Free food grossed me out? I never thought I’d see the day.

By Tana Kosiyabong

If anyone had offered me free food a couple of weeks ago, I would have jumped all over it. Whenever I get free food, I always feel like I’ve won a small lottery prize. And, for some weird reason, the free ones usually taste better than the one I buy for myself. My friends and colleagues know about my soft spot. Some had used this weakness to manipulate me. Others might claim that I was the one who did so. Regardless of who was doing the manipulating, free food and I are buddies. At least, that was how I felt up until July 13th, 2009.

It was the first day of the Summer Intensive Course at Vancouver Film School. The morning session was engaging. I had learned a lot, even though I felt like Chandler Bing at his ad agency internship. Many students were fresh out of high school. Some of them weren’t even old enough to know who Chandler Bing is. Then it was time for lunch. I had been looking forward to this “five-day-of-free-lunch extravaganza” since I enrolled in the course a while back.

Monday’s lunch was a buffet at the VFS cafeteria. After waiting in line for about 15 minutes, it was my turn. Unfortunately they had just run out of the main entrée, Mac ‘n’ Cheese. I was told that it would be another 15 minutes or so before the new batch would be ready. No, that wasn’t the bad part yet. I could wait. I love Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and, best of all, it was free! So, I started my lunch with a fresh chopped salad and a bear claw. In the meantime, I made sure to keep an eye on the Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Once the new batch was out on the buffet table, I rushed back there before it ran out again. The Mac ‘n’ Cheese looked quite nice at first glance. But once I sank my teeth into it, I was grossed out. It was the most tasteless dish I had ever had. It was neither cheesy nor creamy. Chef Boyardee’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese would be a gourmet dish compared to what I had in my mouth. I never thought I’d live to see the day that free food grossed me out.

The next four lunches were not much better than the first one. Some were arguably worse. Here’s the breakdown of my five free lunches.

MONDAY:
– Mac ‘n’ Cheese (gross)
– Chopped salad (fine)
– Baked goods (store bought)

TUESDAY:
– Shepherd’s pie (not very tasty, but better than the Mac ‘n’ Cheese)
– Chopped salad with herbs (fine)
– Baked goods (store bought)

WEDNESDAY:
– Pierogi (store bought, oven roasted on site, but undercooked, hard and chewy)
– Caesar salad with bacon bits (probably the highlight of the week. Anything tastes good with bacon)
– Fruit salad (fruit floating in water. not sure why)
– Baked goods (store bought)

THURSDAY:
– Whole wheat bagel (store bought)
– Cream cheese (store bought)
– Apple
– Banana bread (possibly store bought)

FRIDAY:
– Pizza (ok, but too oily)
– Caesar salad (fine)
– Tortilla chips and spinach dip (the dip was tasteless)
– Baked goods (store bought)

After five days of the Summer Intensive Course, VFS had exceeded my expectations in teaching a truly valuable lesson: Free food is not created equal. Although this lesson won’t stop me from being buddies with the free food, from now on, I will be more careful not to jump head first into a plate full.

Due to the obscene tastes of some food, I decided not to post their pictures on my blog. Rather, I deleted them all from my SD card. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the same to my own memory.

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19 thoughts on “Free food grossed me out? I never thought I’d see the day.

  1. That’s really a shame. I’ve taken courses out of town where they provided lunch. I usually decided the sandwich and salad was better than one of the entrees. You’re right, free food doesn’t always mean better.

    1. Diana,
      I’m glad I found someone who shared similar experience. Even after this experience, free food and I are still buddies. I hope it’s yours too. Don’t give up on them. There are good free food out there. 🙂
      Take care,
      Tana

  2. I went through the Academy with my job to be in Management for a week, I have to admit they spent alot of money on this for us. It was all still free. A little different but still free.

  3. Free food is the worst way to experience a new taste. I had capers on a free tasting of something and they were disgusting! Dry, sour, over salty. Then I had them on some parmesan sticks… YUM!
    I like this! Too bad I don’t live in Vancouver.
    ::followed you here from FoodBuzz-BakerTiffany:: Hi!

    1. Tiffany,
      Thanks for sharing:) Just be a bit cautious when you try unfamiliar free food. But don’t shy away because of a bad experience. There is plenty of yummy ones out there waiting for you:-)

      I’m planning on adding some cheap and simple recipes on the blog soon so that people outside of Vancouver can enjoy them too. Please don’t be a stranger, come visit my blog once in a while, ok?:)

      Cheers,
      Tana

  4. A cheap mac and cheese guaranteed WORSE than your free one? KFC. Nasty, my kid wouldn’t eat it and my DOG wouldn’t eat it and she eats everything. It’s a bright orange color and pasty and a weird tangy flavor. Ick!

    1. No worries Jennifer:0) In a way, I did put myself in that position. After the first day, I already knew that the food wasn’t gonna be good. I could have brought something for the rest of the week, but I went through it because I thought it made an interesting story. So, I took it like a man!

  5. I feel bad that Mac n’ Cheese just broke your heart,LOL! We get what we paid for, most of the time! Would you mind if you put me in your blog roll, and in return I’ll put yours? Cheers 🙂

    1. Thanks the Sassy Tomato. I still believe there are plenty of good free food out there. I’ll make sure to put your blog on my blog roll. Thanks for the offer the put mine on yours as well.:)

      Cheers,
      Tana

    1. Kim,
      I’d rather see you laugh at this story or even at me than cry. I didn’t have to go through it for a whole week if i don’t want to. But I did it so I could have a funny story to share with everybody:)

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