US: Campus cuisine

Once upon a time, eating in a college dorm meant soup in a hotpot or getting pizza delivered. The most interesting thing about the campus dining hall was often the salad bar, writes Beth J Harpaz for Associated Press. No more. These days, students have gourmet palates and a growing interest in preparing their own food. Mini-refrigerators and microwaves in dorm rooms are as essential as laptops. Chefs drop by dorm kitchens to give lessons, and dining halls provide take-out containers and ingredients for kids who want to cook their own meals.

"The culinary literacy of college students is increasing," said Tom Post, president of campus dining for Sodexo, a food service and facilities management company that works with 600 campuses in North America. "Students today grew up watching celebrity chefs on TV, eating organic food, enjoying authentic world cuisine and valuing good nutrition."

In response, cafeteria menus have changed, with Sodexo's top campus foods for 2009 including Vietnamese pho (noodle soup), mini-samosas, goat cheese salad and chicken mole. But colleges are also catering to student demands for more flexible and individualised dining options.
Full report on the Associated Press site