you can give anything the ol’ college try, go for it. Because in college, the weirder, the cheaper, the better.

Here’s some college cooking hacks that take so little and deliver so good.



Use your coffee pot as a rice cooker (yes, f’real) by pouring the uncooked rice in the pot, adding water to the machine accordingly, and hitting brew. From there, once all the water’s in the pot, keep cooking for another ten minutes. You’ll debate buying a real rice cooker for the rest for your life.



Whisk eggs with just a splash of milk in a mug. Add cheese, some vegetables, maybe some salt and pepper, whatever you want, and cook it in the microwave for a minute or so. Slide onto a plate if you’re trying to impress someone, or barge it in said mug if you’ve got an entire season of something to watch alone on Netflix.

French Toast


Batter up your bread until it’s covered in gooey goodness and wrap it in foil to then heat with an iron. Anyone staying over is going to try and marry you. Plan your canned response ahead of time, because this will likely happen every time. You’re the closest thing they know to a wizard.

Taco Salad

taco salad

Take a bag of tortilla chips (or Fritos or Doritos, if you’re really going for it) and — I kid you not — dump in all the goodies you’re going to want to slamdance in your mouth. We’re talking beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, hot sauce, all the goods. Shake it up, grab a fork, and celebrate your new life as a master chef. Also, you can carry that with you, just in case you want to show off the madcap genius.



There’s a fork in this road, and it’s just up to you to take the one that meets your preference. Either wrap your sandwich in foil and use a clothing iron to heat it or grill it in an adorably tiny frying pan on your coffee maker’s burner. No points off either way. Both will make for good stories down the road, which, again, is long before you become the celebrated chef you’re destined to be.


Struggling Waiter Helps Broke College Student, Gets a Huge Surprise at Work


A Utah waiter is crediting karma for a serendipitously generous tip that followed only a few days after his earlier act of kindness.

Deric Wortham shared his story in a March 6 post on his Facebook account that has since gone viral. The post includes a photo of a receipt from a table he served at Cliffside Restaurant, the establishment he works at, that totals $100 — a $49.92 bill along with a $50.08 tip.


Wortham wrote in his post:

“A couple of days ago I was standing in line at the bank. A young girl (college age) was behind me with a Mason jar 1/3 filled with coins. I commented to her that she was supposed to wait until it was completely filled before cashing it in. She said that she didn’t have any money in her account and that she had to cash it in now (it probably totaled $5.00).

“I remembered being a poor college student myself 30 years ago at BYU. So, when I got to the teller, I told her to withdraw $50 from my account and when the girl came up for her transaction, to see to it that my $50 was deposited into her account with her coins.

More NextShark Stories: Inside the Extravagant World of the Rich Kids of Mexico City

“The teller asked me, ‘Why? Do you know her?’. I replied that I did not but that it seemed to me she needed the money more than I did and I was just ‘Paying It Forward’. The teller told me that was one of the nicest things she had ever seen. I left feeling good. And, I secretly asked my Heavenly Father to bless both the young lady and myself because I have bills too.  

“Tonight, at the end of my work week, my last customer was the answer to my silent prayer. Their dinner check was only $49 but they tipped me $50…the same amount that I had given to the young lady earlier this week! They tipped me not the usual 18% – 20% but a full 100%! Someone ‘paid it forward’ back to me! Karma! I felt blessed! Remember, ‘Paying it forward’ will eventually come back to you! Everyone have an awesome week ahead!”

Wortham’s original Facebook post has been shared over 3,000 times, but a repost by Love What Matters has been shared over 54,000 times and been given over 257,000 likes.

Written by Editorial Staff, NextShark


This University Offers A Class Devoted Entirely To Tacos


If you’ve ever felt your love for tacos was enough to take a course in, you might be interested to hear there’s a class for you. The University of Kentucky is now offering a course on tacos, according to Munchies.

The undergraduate class is called “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the US South.” The objective of the course is to build social connection through food.

Some of the coursework include reviewing restaurants as well as studying the cultural significance of Mexican food. Eating tacos is also a pivotal part of the curriculum.


Students are also required to read about different aspects of the taco, extensively. This even includes a book devoted entirely to tortillas.

If only tuition for the University of Kentucky wasn’t so expensive, we’d love to take a course. Until then, we’ll just homeschool ourselves at the taco truck down the street.


Fast Food

Angry Mother Gets The Ball Rolling With First Chipotle Norovirus Lawsuit


Earlier this month, Boston became ground zero for a massive norovirus outbreak originating from a Chipotle near the campus of Boston University. With about 150 cases reported, the first lawsuit is underway.

The mother of a 16-year-old kid who ate a burrito and caught the norovirus sued the chain for damages her son suffered through, the Globe reports.

Currently, their attorney Bill Marler has represented a fair amount of Chipotle customer lawsuits. His credentials include those who got sick recently from the E. coli outbreak in the West Coast.

Marler spoke to the Globe and told them he’s also been speaking with students from Boston College who also got sick from Chipotle.

The restaurant was inspected by Health officials and was cited for three major violations which included failure to cook chicken and beef at the proper temperature and an employee being sick while on the job.

Currently, the restaurant location remains closed.