Chocolate Yum-Yum bar, anyone?

I came across a Facebook group that's been noticeably and decidedly absent from my profile: "February is Post Everything You Eat in Your Blog Month." PEYEIYBM (The Acronym Has Gotten Out of Control, anyone?) is a celebration not to be outdone by, say, Black History Month, which happens to have been around since 1976-- longer, I think, than the Internet has been available to us measly bloggers.

They say you can tell a lot about a culture by what natives eat, but even the Dutch don't know what "Dutch food" is. I think that says enough. In any case, I am sad to report that Dutch food (whatever that means) is not nearly exciting enough for me to blog about.

But, as loyal readers should know by now, 1) I love food and 2) I don't usually care if it isn't interesting. (I tried to find some old tree people posts here, but since the Clog's redesign, I seem only to exist on the About page.)

The food here is, according to a source who visited me recently, better than the food in Ghana. Frankly, I should hope so.

However, the food at the dining hall is provided by the same company that caters the nearby prison. The most critical observation about this, besides that the peas are always mushy and the carrots are just steamed and rejected ends of what were formerly carrots, is that the coffee is decaffeinated.

I have never understood the point of decaffeinated coffee. There are those who like the taste of coffee (myself included), but I also like to multitask-- no need to take a caffeine pill with my cup of joe; just have the caffeine IN THE COFFEE. The spelling is close enough: c-o-f-f-e-e, c-a-f-f-e-i... maybe I'm rationalizing this a bit far, but it's still a bitter point when my ten housemates inhale a bag of coffee like there's no tomorrow.

And speaking of coffee, I ambivalently report I am no longer addicted to espresso. I haven't had an espresso-involved drink since I came to the Netherlands, but this must be because supply is so limited that the cost of an espresso is absolutely egregious. There's no other excuse for coffee (or koffie, in Dutch) to be usually less than one euro (.20 on campus) when a latte is something like 3 euro. With the exchange rate, that's a $4.50 latte. And, of course, since the Europeans believe in small portions for everything, the $4.50 latte is in a mug no larger than the fist with which I am poised to punch the pretentious barista.

But back to the food. I could write a novella about the dining hall, a space so poorly designed to accommodate crowds that one has to plan meals around the common class schedules. This sounds typical of all dining halls, but I am not kidding when I say that this place is no bigger than your average cafe but allegedly feeds 650 students in the 1.5 operating hours allotted for each meal.

There are usually two meat options besides the one vegetarian option and a questionably leftover option from the night before, which are typically one heart attack each (example: bacon-wrapped fried chicken), excepting the nights when surprisingly edible yet minuscule serving of salmon is on the menu. But, of course, having the item on the menu doesn't mean it will be there.

For whatever reason, I find myself eating at each meal with reckless abandon, as if not eating between 1 and 5:30pm is the school's way of forcing me into borderline anorexia. My excessive eating habits, combined with my (not excessive but certainly consistent) drinking habits, may soon make me reminiscent of a South Park-esque Sally Struthers.

At least I'll still be wearing a party hat.

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