Verhasselt: Tell ISU dining to ‘shove off,’ brown bags are in

Heath Verhasselt

I, like many of you, have lived in the dorms, have dined at the UDCC or Seasons, and have seen the organized chaos that we call dining. First off, I like to give props to ISU Dining seeing as how they offer a clean place to eat, a large variety of food, at several different locations, and manage to have it all ready to go during the three rush hours every single day.

That being said, it wasn’t until my girlfriend dragged me into the Hub during lunch time that I realized how completely insane trying to purchase food had become: lines upon lines, the loud roar of people talking, ordering and coming in and out of the building. I could literally feel my stress levels go up just by standing in the line. We got lunch and immediately proceeded to skedaddle on out of there.

That trip essentially took the wool out from over my eyes. These lines were everywhere. Of course it was crazy at ISU Dining’s cafe’s and convenience stores, the Memorial Union, as well as the dining center, but off campus too. Long lines at everything from McDonald’s — in store and drive-thru — Panera Bread, and of course the line of epic proportions that is a apparently customary to eating at Hickory Park.

It was after seeing all of this I decided that I know I can’t fix eating out on the town, but I knew for a fact that I could make trying to eat lunch easier.

After talking with fellow students, many argued that it’s easier to just order food from someone else and eat it there. This essentially takes the business concept of outsourcing and applies it to your daily life: finding someone who can make better food than you, have them do it faster, and for less.

But when you’re standing in line at Subway for hours on end to pay for a sandwich — which is essentially a cold cut with shredded lettuce, with drink and chips that costs more than $8 — at what stage should you just be doing those things?

It was at this point that I said enough is enough, I’m getting out the brown bag. And let me tell you, what I found was astonishing. Put simply: I could pick out all the foods that I liked, I could put them in a bag, and then I could take the bag with me. How awesome is that? In seriousness, this was true. I could eat healthier by packing some veggies like carrots, and some sort of fruit, or go the opposite and eat salty potato chips, and fruit snacks; I could bring a coke, or bring iced tea. If I wanted to put in the effort it didn’t matter: ham and swiss on lightly toasted rye, with lettuce, tomato and mayo. And did I mention that the per unit price of one of these lunches costs less than a trip to Subway?

Now, it’s at this point that you might be saying, “Yes that’s all and well, but I don’t have time to make myself lunch everyday.”

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Standing in line versus packing a delicious lunch, you save about two minutes of time. And how often in life do you wish you had just two more minutes.

So I challenge you. Show off your culinary skills, brown bag it and let me know how it goes.