feature image via shutterstock
Stop what you’re doing right now and listen up because I have some seriously important LIFE-CHANGING NEWS to inform you about. Please sit down and take a deep breath, because what I’m about to tell you is shocking.
Columbia University college students have been stealing Nutella. From their very own dining halls! THE HORROR.
No I’m totally kidding, obviously I’m not horrified, I’m jealous! Back in the day when I went to New York University, we never got Nutella in the dining halls. I totally would have “stolen” it were it available, if by steal you mean “put some in a tupperware and then put the tupperware in my bag and remove it from the dining hall so I can enjoy the delicious chocolatey hazelnut spread at my leisure in bed later while I surf Tumblr.” I mean, doesn’t everyone do that with all dining hall food? Did I procure food the wrong way during my entire university experience? Oops.
The thing that makes this news so delicious, in fact, is not the meat (err, nuts?) of the tale, but the way we here at Autostraddle dot com found out about it. The New York Times, bastion of serious journalism and annoying trend pieces about humans in their twenties, decided to take a page from The Onion slash Gawker slash Autostraddle dot com and report on this news with a sense of humor! They took the whole story seriously, sure, and got quotes and facts and all that good journalismy stuff they accuse us bloggers of ignoring, but they also decided to join in the fun and utilize snark! Amidst their careful reporting, I detected a level of mocking and eye rolling that honestly rivaled Gawker’s own take on the issue.
Let’s peruse a few choice quotes from the story while admiring the bizarre stock photos that pop up when you search “Nutella.”
Last month one of Columbia’s undergraduate dining halls began serving Nutella every day, not just in crepes on weekends. For the uninitiated, Nutella is a creamier-than-peanut-butter, chocolate hazelnut spread from Italy that a college student might eat a whole jar of in a single sitting when the pressure is on.
The problem was that the Columbia students went through jars and jars of Nutella — at least 100 pounds a day, according to a freshman member of the Columbia College Student Council who had urged the university’s Dining Services operation to provide it in the first place. Apparently they were not just eating it in the dining hall. They were spiriting it away in soup containers and other receptacles, to be eaten later.
SPIRITING IT AWAY IN SOUP CONTAINERS AND — GASP — OTHER RECEPTACLES!
It was clear that Nutella was not the only thing that was disappearing from the dining halls at Columbia. Of 11 students questioned on the campus on Wednesday, all confessed to having spirited away loaves of bread and bottles of ketchup, not to mention containers of milk and pieces of fruit. But while those 11 said they had never walked out with extra Nutella, others had firsthand stories from the Nutella wars up close. Kathryn Thayer, a senior, said her time as a resident assistant in a dorm had included women “complaining about their roommates’ finishing their Nutella jars.”
I’m impressed that the NYT questioned 11 students. I personally texted my friend who graduated from Columbia to ask what he thought about Nutellagate but he didn’t respond so I just ate some chocolate peanut butter instead and wished it was Nutella. I’m relieved to see other students have taken pieces of fruit from their dining halls (whew, turns out I was eating food right during college after all!) and am positively cackling over the phrase “Nutella wars.” Can we start a band called “The Nutella Wars”? Please? I’ll play triangle.
The brouhaha went public on Feb. 22…
BROUHAHA. Alternatively our band name could be Brouhaha. The Nutella Brouhaha?
Mr. Bailinson [the freshman member of the Columbia College Student Council], who said he liked to spread Nutella on sandwiches, had his own explanation for why the Nutella issue had caught on.
“It combines three things people at Columbia love: People love Nutella, people love complaining about the dining halls and people feel there’s a problem with how the administration handles things,” he said. “This Nutella situation is a perfect storm of all these interests coming together.”
If you hated my previous suggestions for band names what about This Nutella Situation or A Perfect Nutella Storm?
It seems that there’s some confusion about how bad this Nutella theft situation really is, how much money it is actually costing the university, how much Nutella Columbia students are really consuming and what will happen next. But I think we can all see the seriousness with which this must be taken. And I think we all know what needs to happen next.
We need to talk about what food you most wish you could steal from a university’s dining hall in a soup container or other receptacle.
My friends and I used to steal forks a lot to make weird pokey dangerous bracelets because we were weirdos (sorry, NYU!) but I’ve looked deep inside my soul and, upon reflection, here’s a short list of foods I would absolutely die to be able to eat for free, or more accurately for the insane amounts of money you need to spend to obtain a university meal plan.
1. Vanilla tea
2. Grilled cheese
3. Peanut butter
4. Baby corn
7. The chocolate chip cookies I used to microwave in Hayden Hall my freshman year. Were they only so delicious because I was usually drunk while eating them? The world may never know.
Help me add to my list, or yell at me for being insensitive to Columbia’s budget and tell me that stealing is bad no matter what, even if you’re just innocently spiriting some Nutella out of a private university’s dining hall to eat in your bedroom in your underwear*.
*BOOM, yes I did just tie this whole ridiculous post into Underwear Week. Because I care about you.