This week, we met a drunken (and possibly former!) University of Connecticut student named Luke Gatti whose hunger for the bacon jalapeño mac and cheese served by the school’s Union Street Market was so great that he got himself arrested (and publicly humiliated) trying to get some. Was this foodstuff worth such a risk? We thought we’d get the opinion of a more agreeable UConn student; herewith, Daily Campus Associate Life Editor Anokh Palakurthi.
On a scale of Derek the RA to Luke Gatti, how shitfaced do you have to be to decide that your best late-night nourishment option is bacon jalapeño mac and cheese from the student marketplace?
When taking a bite of this product, the first thing you notice isn’t the eerie warmth or lack of effort put into it. You don’t even question why you, a student of higher learning, are eating a children’s meal that late—keep in mind that when I ate it for the first time, I was initially told that in regular circumstances, it isn’t even offered to students until after 9 p.m. That should tell you enough.
Anyway, what hits you first is the texture. We’re not talking quality cheese here—it’s like the liquid stuff that comes out of a bag, microwaved just a few days prior to expiring until it’s a God-forsaken gooey mess, and dumped in a bowl over week-old, flavorless macaroni. This isn’t al dente stuff; this is the soggy catastrophe your stepdad tried to serve you after his pasta boiled for too long. It is laziness and desperation embodied in food. (The recipe is now available, if you don’t believe me.)
You don’t even eat it, exactly, since eating usually involves some form of chewing. Instead, you consume it: It’s more like a hot soup of cholesterol and late-night regret than an actual dinner. I’m still not totally convinced that the bacon bits aren’t mashed-up insects—like the ones my school started recently selling as food. Yes, UConn now has a food truck that sells crickets. No, I haven’t tried them.
Just in case you think I’m being overly pompous about a simple appetizer meant for kids, I’m pretty sure that the people who make the meal understand that it barely passes FDA requirements. You know what you’re getting, and so do the people giving you the food. When I asked my server if what I got was indeed the infamous mac and cheese, she laughed and told me, “That’s literally it.” Even one of the cashiers chuckled, along with the students behind me in line.
In a student union filled with snickering students and giggling union staff workers—and with FOX CT employees milling outside, as even the guys in news trucks had nothing better to do—I couldn’t help but feel both physically and spiritually queasy. What does it say about us that a sweatpants-wearing, curse-blaring, and clearly emotionally unstable underclassman unintentionally has the power to make a stupid meal synonymous with our university?
Then again, if you’re sick of the moralizing and just want to know if it was worth freaking out about, I’d rate the damn mac and cheese four shits given out of 10 who-the-fuck-cares. Maybe if Gatti flipped out over the Blue Cow ice cream, people would be a bit more sympathetic.
Anokh Palakurthi is a professional know-it-all, pop-culture geek, associate editor of the Daily Campus, and journalism student at the University of Connecticut. He also happens to be a pretty good Super Smash Bros. Melee player. Send your rage to and follow @DC_Anokh on Twitter.
Photo courtesy Marissa Dibella / The Daily Campus.