After nearly eight meatless years, I took the seemingly easy plunge into full-blown veganism during the summer. With some experimentation and much-needed cooking assistance from my mom, I thought I had my new vegan diet nailed down and returned to campus armed with homemade brownie mix and other meat-free delicacies. However, my spirits were soon dampened by an unfortunate combination: the lack of a kitchen in my residence hall and Lowry and Kittredge’s not-so-vegan-friendly menus.
Though Kittredge is known for its meatless menu (now an almost-meatless menu), I and other Wooster vegans have noticed its unfailing tendency to use cheese and other dairy based foods as a go-to vegetarian ingredient. Though this undoubtedly makes almost any dish more appealing to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, it leaves few options for any vegan or lactose intolerant vegetarian. Lowry’s vegetarian station is plagued by the same dairy habit, and its meatless meatballs and falafel — two of the best vegetarian dishes it offers — contain eggs.
Vegan options at Wooster have been limited to what are often relatively flavorless, starch-centric recipes such as rice, quinoa and pasta and steamed vegetables. I was a fan of vegetables even before my vegetarian days, but steaming is not exactly the most appetizing way to cook any food, unless you’re into mushy asparagus — a recent Lowry dish. On a good day at Kittredge, teriyaki or sweet-and-sour tofu may be available with a side of vegan lo mein and fried rice, but these occasions are too few and far between.
Aware of these difficulties, I moved into my room in Luce on Aug. 20, ready to prepare many of my own meals. To my surprise, I woke up the next morning to find that due to Security’s relocation to the Luce basement, students would no longer have access to the kitchen, but could use the kitchen in Holden Hall. Though this is an option, it’s not exactly convenient for a busy student with about 45 minutes to spare for lunch to haul all the necessary cookware, plates, bowls, silverware and ingredients to another building, wash it, and then return it to his or her room. On the bright side, I have learned to make spaghetti in the microwave and have only burned my hand on the bowl twice.
Although this stoveless and ovenless situation is unique to Luce, it has emphasized for me the very obvious lack of vegan options on campus. If my family lived in another state rather than 30 minutes from Wooster, I would have found it nearly impossible to maintain a relatively healthy diet. Thanks to a mom who works in Wooster every two weeks and a grandma who gladly drives half an hour to take me to Broken Rocks and the grocery store, my fridge has been stocked with fruit, vegetables, hummus and other varieties of cook-free vegan foods. The monotony of my limited food options may have forced me to reconsider my living arrangements for the year…if only I had not already experienced the joy of air conditioning for a night before learning I would have to be a kitchenless vegan.