Photo Essay: College Cuisine Confessions

Pamela Huber

Our lives run on food. Food nourishes us, it comforts us and it can make us feel happy and guilty simultaneously. College complicates food. Buffets at the dining halls and cheap take-out entices on-the-go students who don’t have the time – or the money or proper kitchen – for groceries or cooking. 

College fridges offer a view into their owners’ lives – do people prefer fresh or frozen produce, drink alcohol, concern themselves with health ideals or even have the means to properly nourish themselves? Peering into fridges lets us peer into people’s personalities by seeing how each person styles, or does not style, his or her life around its sustenance.


Noelle’s parents pay for her groceries. 

Favorites: Fruits & Avocados

Vices: Mac n’ Cheese & Tostitos

Noelle’s food lifestyle is “healthy but not restricting.” She says her dad gives her eagle bucks for grocery money so that she can only buy groceries at Whole Foods, which helps her eat healthy. While living in an apartment gives her a large kitchen to work in, she says “I don’t like leftovers so I don’t cook as much as I would like to.” 


Karri’s parents give her a weekly grocery allowance, and she pays to eat out.

Favorites: Mashed Potatoes

Vices: Take-out Chinese

Karri lives with five other housemates, mostly fellow members of the women’s club rugby team. There fridge is massive and stocked full. Karri says she cooks a couple times a week on calm nights and eats leftovers for the rest of the week. “Rugby season I pretty much let myself eat whatever I want,” she said, singling out sources of protein such as cheese sticks and yogurt. 

The large household means occasional family dinners, and the housemates share communal perishables. When listing off her freezer contents, Karri includes “frozen hash browns for hangover tomorrow” and goes on to qualify, “It’s more of a rugby hangover than an alcohol hangover because I’m going to wake up tomorrow and feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.”


Favorites: Fruit

Vices: Coffee


Favorites: Lobster Rolls

Vices: Cigarettes and Wine

Roommates Jack and Eddie are both members of fraternities whose parents pay for their food – “but not the booze fridge,” Jack said. Jack “tends to eat pretty healthy,” preferring Whole Foods to fast food. Eddie’s food choices depend more on money – if his parents give him $50 a week, “I’ll definitely find a way to spend $10 on beer… I’d rather have that than food.” 

True to form, Eddie says nothing in the fridge belongs to him. The freezer is all but empty except for an ice luge and margarita mix, and Jack just has some vegetables and expired ham in the fridge. But between the freezer contents, a pitcher of jungle juice, and the separate booze fridge, the alcohol collection is stocked.