Today marks the dawn of a new Bwog feature: GonzoBwog, in which we embark on a quest to answer your questions through empirical means (rather than doing what we usually do and looking them up on Wikipedia performing extensive research on the subject). This time, Daily Editors Liz Jacob and Megan McGregor chronicle their journey to test the limits of carb consumption. If you have any suggestions, you know the drill: send ’em in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We tried to do the impossible: eat solely free food for one entire week. We failed, but that’s okay. We learned about Columbia, ourselves, and how to acquire free food. What follows is an account of our adventures.
Friday, September 17 (Day 1): Potluck Pleasures
We were scared. Beginning such a Herculean task was daunting, to say the least. However, we decided to begin our journey at Potluck House on 114th and Broadway. We didn’t have it in ourselves to show up without a dish for the potluck, so we brought desserts from Westside. Upon arriving at Potluck House, we realized that bringing pre-prepared food to a potluck is quite unacceptable. However, we were still greeted with kindness. We decided to give the desserts as a gift. So, even though we had to purchase said desserts, we didn’t technically break our vow. Things we learned: 1. Our peers are much more skilled at the culinary arts than we are. 2. More people come to Potluck House than you’d think (including half of the Bwog staff and even an extremely friendly student from UChicago). 3. Brownstones are so much nicer than any other campus housing.
Saturday, September 18 (Day 2): Sometimes Platters of Bagels Fall From the Heavens
Megan: Saturday morning, Bwog received a tip that free bagels and pastries were being distributed at the Sundial courtesy of the Millennium Campus Conference. I dressed immediately and ran there within 10 minutes of receiving said email. Tip: If you want first pick of free food, you must arrive early! After grabbing for only one bagel, a kind stranger offered me (Liz was late—mistake!) an entire platter of bagels. Floored by this unbelievable generosity, I joyously shared the news with Liz. We received about 30 pumpernickel bagel halves apiece (we assume no collegiate leaders enjoy pumpernickel)! In case you’re in CC, that’s enough bagels for every meal for more than a week. And so began our bagel diet.
For lunch, we crashed a Columbia Political Review pitch meeting at the invitation of CPR Editor-in-Chief/fellow Bwogger/god Mark Hay. Basically, Mark held a meeting while cooking omelets for us (he had already made them for everyone else). Tip: Have nice friends that let you crash their meetings and cook for you! Mark Hay is a man among men.
Liz: Sans Megan, I headed over to Passport to Columbia in Roone Arledge Auditorium to sample the snacks provided by the multicultural groups on campus. Well-connected Columbian that I am, I managed to skip the long line at Roone’s entrance (see, it pays to come early!), and headed straight over to the food. There were samosas, dumplings, and sushi galore! I was in heaven. After eating to my stomach’s content, I will admit that I left before seeing a few (read: almost all) of the acts—which I hear were great! Note: Campus freeganism turns normal college students into vultures. Attempt it at your own risk.
Sunday, September 19 (Day 3): The Real Day of Bagels
Sunday can be a slow day in free food, which is why it pays to stock up on bagels, or really any free food distributed en masse. You may feel really obnoxious walking away from a free food event with a stack of cookies, but just remember that while you may look like a glutton, you will still be eating for FREE.
Monday, September 20 (Day 4): Lazy Freeganism
Being a freegan can involve some sacrifice. Being a lazy freegan involves only eating bagels, which is exactly what we did on Monday. But, we were creative! Pumpernickel bagels, apparently, go well with everything–cheese, peanut butter, hummus, you name it! What’s even better is that it’s still free if you steal your toppings from your roommate. Tip: Live with people who don’t mind your mooching.
Tuesday, September 21 (Day 5): Bhakti!!
For breakfast and lunch, we continued on our lazy path. However, for dinner, our lives were changed forever—we discovered the wonders of Bhakti Club. Bhakti Club hosts a cooking class followed by a free, delicious dinner every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Broadway Room in Lerner. We dined luxuriously on scrumptious vegetable sabji and other yummy things! Tip: Bring tupperware.
Wednesday, September 22 (Day 6): Pie for Dinner? Don’t tell Mom.
Liz: While Megan was stuck eating bagels, I went to the CC 2013 Study Break: Pie and Cider Edition. I ate two slices of pie (one pumpkin and one apple) and a black and white cookie. I did not have any cider. This was a mistake, as I was very thirsty later. Note: Always try everything at a free food event. What you don’t want now, you will most certainly want later. After this study break, I had the option to eat free pizza at the Rotaract meeting that night, but I was lazy. Bagels are enablers.
Megan: After getting out of class at 10:20 p.m., I was starving. I complained to my roommate until she bought me Famous Famiglia. Score!
Thursday, September 23 (Day 7): Starvation
Megan: On this sad day, we ate, again, bagels for breakfast and lunch. To our relief, we got through the day knowing that we would be eating gourmet Pakistani cuisine at the Organization of Pakistani Students’ Eid Mela. We arrived precisely on time, as all good freegans do, eagerly awaiting our feast. To our chagrin, President Obama got in the way! Obama’s presence in our city slowed all traffic through midtown, and thus we had to wait another hour and a half for our meal. Finally, it arrived after I started hallucinating from malnourishment. After our “feast,” I was still unsatisfied. Taking pity on me, my roommate had vegetable dumplings waiting for me upon my homecoming. Again, it pays to have a magnanimous roommate.
Friday, September 24 (The End): Free at Last, Free at Last
Liz: Our bagels now moldy, we cheated. We would not have cheated had there have been free food events, but to our disappointment, Friday was a slow day. So, we gave up. Perhaps it was because we had grown so sick of bagels and all other carbohydrates, that we lost all clarity and drive. In any case, we broke our free food “fast” two meals early, and I lost a bet.
While sometimes unfeasible, certain freegan principles can be applied to real life. We were unaware of how many free, fun events went on at Columbia on a daily basis. Maybe one can’t live solely off of free food (unless you want to dumpster dive), but one surely can spend a lot less money on food. Save it for alcohol, kids.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons