When I was a student at Cornell, I definitely never starved. At the time, Cornell was ranked #2 in the country for the best college food. Honestly, it was heaven…there were several “all you can eat” dining halls that had endless possibilities, in addition to a la carte dining halls. Campus is easily divided into North Campus (where all of the freshmen live), Central Campus (where all of the classes are located), and West Campus (where all of the non-freshmen who want to live on campus live). North Campus has 3 all you can eat dining halls: Risley, Appel (North Star), and RPCC. Central Campus has one: Oakenshields. West campus has several since each dorm has it’s own dining hall. All of these dining halls do have some gluten free options..some more than others though. I would have to say that Oakenshields has the least variety of options…plus it is pretty much the worse dining hall on campus….so you really aren’t missing much!!! (Don’t panic, there are two a la carte dining halls in the same building as Oakenshields that carry a ton of options!)
Cornell prides itself on diversity, something I truly appreciated for so many reasons. With students from all over the world and with every allergy under the sun, Cornell was accommodating for any dietary restriction. Vegan, kosher, gluten free, nut free, you name it! Cornell was HUGE on sustainability and supporting local farmers. The dairy products in the dining halls mostly comes from Cornell’s own dairy farm! How cool is that?! Also, composting and recycling are required.
The all you can eat dining halls have multiple stations, with very little overlap between dining halls. Of course, you have your grill station and salad station. But you also have your build-your-own pasta stations, sushi stations, kosher stations, Pho station, burrito station, etc etc. These stations typically change on a daily basis so there is always something new.
All those changes seems overwhelming for someone with celiac disease, right? Actually…not so much! At each dining hall, every item is labeled with allergen information. Taken from their website: “All menu items in Cornell’s All You Care to Eat dining rooms are labeled with the eight major food allergens: wheat, dairy, eggs, fish, nuts, peanuts, soy, and shellfish, and noted if the item does not contain gluten.” However, it is always best to check with the chefs to make sure that the item is actually gluten free. Mistakes can happen with labeling, but the chefs are eager and happy to answer any questions regarding allergen contents. I never was glutened from the dining hall! And I ate on campus almost every night during my junior year of college.
Many of the dining halls carry gluten free pastas and bagels. Some even have dedicated gluten free peanut butter/jelly and toasters! Some chefs went out of their way to make me specialized meals every night!
One common theme across all of the dining halls was that every single one was extremely thoughtful and caring about my diagnosis. They double checked everything and were happy to do so.
Although almost every dining hall does have gluten free options, I am going to focus on a few of my favorites for the next several posts–the posts may or may not be in order but will all be categorized under “Cornell” and will be numbered. So if you are interested in Cornell, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to hear more! (Or I may end up posting the rest at a later time anyway!).
So stay tuned for more!