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How I “Survived” Winter Break

As a winter break resident, Sherry shares the dining options during the break.

As a winter break resident, Sherry shares the dining options during the break.

Survive: to remain alive or in existence. —Merriam-Webster

Yes, I was surviving my winter break in some way, as COVID trapped me in the U.S. and it would have been logistically hard to go back home as an international student. But I’m not saying it’s a torment to stay on campus. By “survive,” I literally mean to eat food and gain energy for life. So today I’m taking back my food blogger’s role, and I’ll share about the dining options Carls have available to them during the break. Hope you enjoy the food tour!

Carleton Dining Options During Break: Sayles Café & Dacie Moses House

During the winter break, the two main dining halls—Burton and LDC—were closed. However, the Sayles Café, located at the center of the campus, was still operating from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm on weekdays. Students could buy meal plans, or simply drop in for breakfast or lunch. As there were only international students and some varsity athletes staying for the break, the whole campus felt empty. That’s why it felt good to see people sitting together during lunchtime, having real human interactions.

Some special meals were provided in Sayles every Wednesday. They were sponsored by the Student Activities Office and the Office of International Student Life. I remember waiting for the grilled cheese sandwich in front of the food truck and enjoying the Chinese buffet and pizzas on the upper level of Sayles. Though the food was not that fancy, everyone was satisfied with the change of pace in food options.

The famous Dacie Moses House was also operating during the break, as they hired some students to live and work there. Aside from the normal Sunday brunch, it also provided dinner every Thursday. I had some friends living there during the break, and I went there several times to chat with them and grab food. From buns to curry to cheesecake, their recipes were always creative.

Chinese Food


Cupboard is basically a food storage room located at lower Sayles, open every day from 10 am to 8 pm. A request form needs to be filled out if you want to access it, and the food there was completely free of charge. You can find various food options and ingredients, such as milk, eggs, cheese, cereals, and pasta. You can go there at any time and get whatever you want. I was amazed when I first went there, seeing food all over the shelves. I never expected that the school would provide so much free food for us. It indeed reduces food insecurity for students.

A Corner of the Cupboard

Northfield Town

Since the options at Sayles were limited during the break, what I often did was to eat in Northfield. As written on Northfield’s official website, “The dining options in Northfield will satisfy your appetite, whether you are looking to be adventurous or if you just desire a reliable favorite.” Though Northfield is a small town, this statement never proves wrong.

I wouldn’t say the dining options are abundant, but there are a variety of establishments that will undoubtedly satisfy your appetite. When I simply want to get a quick lunch, I often go to Hogan Brothers and Tandem Bagels to get a simple sandwich or a bagel. When we want to celebrate something, like the end of the term or New Year’s Eve, my friends and I like to eat at Reunion for some more fancy food. When I miss the taste of home, I would go to New Buffet, a Chinese restaurant in town. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I’ll save my food commentary for next time.

Tandem Bagels, a bagel shop that I often go
A “Pizza Bagel”

Door Dash

There are times in your life when you just don’t want to go out. Maybe it’s freezing outside again, or you’re just too lazy to move. This is when you need Door Dash, the one and only online food delivery platform in Northfield (except for Domino’s Pizza). Opening this App is like opening up a whole new world. You gain access to McDonald’s, Tokyo Grill, and some other restaurants near Northfield. The food usually arrives within 30 minutes, and the delivery fee is very cheap. I only started using it toward the end of the break, so I only ordered on Door Dash twice. The user experience overall was great.

Tokyo Grill ordered on Door Dash

Friends Who Cook!

As you’ve seen above, I’m capable of taking good pictures of food, but I have almost zero skills with cooking. I mean, if you like sandwiches and salads, which are super easy to get or make, why bother cooking? Fortunately, there are some great people in the world who regard cooking as a kind of art and genuinely enjoy feeding others. As there’s a kitchen on each floor of the residence hall, many of my friends chose to cook themselves.

Though they would rarely invite me for a meal, I’m truly grateful for their altruistic acts and their willingness to befriend a slacker like me (joking, my friends are always generous with me)! And what did I do while mooching off of my friends? Take good photos for posts, try to start interesting conversations, and most importantly, boast about their cooking skills as much as I can! (jkjk) The world really needs more of these type of people to promote the survival of our species. It’s such an admirable act of love! In fact, they really kindled my interest in cooking, and I may start learning next break.

Korean Noodles and Extra Jumbo Shrimps
My friends are amazing

As the new term begins, dining halls are now open again, but I have started missing the time when I was forced to explore all the options. With the experience accumulated over the winter break, I’m confident that my stomach can be treated better next time. Though the dining choices on campus were somewhat limited over break, clearly there are a lot of ways to get fed (@ my friends).

Sherry is a first-year student from Hangzhou, China, and holds a real passion for travel and food. She is thinking about majoring in Mathematics, but would also like to explore more in Economics, Computer Science, English, and French. Things she likes to do in her free time include hanging out with friends, taking photos, writing random stuff, and finding the funny in everyday life. She also got started with alpine skiing and is always ready for the trip to Welch Village every Friday! Meet the other bloggers!