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75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2014

75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2014

College can be tough, and we mean really tough. With tests and book lists and what seem like endless assignments, college students today have a lot of stress to deal with. Sometimes all they need at the end of a long day is a good meal, but unfortunately, they can’t always get it. Let’s face it: college dining halls are not typically culinary havens. Thankfully, though, there are more than a few colleges across the United States that go above and beyond when it comes to their dining services. From a college that only cooks from scratch every day to a college that lets students use their dining plan at countless off-campus restaurants, we’ve tracked down the 75 best colleges for food in America.

Click here for the 75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2014 (Slideshow)

This is our third annual list of the best colleges for food. Last year, the list was expanded from 52 colleges in 2012 to 60 colleges in 2013. For both lists, each and every one of the approximately 2,000 four-year colleges in America was considered. The first year’s list focused on the cleanliness and accessibility of the dining halls along with the menu options, while the second year’s list combined much of the criteria in the first list (combining healthy food and sustainability), and factored in student feedback to determine the best colleges. For our third annual list, we’ve expanded our winners’ circle to 75 colleges to offer even more contenders the chance to show just how much their dining programs shine. We have used much of the same criteria as last year’s list, but this time around we considered the food scene of the surrounding area in our ranking. Students like to get off campus every once in a while, and if the food offered around the schools was easily accessible and highly rated, that was a contributing factor in the overall rating of colleges. We also didn’t consider student feedback this year because we didn’t want school pride to interfere with the ranking. We wanted our ranking to be based on quantifiable criteria that would really determine the best colleges for food without passionate students and alumni skewing the list.

We started out with a full list of around 2,000 colleges, and after rigorous research and reaching out to their dining services, we narrowed that list down to around 320 knockouts. These standout colleges were highly respected for a myriad of reasons across the country, and had dining programs that caught our attention. After that, we chose the final 75 by looking at specific efforts each college was making toward improving taste, nutrition, and community and deciding what was really exceptional. It seems that students across the country are becoming more mature in their tastes and demanding in what they expect of their college dining experience. Students want their food to taste great, to be fun, and to be sustainable, and colleges are responding.

With that in mind, here are the criteria we used to judge the 75 best colleges for food in America for 2014:

Nutrition and Sustainability: Each college on this list makes consistent efforts to ensure that their food is well-balanced, as well as tasty, and is healthy not just for the students, but for the environment as well.

Accessibility and Service: Colleges accommodate all dietary preferences, have a variety of options for students to choose from, and make sure that the dining options are conveniently located to students’ dorms. Dining locations on campus that were open late night or whose meal plans let students purchase off-campus food were given special consideration.

Education and Events: Colleges offer nutrition and culinary education to every student on campus, and they also hold multiple exciting and delicious food-centered events to foster community and break the monotony of the dining experience.

Surrounding Area: Students have access to exciting and vast food options in the area surrounding the college and can access it easily. We compiled information from Yelp to find out the quality and accessibility of all the food around campuses within a 5-mile radius.

The “X” Factor: These are the little extras that made our jaws drop and set colleges ahead of the pack.

Even though the actual quality of the food was extremely important in our ranking, the overall dining experience, including the surrounding area, is what really determined which colleges made the cut and which didn’t. For example, New York University’s meal plan gives student the options to use their campus cash at over 20 restaurants in the food Mecca that is Manhattan. James Madison University hosts farm-to-fork dinners to encourage students to eat seasonally and sustainability. Columbia University has two late-night dining options for student night owls, and UC Davis utilizes produce grown in their campus garden for meals. Vanderbilt University has a Dining Advisory Committee, comprised of students, university staff, and dining staff, that monitors all aspects of the dining experience.

Some of the more expensive colleges had more extensive sustainability efforts, and, even though they are rated highly academically, it wasn’t always the Ivy League colleges who came out on top. Smaller colleges often had a better program that could cater to each and every students need due to the low population. In general, though, students have become more and more in tune to what good food is, and the colleges that paid attention to that and designed their dining programs around that were the most impressive.

Several colleges didn’t make the list this year for many reasons. Dartmouth College, which made the list last year, just fell short of the mark because although its food program is still impressive, other colleges made vast improvements that overshadowed it. Other colleges didn’t offer enough variety in the events that were offered, or didn’t take sustainability as seriously as others. We have really considered every aspect of the dining experience, and through that have determined the best colleges for food in America.

We’ve tried to highlight the most impressive and most delicious aspects for each of the colleges on this list. If you’re a food-lover who wants to go to a college as passionate as you are, then you might want to get those transfer forms ready after you check out our picks for the 75 Best Colleges for Food in America.

Did we miss any? Let us know! Leave us a comment about food on your campus and we’ll consider it for next year.

75. Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA

74. Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

73. Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

72. Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA

71. University of California — Irvine, Irvine, CA

70. California Baptist University, Riverside, CA

69. Carleton College, Northfield, MN

68. Elon University, Elon, NC

67. Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

66. Carroll University, Waukesha, WI

65. California State University, Chico, Chico, CA

64. College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA

63. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

62. Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

61. Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH

60. University of Washington, Seattle, WA

59. The New School, Manhattan, NY

58. Colby College, Waterville, ME

57. University of Delaware, Newark, DE

56. Stanford University, Stanford, CA

55. Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA

54. Tufts University, Medford, MA

53. University of California — Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

52. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA

51. Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH

50. Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT

49. Saint Lawrence University, Canton, NY

48. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

47. Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI

46. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA

45. College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME

44. University of Houston, Houston, TX

43. Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

42. University of California — Davis, Davis, CA

41. Brown University, Providence, RI

40. University of Richmond, Richmond, VA

39. Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

38. Bates College, Lewiston, ME

37. University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

36. University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

35. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

34. Connecticut College, New London, CT

33. High Point University, High Point, NC

32. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

31. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

30. University of San Diego, San Diego, CA

29. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

28. University of California — Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

27. Pitzer College, Claremont, CA

26. University of Massachusetts — Amherst, Amherst, MA

25. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

24. St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

23. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

22. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

21. Rollins College, Winter Park, FL

20. Yale University, New Haven, CT

19. University of California — San Diego, San Diego, CA

18. Miami University, Oxford, OH

17. University of Georgia, Athens, GA

16. James Madison University, Harrisburg, VA

15. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

14. Mills College, Oakland, CA

13. University of California — Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

12. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

11. Emory University, Atlanta, GA

10. Boston University, Boston, MA

9. Duke University, Durham, NC

8. Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA

7. New York University, New York, NY

6. University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

5. Northwestern University, Evanston IL

4. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

3. Columbia University, New York, NY

2. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

1. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME

A gyoza-eating world champion, plus ‘Portlandia’ for real

San Jose mega eaters Joey Chestnut — of hot dog devouring fame — and Matt “Megatoad” Stonie set a world record in gyoza consumption in Los Angeles earlier this month. You may want to sit down and pop a Tums before reading on.

Stonie set a world record at the Major League Eating-sanctioned Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship last year when he downed 268 dumplings in 10 minutes. (A Major League Eating organization? Who knew?) So he must have thought he had it in the bag when he ate 377 at this year’s gyoza-fest, which was held Aug. 16. Nope, Chestnut set a world record by swallowing 384 and won the $2,000 cash prize — or 467 bottles, according to our cash-to-Pepto-Bismol currency converter.

No word on what he had for dessert.

A team of researchers at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University are presenting their food truck research at a sociology conference this month, and we’re finding their findings wildly amusing. Among them: Large cities with craft breweries, farmers markets and high real estate prices are likely to have more upscale food trucks and “precipitation is actually positively associated with the new food trucks, although this effect drops out of significance if Portland, Oregon, is removed.”

Sometimes those “Portlandia” scripts just write themselves.

Dorm food despair? Au contraire. The Daily Meal has just anointed the 75 Best Colleges for Food in America. Maine’s Bowdoin College topped the private-school-dominated list, but there are a few Californians in the bunch. Los Angeles’ Occidental College came in eighth, thanks to its themed dinners, Oxy Iron Chef challenge, chef showcases and dishes such as balsamic-glazed chicken and butternut risotto.

UCLA came in at No. 13 for its vegan-friendliness, interesting cuisine and great off-campus dining options. (It seems a bit like cheating to give credit to the school for food it does not cook, but whatever.) And Mills College came in at No. 14, thanks to its campuswide picnics, farm-grown fare and location, smack dab in the middle of the Bay Area’s food scene. (Which seems like — oh, wait, that’s our food scene. OK, we’re good.) Check out the full list at

And a new season of “Top Chef” heads to the airwaves Oct. 15 with San Francisco chef Melissa King (Luce, Delfina) and San Jose caterer Keriann Von Raesfeld in the lineup.

Campus Food Some of the Best in the Nation

CANTON — Who knew that the food at St. Lawrence University could be so good? Well, the students, of course. But they’re not the only ones who have noticed.

The Daily Meal — a New York City-based food magazine that covers restaurants, food trends, healthy dining and cooking — has once again ranked St. Lawrence as one of the Best Colleges for Food in America.

Last year, the magazine looked at more than 2,000 four-year colleges nationwide, and St. Lawrence made the list of 60 Best Colleges for Food in America. For this year’s ranking, The Daily Meal revisited those same institutions that made the 2012 list and made sure that they were maintaining their culinary perfection. They also looked for improvements at those colleges that didn’t make last-year’s list.

The magazine found that St. Lawrence offers a unique take on collegiate dining. While the dining staff emphasizes sustainable preparation and local ingredients, they’re also focused on what students want to eat as well.

Dining Services goes out of its way to include locally produced food on its menu, said Cynthia Y. Atkins, director of Dining and Conference Services. They’re now serving River Rat Cheese from the Thousand Islands, bakery and gluten-free products from the Food Co-Op in Potsdam, and vegan cookies from Vermont.

“We do work hard to increase local sustainable food options at Dana Dining Center and the Northstar Café,” Atkins said. “Now is a great time, with the fall harvest making so much fresh food available. We’re serving apples from local orchards and cider from Massena. We definitely try to take advantage of everything we can here.”

One of St. Lawrence’s dining highlights is “Recipes from Home,” which was first introduced in 1987. The program invites parents to send in their personal recipes, which Dining Services will then serve to its roughly 2,000 daily customers.

“We take the family recipe, put it out there for the students to try and hope we’ve done it correctly,” Atkins said. “About 10 percent of what we serve are either new or past recipes from home, and we’ll keep them on the menu if students like it.”

In addition to what The Daily Meal recognized, Atkins said it’s often small things that make dining a more pleasant experience for St. Lawrence students.

“For example, we work hard to make sure we’re aware of food allergies and food intolerances students may have,” she said. “We want to make their time here as comfortable as possible.”

According to The Daily Meal, students on the whole are already passionate and knowledgeable about food when they arrive at campus, and are interested in trying new foods and want to know where it's coming from.

Can You Guess What the Most Popular Food Was the Year You Were Born?

Food trends come and go, but some are so memorable that they define a generation. What was hot when you came into the world? Chances are, it came in a can or was eaten in front of the TV. Here&rsquos the most popular food the year you were born:

1930s: Creamed Chipped Beef
The Great Depression meant dinner could be pretty lean. This dish, consisting of beef smothered in white sauce and served over toast, was one that could be made easily on a budget.

1940s: Meat Loaf
Meat in a can is an easily recognizable American product, but intrepid home cooks of the &lsquo40s put their own spin on the supermarket staple, adapting older recipes into what we now know as the modern-day meatloaf. The nutritious dish rose to popularity thanks to recipes like Penny Prudence&rsquos &ldquoVitality Loaf,&rdquo made with beef, pork and liver. Meanwhile, the Culinary Arts Institute published a recipe for a savory loaf that called for beef, vegetable soup and cereal. Try Rach&rsquos ham-and-cheese-stuffed version made with ground turkey for a modern twist on what has now become an American staple.

1950: Tuna Casserole
The tuna casserole&rsquos history actually dates back to the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s, but it wasn&rsquot until the 1950s that this homey dish fully made its meteoric rise to popularity. As the quintessential comfort food&mdashcreamy, savory, cheesy&mdashit&rsquos easy to see why.

1951: Baked Alaska
This classic 19th-century recipe enjoyed a resurgence in the 1950s. You were sure to be the envy of your dinner party guests if you presented them with this flaming, meringue-topped beauty.

1952: Salisbury Steak
Few things are more comforting than a plate of Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas. So it&rsquos no surprise that this rich dish, invented by a doctor, was among the most popular in the early 1950s.

1953: Chicken Tetrazzini
Once a romantic dish eaten by movie stars and opera singers, chicken tetrazzini later became a comforting, at-home meal made with chicken, spaghetti, and a creamy, vegetable-infused sauce.

1954: Deviled Eggs
Deviled eggs have always been popular, but the finger food&rsquos popularity surged in the 1950s, when every housewife had to have a matching egg plate for entertaining. Here are 14 of our best deviled egg recipes in case you&rsquore looking for some new combos!

1955: Green Bean Casserole
When Thanksgiving rolled around in 1955, Campbell&rsquos was prepared by releasing one of its most popular (and easiest) recipes ever: green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and those crunchy, irresistible fried onions.

1956: Banana Cream Pie
Comedian Soupy Sales took his first pies to the face in the &lsquo50s, kicking off a revival in this sweet, velvety treat&rsquos popularity.

1957: Barbecue
The emergence of the suburb and the introduction of the Weber grill led to a surge in backyard grilling in the late 50s. Smoky briskets and juicy grilled chicken soon became the meal of choice for al fresco dining.

1958: Pancakes
These airy, sweet cakes have been around for much longer, but the late &lsquo50s was a popular time for the comforting breakfast food: Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls&mdashwhich was first published in 1957 and wildly popular by 1958&mdashincluded a charming recipe for &ldquobranded&rdquo pancakes, and the first IHOP location opened on July 7, 1958 in Burbank, California.

1959: Cheese Ball
A go-to appetizer of the era, the Chicago Tribune included the ubiquitous pecan-encrusted cheese ball, made with cottage and blue cheeses, in an Aug. 21, 1959, round-up of easily prepared snacks for entertaining. Try an updated take with this garlic-and-herb cheese ball.

1960: Gelatin Everything
It was this year that kicked off the &ldquolet&rsquos encase everything in a gelatin mold&rdquo trend. Jell-O even introduced vegetable flavors, such as celery, Italian salad and seasoned tomato, to chase the trend. No comment.

1961: Chicken à la King
This was the go-to weeknight dinner for moms in the &lsquo60s: a richly layered dish of diced chicken, vegetables and a cream sauce. (It was/is also a great way to use up leftovers.)

1962: Grape Jelly Meatballs
These meatballs smothered in a sweet, sticky sauce were a cocktail party staple in the &lsquo60s&mdashthe ideal easy finger food. In 2017, we like our cocktail meatballs in a spicy-sweet-tart cranberry glaze, thank you very much.

1963: Beef Bourguignon
The first episode of Julia Child&rsquos hit show &ldquoThe French Chef&rdquo aired on Feb. 11, 1963. The inaugural dish? Beef bourguignon, of course, described by Child as &ldquoa perfectly delicious dish.&rdquo

1964: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Dating back to a recipe contest held by Dole in 1926, the retro-classic pineapple upside-down cake has stood the test of time, but was especially common in the mid &lsquo60s.

1965: Onion Dip
The advent of packaged soup mixes made easy, entertaining-friendly dips a popular &lsquo60s go-to. Try Rachael&rsquos take on this retro classic.

1966: Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Bundt cakes made their way to kitchens in &lsquo66 after this chocolate cake won the Pillsbury Bake-Off&mdashand the company received more than 200,000 letters from fans asking for the recipe to make their very own.

1967: Stuffed Celery
An upgraded version of the childhood classic &ldquoants-on-a-log,&rdquo this light appetizer began on the Thanksgiving table.

1968: Carrot Cake
Happy Birthday, Rachael! Rach was born in 1968, when carrot cake was all the rage. This cream cheese-frosted sweet treat was (and still is) loaded with veggies, nuts and plenty of raisins&mdasha sign of the health-food craze to come.

1969: Fondue
Neil Armstrong and his crew landed on the moon in this year, expecting to find nothing but cheese. Disappointed though they were, cheese fondue exploded as an entertaining dinner trend.

1970: Quiche
Thanks to the continued influence of Julia Child, French cuisine took off in the early &lsquo70s, and with it, quiche varieties arrived on the dinner table. Cooks in the &lsquo70s went way past Quiche Lorraine, though, experimenting with all types of filling, ranging from leeks and anchovies to onion and lamb.

1971: Eggs Benedict
This rich breakfast had been around for awhile, but a June 1971 Chicago Tribune article titled &ldquoAdventuring with Eggs&rdquo turned the Waldorf Astoria-invented dish into a make-at-home meal. Sunny Anderson&rsquos Classic Eggs Benedict with 1-2-3 Hollandaise Sauce makes it even easier to nail at home!

1972: Tequila Sunrise
This popular cocktail&mdasha mix of tequila, grenadine, and orange juice&mdashhas its roots in a Prohibition-era resort in Mexico, but it wasn&rsquot until 1972, when a bartender at Sausalito&rsquos Trident Bar served one to Mick Jagger that the drink took off.

1973: Granola
The health boom of the &lsquo70s was kicked into high-gear with Eric Meller and Jane Kaplan&rsquos The Granola Cookbook, released in January 1973. Made of rolled oats, brown sugar or honey, dried fruit, and nuts, granola was seen as a healthier alternative to heavier breakfast fare like bacon and eggs.

1974: Crepes
A continued obsession with French cuisine (see 1963 and 1969) leads to the rise of the at-home crepe maker and voila! These flat pancakes become a sweet addition to brunch. Skip the cumbersome crepe maker and try our two-ingredient recipe!

1975: Sushi
New York Times restaurant critic Craig Claiborne declared sushi, &ldquoa trifle too &lsquofar out&rsquo for many American palates" in 1963, but by the mid &lsquo70s, the Hollywood set had embraced the raw fish dish, thanks to restaurants like L.A.&rsquos Tokyo Kaikan, where the California roll was invented!

1976: Chicken Kiev
This classic&mdasha chicken breast with a cheesy, oozing garlicky core&mdashwas ubiquitous dinner party fare throughout the decade. Rachael&rsquos version of the classic includes a kicky herb salsa&mdashtry it for yourself!

1977: Pasta Primavera
Pasta Primavera was the talk of the town in Manhattan in the &lsquo70s, when Le Cirque chef Sirio Maccioni introduced this cream-based pasta dish, accented with an explosion of green veggies.

1978: Hummingbird Cake
Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, N.C., takes the cake for creating this delectable pineapple-banana-spice cake with cream cheese frosting. First published in Southern Living in 1978, it remains the magazine&rsquos most-requested recipe!

1979: Cajun Blackened Fish
If it was charred or blackened, it was popular in 1979. Chef Paul Prudhomme opened his K-Paul Louisiana Kitchens in this year, and his follow-up cookbook, Louisiana Kitchen, put this dish on the map.

1980: Potato Skins
Someone in the &lsquo80s had the bright idea of scraping out potato innards and loading the empty skins with with everything from sour cream to cheese to chives, even chili. Here are 11 different variations on this game-day snack from our kitchen!

1981: Baked Brie
A simple idea that&rsquos still as popular today as it was when it first became trendy back in 1981: take a wheel of brie, top it with a bit of jam, wrap it in puff pastry and bake it. Here are four fresh &ldquobrie en croute&rdquo twists we like.

1982: Pasta Salad
Still a staple at picnics and summer lunches, pasta salad reached peak popularity in 1982, when the New York Times wrote, &ldquothe pasta salad, that darling of the carry-out shop, is here to stay.&rdquo Bored with your typical tri-colore concoction? Try Rach&rsquos bright and fresh pesto pasta salad.

1983: Couscous
Quinoa in the &lsquo80s? No way! This decade was defined by couscous&mdashthe traditional Moroccan staple that became a popular post-aerobics lunch.

1984: Tiramisu
This dessert has its roots in the 17th century, but tiramisu was all the rage in the &lsquo80s. Today, you&rsquod be hard-pressed to visit an Italian restaurant without the espresso-soaked sweet treat on the menu. Want to give it a go at home? Try our five-minute tiramisu fake-out!

1985: Fajitas
In the early &lsquo80s, this sizzling dish was gaining popularity in restaurants throughout the Southwest, but by the middle of the decade, it was a staple. Have your own fajita night at home with Rach&rsquos classic skirt steak recipe!

1986: Monkey Bread
This ooey-gooey sweet loaf was a breakfast go-to in the &lsquo80s, as First Lady Nancy Reagan served it at casual White House functions and later included it in the family&rsquos White House cookbook. Katie Lee&rsquos shortcut version calls for refrigerated, store-bought biscuit dough and adds a trendy twist, thanks to the addition of pumpkin pie spice!

1987: Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate maker Alice Medrich started making a variation of these treats in 1973, but it wasn&rsquot until the New York Times wrote about them in the late &lsquo80s that they were widely accepted in the U.S. as dessert or a DIY gift.

1988: Bran Muffins
The popularity of this humble muffin shouldn&rsquot come as a surprise, given the decade&rsquos emphasis on low-fat and low-cholesterol foods, but they later fell out of favor due to their high sugar content. If you still need a muffin fix, try this gluten-free pumpkin spice and walnut-raisin variation.

1989: Crème Brûlée
Before the 1980s, crème brûlée was virtually unknown to most Americans. The dish, which is surprisingly English in origin&mdashnot French&mdashrose to fame thanks to chefs like Paul Bocuse and Le Cirque&rsquos Sirio Maccioni. Use a secret pantry ingredient to whip up your own in a flash with this recipe!

1990: Fusion Pizzas
Thanks to the rise of California Pizza Kitchen, the humble pizza pie saw all sorts of inspired toppings! From Thai chicken to Jamaican Jerk seasoning, a number of different cultural influences all found their way onto pizza dough. Shawarma Chicken Pizza on Naan or Chicken Teriyaki Pizza, anyone?

1991: Chinese Chicken Salad
The origin of Chinese chicken salad is debatable, but one thing is clear: it was on everyone&rsquos plate in the &lsquo90s! This Cal-Fusion blend of chicken breast, chow mein noodles, pickled ginger, carrots, mandarin oranges and lettuce was on the menu everywhere.

1992: Ranch Dressing
This creamy mayonnaise, buttermilk and herb dressing had been around for years, but overtook Italian as the nation&rsquos best-selling salad topper in 1992.

1993: Veggie Burgers
You could find veggie burgers on the odd restaurant menu in early &lsquo90s, but it wasn&rsquot until the mid-90s that tasty, pre-made options hit supermarkets and really went mainstream. Skip the freezer aisle and try Rach&rsquos Mediterranean veggie burgers with provolone and Italian ketchup.

1994: Caesar Salad
The Caesar salad may be a &ldquobasic&rdquo option today, but in the &lsquo90s, it was anything but. The dish saw a meteoric rise in popularity from this 1993 New York Times piece, when diners ate out specifically for the salad.

1995: Molten Lava Cake
This melty, chocolatey goodness originated in the &lsquo80s, but only after big-name chefs put it on their menus did the dessert really took off. Speaking of big-name chefs, we recommend Wolfgang Puck&rsquos Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.

1996: Sun-Dried Tomatoes
The Italian food boom in the States brought a lesser-known tomato variation to the forefront &ndash the chewy, tart sun-dried tomato, used most often in pasta dishes and salads. Try them in this recipe for Prosecco-Braised Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Leeks from former &ldquoTop Chef&rdquo Fabio Viviani.

1997: Fried Calamari
Squid&mdasha cheap, nutritious, and sustainable seafood&mdashwas largely ignored by Americans (ewww) until the mid-&rsquo90s when these crispy fried rings, served with tangy marinara, stole the show. Upgrade this trattoria favorite with a full-on fall-inspired fritto misto.

1998: Cosmopolitan
Sex and the City made its television debut in 1998, putting this vodka-cranberry juice concoction into the hands of women everywhere.

1999: Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Stuffed, roasted, blended into soup, or even casseroled, this ruby-hued veggie was everywhere in 1999. Try them stuffed with meat for a comforting meal!

2000: Smoothies
The year 2000 was supposed to bring us rocket cars, but instead we got smoothie and juice bars popping up all over cities. Suddenly, cups of blended, frozen fruit became everyone&rsquos breakfast on-the-go!

2001: EVOO
Our very own Rachael Ray made her television debut in 2001, which launched EVOO (&ldquoextra-virgin olive oil&rdquo) into the minds&mdashand pantries&mdashof Americans.

2002: Bacon
Bacon has been on everyone&rsquos breakfast plate for years, but the popularity of this salty, porky treat skyrocketed in 2002, when it was included in everything from cupcakes to chocolate. (Even the Cake Boss shared a chocolate-bacon cake!)

2003: Lattes + Frappes
What was life like before Starbucks? In the early aughts, coffee dates were on everyone&rsquos agenda and soon enough, everyone was running on java!

2004: Yogurt
Nutritionists deemed Greek yogurt as the new god-given source of protein &ndash a major focal point in &lsquo04.

2005: Cupcakes
Before cupcakes were a televised baking competition, they became popular with the help of Magnolia Bakery&rsquos ubiquity in Sex and the City. By 2005, these frosting-topped treats were everywhere, in all forms. Want three tips for making better cupcakes at home? A cupcake expert reveals all!

When Food Is Too Good To Waste, College Kids Pick Up The Scraps

Student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project evaluate produce. The initiative gets high-school and college students to scavenge food from cafeterias, grocery stores and farmers' markets, cook it and deliver it to organizations serving low-income people in their communities. Courtesy of DC Central Kitchen hide caption

Student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project evaluate produce. The initiative gets high-school and college students to scavenge food from cafeterias, grocery stores and farmers' markets, cook it and deliver it to organizations serving low-income people in their communities.

Courtesy of DC Central Kitchen

Back in 2011 when I was a student at the University of Maryland in College Park I once noticed a massive pile of trash in front of a dining hall. A closer look revealed that it was mostly food — a half-eaten sandwich, a browning apple and what appeared to be the remains of the day's lunch special.

The heap was gross, but intriguing. Turned out it was a stunt to get students thinking about how much food they throw out each day.

Nowadays, students are coming face to face with their food waste, and its environmental and social impact, a lot more often. They also have more opportunities do something about it.

The conspirator behind the stinky installation at UMD was Ben Simon, 25. Simon founded the Food Recovery Network as an undergraduate as a way to get college kids to salvage uneaten food from cafeterias and deliver it to local agencies that feed the needy. He's been so successful with the initiative that he was recently highlighted on Forbes' "30 Under 30" list of entrepreneurs.

The average college student generates 142 pounds of food waste a year, according to Recycling Works, a program in Massachusetts. And college campuses as a group throw out a total of 22 million pounds of uneaten food each year, the Food Recovery Network has found. It's a small – but significant — piece of the 35 million tons of food discarded by Americans in 2012 alone, according to the latest estimate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. About 40 percent of all food in the U.S. never even makes it to the plate before it's tossed. Yet 1 in 6 Americans goes hungry.

Goats and Soda

Sizing Down Food Waste: What's The Worst Thing To Toss?

The Salt

Wasted Food Around The World Takes Heavy Toll On Environment

Like many institutions with big food service operations, colleges and universities are forced to throw food away because they never know exactly how many people will be dining in their cafeterias every day. Many schools are serving meals buffet-style and can't run the risk of running out of food.

Simon says all the waste at the UMD began to resonate with him as a lost opportunity to feed the hungry — he was volunteering at soup kitchens and involved with food drives at the time. He discovered that only a handful of U.S. colleges had some sort of program to repurpose uneaten food. There was SPOON at Stanford University and the The Campus Kitchens Project, which had chapters in a few dozen schools.

"It just seemed like everywhere across the country, this surplus food from college campuses was just getting wasted," he tells The Salt.

So he got to work, initially with a group of 11 people. Soon 200 people from other student organizations on campus came to volunteer. Three years later, the program expanded to more than 100 chapters around the country. To date, students in the network have salvaged nearly 640,000 pounds of food, which they repackage and driven by students in their own cars to local agencies that feed the hungry.

Colleges and universities have also been coming up with their own ways to prevent food waste, says Wynn Calder, a sustainability consultant and the director of the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future. "A lot of schools have done things like introduce trayless dining," he says. "A study at Loyola University Chicago found that a combination of getting rid of trays and reducing plate sizes makes about a 25 percent reduction in food waste."

Other tactics include offering fewer food choices and putting unhealthful food further in the back to make students take less at a time.

Simon says part of his inspiration came from The Campus Kitchens Project, which was started in 2001 by the nonprofit D.C. Central Kitchen and now has 42 chapters. Whereas Simon's organization rescues food that's already been cooked, The Campus Kitchens Project has high-school and college students scavenging food from cafeterias, grocery stores and farmers' markets, preparing it and delivering it to organizations serving low-income people in their communities.

"It's the students who come up with the recipes, who check the temperature of the food, who are trained in [food] safety and who are running the shifts as a chef would," says Jenny Bird, a coordinator for the The Campus Kitchens Project at the St. Louis University chapter.

Former Director Nidhi Solanki of Project Compost uses a tractor and compost turner to turn food waste into compost. Sequoia Williams hide caption

Former Director Nidhi Solanki of Project Compost uses a tractor and compost turner to turn food waste into compost.

At University of California, Davis, students are focusing on food waste that can't be eaten but can be composted. Jessica Siegel, 21, is a senior who runs Project Compost. The student-led program collects nearly 2,000 pounds a week in carrot peels and coffee grounds from the school's main coffee house and from a plant lab. It all gets composted into a material that's donated to community gardens.

The Salt

Tossing Out Food In The Trash? In Seattle, You'll Be Fined For That

"You just see so much when you're behind the scenes digging at the waste, like how much waste is produced and how much of that can be used to make compost," says Siegel.

Wynn Calder at Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future says he's thrilled that students are getting involved with the food waste issue.

"If you become aware of the importance of not wasting food at the age of 15, 18 or 20, it's a heck of a lot better than figuring that out when you're 50," he tells The Salt.

If anyone is going to reverse the trend of food waste, it's milennials, says Dana Gunders at the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council. "They care, they're just starting to form their food habits and they're opened to new things," she says. "And they're going to be eating food for longer than [older] generations.

What's really needed, she says, is a "paradigm shift in how we value food. And I think millennials are really poised to drive that."

Are These Really The Best Colleges For Food In America? We Have Some Additions.

Gone are the days of baby laxative&ndashlaced mystery meats, prepared exclusively for our country's educational institutions (and prisons). Today, colleges across the nation are stepping up their game more than ever, serving homemade meals from scratch and featuring a variety of cuisines and unique presentations. Just look at Washington University in St. Louis, which runs weekly themed dinners (Low Carbon Diet Day was a recent event) and hosts daily cooking classes and chef demonstrations. It's no wonder that college tuition is at an all-time high!

The Daily Meal recently released its annual list of the country&rsquos 60 best colleges for food. The meal choices are judged based on ingredients, accessibility, service, creativity and student feedback. While there are representatives from all over the United States, the state of California appears to have a particularly strong collegiate dining program (multiple UC schools make the cut). The East Coast also merits a number of inclusions, with Maine&rsquos Bowdoin College taking the top prize.

We&rsquore not exactly experts on the marriage of food and education here at Food Republic, but members of our editorial staff were quick to weigh in on this year&rsquos selections. My alma mater of Vanderbilt University snagged a spot in the middle of the pack, thanks largely in part to its Taste of Nashville program, which allows students to pay for meals (read: deplete their parents' funds) at nearby restaurants with a campus card. And I was glad to see Cornell University get a nod in the top 10, having spent a weekend there that resulted in my gaining of around five pounds due to their (incredible) around the world, all-you-can-eat buffet.

Here are the Daily Meal's top 10 best colleges and universities for food in the U.S:

10. Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
9. Tufts University, Boston
8. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Ga.
7. UMass Amherst, Amherst, Mass.
6. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
5. University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles
4. Emory University, Atlanta
3. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
2. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis
1. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

Meanwhile, a couple editors defend their alma maters:

Defend! Okay, so USC is in the middle of one of the most dangerous areas of Los Angeles and despite its bougie reputation, the university's cafeteria food is downright unadulterated garbage. Thankfully, the nearby Mexican food, fried chicken, massive styrofoam containers full of spicy barbecued Korean meat, pastrami burgers and bacon-wrapped hot dogs smothered in mustard, raw onions and pickled jalapenos are all beyond comparison. If it's fine dining you're looking for, you will not find it &mdash read: it does not exist &mdash within a three-mile radius. Which is great, 'cause nobody, not even me, needs that in a hungry football victory-fueled rage at 2 a.m. – Associate Editor Jess Kapadia

Beyond the fact that it was recently named the best city for food in the COUNTRY, and barbecue master Adam Perry Lang sings its praise, the University of Wisconsin – Madison is a hell of a place to be introduced to food culture as an 18 year old. Brats, cheese and beer is of course the cliché, but there&rsquos an abundance of Asian restaurants operating downtown and on the city&rsquos East side. Laotian, Chinese and Tibetan. There&rsquos the rustic Mediterranean excellence of Nostrono (run by former Blackbird and Boka line cooks) and a craft cocktail bar and store, Merchant, stirring rye cocktails with maple syrup, bitters and pipe tobacco tincture. And you can drink beer at the student union. – Contributing Editor Matt Rodbard

Read these stories about university eating on Food Republic:

Top College Dining Halls

Bowdoin College

Located in Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin College provides students with a strong liberal arts education in an intimate setting the school has a total enrollment of less than 2,000 learners.

Bowdoin's dining services are among the nation's best. At Thorne Hall and the Moulton Union, students can select from a variety of healthy choices, including an assortment of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Dishes often use local ingredients sourced from farms in Maine.

In addition to quality food options, the college takes environmental stewardship and sustainability seriously. Bowdoin's dining policies are made with input from the school's Environmental Committee.

Brown University

Founded before the American Revolution, Brown University boasts a prestigious academic reputation and provides students with an array of dining options.

Offering some of the best college dining halls, Brown provides two main cafeterias: the Verne-Wooley and the Sharpe Refectory. In addition to all-you-can-eat options, students can take advantage of an in-house butcher, a bakery, and a market providing locally grown produce. Smaller on-campus cafes like the Blue Room and Ivy Room offer additional places to eat.

All of Brown's dining options are certified by the Green Restaurant Association. The university employs a composting program and also donates unused ingredients to cut down on food waste.

Washington University in St. Louis

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University is among the most prominent private institutions in the Midwest. In addition to offering high-quality academic programs, Washington University boasts quality dining options. It also minimizes waste through environmental initiatives.

Focused on providing varied, delicious food options for students, the university's food programs emphasize wellness through a healthy, balanced diet. The Bear Balance Movement prioritizes healthy dining, and school menus use food products sourced from regional farms that eschew hormones and antibiotics in farm animals.

Washington University is also dedicated to minimizing its environmental impact. In addition to repurposing cooking oil as biofuel, the university's dining halls use compostable, recyclable, and reusable cutlery and dishes.

Northwestern University

Dedicated to providing excellent academic options and student amenities, Northwestern University is a premier private research university. It also operates some of the best college dining halls in the country.

In addition to the traditional fare associated with the typical college student diet, Northwestern provides several healthy dining options. The university employs a full-time dietician to ensure students have access to nutritional food options. This dietician helps students with food restrictions come up with suitable dining plans.

Northwestern also actively addresses its environmental impact. The university has championed several environmental initiatives, including a composting program, plant-based diet promotion, and a campus Styrofoam ban.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Serving over eight million meals per year, UMass Amherst operates one of the largest collegiate dining programs in the country. The university offers an array of food options, while also focusing on quality ingredients and student health and wellness.

The nation's first SPE-certified university, UMass Amherst guarantees the food students eat is not only delicious but also sustainably sourced. Additionally, the UMass Permaculture Initiative offers a cutting-edge sustainability program that engages both students and the community, while also providing organic produce to the university.

To address student food insecurity, the university instituted the No Student Goes Hungry Policy, which provides learners in need with nutritional support. The school also operates a food pantry, offering free, nonperishable goods to all students.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Founded in 1872, Virginia Tech has earned a place among the most respected public research universities in the United States. With over 29,000 undergraduate students — many of whom live on campus — the university offers ample student amenities, including some of the nation's best college dining halls.

Virginia Tech provides more than seven million meals per year. The university's You're Eating Smarter Program benefits student health while minimizing environmental impact. Virginia Tech also houses Homefield Farm — a student-run organic farm that supplies dining halls with more than 50,000 pounds of produce each year.

Carleton College

Founded in 1866, Carleton College is a private liberal arts school based in Northfield, Minnesota. The college enrolls just over 2,000 students and provides healthy and delicious dining options while promoting environmental initiatives. Carelton uses compostable dining products and encourages students to reduce food waste through the Carleton Food Recovery Network.

Carleton's students can access five dining locations. Carleton's commitment to sustainability also includes a composting program, which has composted food waste and other biodegradable materials since 2007.

Carleton participates in the Real Food Challenge — a nationwide initiative to shift school food budgets from factory farms and junk food toward local, humane, and ecologically sound food sources.

Denison University

Established in 1831, Denison University is among the oldest colleges in the Midwest. Denison enrolls just over 2,000 students and boasts a thriving campus culture. Food is a big part of that culture, and the university houses some of the best college dining halls in the U.S.

Denison currently offers six dining options. The Curtis and Huffman dining halls, along with the Slayter Market, all serve freshly made, locally sourced food. In the more than 850,000 meals that Denison serves annually, 38% of all produce is from local sources. The university also operates an on-campus coffee shop and smoothie bar.

Dickinson College

The first college chartered after the formation of the United States, Dickinson College is situated on 170 acres in rural Pennsylvania. The school maintains a rich history, while also taking progressive positions on environmental issues. Among its many forward-thinking initiatives, Dickinson College promotes a waste-free ethos in its campus dining halls.

The college maintains a "tray-free” policy, encouraging learners to reduce their own food waste. Additionally, Dickinson College operates a farm to provide food services with sustainable, organic produce. The school is also home to The KOVE — a cafe serving vegan, certified kosher foods.

James Madison University

With a student body of more than 22,000 undergraduates, James Madison University maintains an efficient and effective selection of dining services. JMU currently oversees three dining halls, six restaurants, and several coffee shops and convenience stores.

Through the Healthy for Life initiative, JMU works with the American Heart Association to improve students' health. In recognizing the broad scope of nutritional health, this initiative also looks at the environmental impact of food choices, informs learners about healthy dining choices, and supports underserved people within local communities through nutritional education.

Rhode Island School of Design

Dating back to the 19th century, RISD maintains a reputation for cutting-edge art. Located in Providence, the school also provides students with progressive academics, helpful student services, and a multitude of dining options.

Students at RISD can grab food at five main locations, including The Met, which is the largest dining hall on campus. Dedicated to providing freshly prepared food, RISD's dining menus offer a variety of creative cuisines, such as several vegetarian and vegan options.

RISD focuses on sustainability by prioritizing produce and practices that minimize environmental impact. The school's dining program regularly showcases local farms, vendors, and startups.

College of the Holy Cross

Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Holy Cross is one of the oldest Jesuit colleges in the United States. Maintaining a reputation for supporting social justice causes, the college is also progressive with its food options, offering some of the best and healthiest college dining halls in the region.

Among the first colleges to establish an allergy-sensitive menu, Holy Cross accommodates dietary restrictions of all kinds. Alongside nine convenient and healthy dining options, Holy Cross operates a grocery program that allows students to select items and pick them up at the college's main dining hall.

Additionally, in 2019, Holy Cross installed "the world's first fresh food robot." Located within the Cool Beans coffee shop, Sally the Robot provides customized salads 24 hours a day.

Wheaton College

Founded in 1834, Wheaton College maintains a long tradition of offering rigorous academics while promoting a strong connection to the local community. In addition to promoting environmental initiatives, Wheaton's dining program offers a variety of healthy options.

Recognizing that food choices directly impact student health and academic success, Wheaton maintains a team of chefs and dieticians who provide healthy options while accommodating learners with different food allergies, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Wheaton's Green Thread initiative emphasizes responsible sourcing, waste minimization, and transportation management.

Tufts University

Founded in 1852, Tufts University is a private research institution with over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students. This prestigious New England institution offers learners a variety of dining options while maintaining a dedication to environmentalism and sustainable food causes.

Tufts provides students with 12 dining options, including main dining halls and smaller cafes. Tufts also offers several options for students with allergies and dietary restrictions. At the university's two main dining centers, menus include a lengthy list of vegetarian and vegan options.

Tufts also works diligently to limit food waste. The university uses a sophisticated food waste tracking system and donates excess food to help combat hunger in the local community.

Warren Wilson College

Warren Wilson College is a private liberal arts school tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. Recognized for its holistic environment, the college requires that all students work an on-campus job and perform community service.

Maintaining a long history of environmental activism, the college also provides a long list of nutritional dining options. Dedicated to providing healthy options while encouraging plant-based dining, the school's Cowpie Café serves GMO-free ingredients and is entirely vegetarian.

In addition to ensuring that at least 25% of all produce is sourced locally, Warren Wilson College raises 100% of the ground beef served on campus on school land. The college also holds an A+ rating on PETA's Vegan Report Card.

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The best colleges for food, dorms, athletics and more

You know which colleges rank highly for academics and status. But what about the most beautiful campus? Or the most robust financial aid?

Here are the Princeton Review's top five picks in the categories that make college years the best years in life. Find the full lists in their new book, "The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition," out now.

Best athletic facilities:

1. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Ga.

2. University of Maryland College Park, College Park, Md.

3. United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.

4. Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Ind.

5. The Ohio State University Columbus, Columbus, Ohio

Best campus food:

1. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.

2. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

3. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

4. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

5. James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Best career services:

1. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

2. Northeastern University, Boston, Mass.

3. Pennsylvania State University University Park, University Park, Pa.

4. The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

5. Barnard College, New York, N.Y.

Best health services:

1. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.

2. Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.

3. United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.

4. The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

5. Pennsylvania State University University Park, University Park, Pa.

Best professors:

1. Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.

2. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, Calif.

3. Reed College, Portland, Ore.

4. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham, Mass.

5. Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio

Dorms like palaces:

1. Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

2. Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Md.

3. Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

4. Bennington College, Bennington, Vt.

5. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo.

Great financial aid:

1. Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.

2. Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.

3. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

4. Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

5. New College of Florida, Sarasota, Fla.

Happiest students:

1. Rice University, Houston, Texas

2. Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.

3. Brown University, Providence, R.I.

4. Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

5. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

Most beautiful campus:

1. Florida Southern College, Lakeland, Fla.

2. Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Ore.

3. University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

4. Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.

5. Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.

Top party schools:

1. Ohio University Athens, Athens, Ohio

2. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

3. University of Mississippi, University, Miss.

4. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

5. University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.

School Nutrition

Most US children attend school for 6 hours a day and consume as much as half of their daily calories at school. The school nutrition environment and services are part of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model and can help shape lifelong healthy eating behaviors.

CDC recommends that schools implement policies and practices to create a nutrition environment that supports students in making healthy choices. A healthy school nutrition environment provides students with nutritious and appealing foods and beverages, consistent and accurate messages about good nutrition, and ways to learn about and practice healthy eating throughout the time children spend on school grounds&mdashincluding before- and after-school.

To learn about the benefits of healthy eating and diet and academic performance visit Childhood Nutrition Facts. Additionally, to learn more about how schools can address energy drink consumption and other energy drinks facts, visit our energy drinks page. For information on how school nutrition policies and practices can support the social and emotional climate (SEC) in schools and social and emotional learning (SEL), visit School Nutrition and the Social and Emotional Climate and Learning.

75 Best Colleges for Food in America for 2014 - Recipes

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Watch the video: Americas Best Colleges Ranked (January 2022).