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Commons “Chopped” Challenge

I’ve gotta hand it to PSU dining – the food doesn’t suck. In fact, almost everything is palatable and actually pretty good. However, my one concern is the lack of variety. The daily menu is pretty predictable with consistent soup, pasta, salad, and sandwich options.

Instead of passing on the oh-so coveted meal plan and jumping ship to Lion Menus, fellow writers and I decided to make what we called the “Commons Chopped Challenge,” and create new meals out of the existing ones being served.

Now, we challenge you to do the same!

Our rules are pretty simple:

1) You have to be in a dining commons.
2) You can only use the food currently being served.
3) No outside sources, like tin foil or utensils (although an actual cutting knife would’ve come in handy).

Here’s how our personal challenge went down:

We chose Pollock as our commons location since it boasts one of the wider selections of basic foods. The menu that day consisted of fresh salmon, stir fry, mashed sweet potatoes, vegetable pot pie, plus all the regular items (salad, rice, etc). Upon taking a few laps around the buffet, I grabbed the salmon, some white sticky rice, cucumbers, carrots, and chopsticks. Yep, it was sushi time.

After seeing sushi rolled in Redifer countless times, I figured it wouldn’t be that bad. Oh, how wrong I was. What Pollock doesn’t have are seaweed wraps — go figure. After some trial and error, and a growing stack of plates on my tray, I succeeded in a cute salmon sushi roll — not bad for a culinary-challenged college student.


Next, we focused on dessert, which came almost too easily to us after discovering oatmeal raisin cookies, fresh apples, and the discovery that the commons has honey and cinnamon! Can you say CRÈME BRULEE?! Just kidding — we made apple pie with whipped cream and fresh granola bits on top. And just for fun, we took a pumpkin whoopie pie, scooped wout the filling, added peanut butter ice cream, and rolled it in nuts and sprinkles. Obviously, making dessert required much less thought and was almost instinctive.

I guess I can thank the freshman fifteen for that one.

So, despite the overload of plates on my tray (creating a wobble in my walk and a slight feeling of self-consciousness), cutting an apple with a thin piece of metal undeserving of the name “knife,” and a few awkward stares, I’d claim this “Chopped” creation a success.

Now it’s your turn! Send us a picture and brief description showcasing your culinary talents and commons’ creations. Don’t be an idiot and waste the food — ain’t nobody got time for that.

About the Author


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