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MIT and the admissions office will be closed November 24–25 for Thanksgiving break, and will open on November 28.

Too Good To Go by Audrey C. '24

fighting food waste with good bargains

I’m pretty sure that MIT dining hall food isn’t the reason why tens of thousands of people apply each year — mealplans are costly, dining hall hours can be restrictive, and the food is… mediocre at best. An alternative is cooking for yourself! Cook whatever you want, whenever01 </span>i swear that microwave ramen hits different at 2am you want. Plenty of delicious blogs have already been written on this topic. You may find this one about affordable grocery options particularly useful. 

If you’re planning to forgo a mealplan, I’d recommend that you actually learn how to cook a few filling, nutritious02 </span>eat your veggies, get your fiber. constipation sucks. dishes and get in the habit of meal prepping or cooking regularly.03 if that seems daunting, i promise you that it's very doable and upperclassmen are usually more than happy to give you advice or help you out! Of course, sometimes you just don’t have the time or the energy to cook, you’re absolutely tired of microwave ramen, and someone already grabbed the last slice of free pizza at that random finance club meeting. In those circumstances, my favorite food options on or close to campus include Saloniki’s,04 you get free fries if you show them your student ID Hayden Library Cafe sandwiches,05 all of the cafe staff are wonderful, but Mohammed (not sure if that's how his named is spelled bc I got his name verbally) is an ABSOLUTE GEM!! His energy would brighten up my day immensely. I'd buy an ($8.00) sandwich from him just to hear him say 'that'll be $800!!' Chipotle, Cava06 Cava lets you build your own bowls, kinda like Chipotle but Mediterranean. I LOVE their dispenser juice, as you can see the bits of real fruit floating in it.

…and Too Good To Go!!07 Disclaimer: i'm not sponsored, I just think that TGTG is a great resource that many students may find useful. My mother taught me that all good things should be shared. All opinions stated are my own. What’s that, you may ask? 

From the Too Good To Go (TGTG) website: 

We dream of a planet with no food waste, and every day we’re working on making that a reality. Our app is the most direct way for you to get involved – just download, log on, and get saving perfectly good, surplus food from your local stores. It’s always a surprise and an instant good deed for the planet. 

How it works is that participating stores list surplus meals, you use the app to reserve and pay for meals, and then you pick up your meal at a specified time window, usually right before closing hours. Meals listed on TGTG are supposed to be at most ⅓ of the retail price — i.e. if you pay $4 for a TGTG meal, the food should be worth $12 or more. Who doesn’t love a good bargain!

Listings are a surprise; you won’t know what you’ll get until you pick it up. As someone who hasn’t changed their Chipotle order in years, I appreciate how TGTG has encouraged me to try things I wouldn’t have voluntarily ordered, like roasted eggplant sauce in Cava bowls. Unfortunately, that means it’s risky to buy from TGTG if you’re deathly allergic to anything. 

Because listings can sell out quickly and pickup hours/locations can be inconvenient, you probably shouldn’t rely on TGTG as your sole source of sustenance. On that note, here’s a gentle reminder that TGTG serves not only MIT students, but the entire Boston/Cambridge community. By no means should you feel guilty about using TGTG;08 especially if you're on a tight budget yourself, and regardless you're saving food from being wasted just don’t be too greedy. 

Here are the places I’ve tried, ranked from best to worst: 

  1. Cava – $4 (Kendall Square)
    They gave me a standard bowl, filled with whatever proteins and veggies they had left at the end of the day. As delicious and high quality as what you’d get by paying full price. 
  2. Red Apple Farms – $4 (Government Center, Boston)
    I got a paper bag filled to the brim with mini cider donuts! A bit stale, but you can probably revive it by microwaving it with a wet paper towel.
  3. Shy Bird – $5 (Kendall Square)
    They’d usually give me a takeout tray of fried chicken and fries, but I got a burger once. Good value, pretty filling. The chicken is kinda dry though, but that’s what you get for buying surplus food that’s been left out for a bit. 
  4. Yi Fang Fruit Tea – $5 (Back Bay Boston, on Newbury St)
    The first time I went, they gave me three cups of leftover batch tea that were sooo bitter. Because it’s somehow rated 4.5 stars09 which is a relatively high rating and definitely feels inflated based on what I've gotten from Yi Fang on the TGTG app, I gave it another chance. The second time around, they gave me a large cup of brown sugar boba10 just the pearls, without the tea in addition to the batch tea. Slightly better, but ultimately not worth the commute. 

There are SO many more Boston/Cambridge area restaurants, bakeries, and grocery shops that participate in TGTG. Use TGTG as an excuse to try new foods and explore the many neighborhoods of Boston! In general, I’d avoid anywhere rated with fewer than 4 stars. If you really want to make sure that you won’t hate what you’re getting, there are location specific Facebook groups and a subreddit where people post their TGTG harvests. 

If you decide to give Too Good To Go a go,11 </span>hahaha see what i did there... may your saved meals be plentiful and delicious! 

 

  1. i swear that microwave ramen hits different at 2am back to text
  2. eat your veggies, get your fiber. constipation sucks. back to text
  3. if that seems daunting, i promise you that it's very doable and upperclassmen are usually more than happy to give you advice or help you out! back to text
  4. you get free fries if you show them your student ID back to text
  5. all of the cafe staff are wonderful, but Mohammed (not sure if that's how his named is spelled bc I got his name verbally) is an ABSOLUTE GEM!! His energy would brighten up my day immensely. I'd buy an ($8.00) sandwich from him just to hear him say 'that'll be $800!! back to text
  6. Cava lets you build your own bowls, kinda like Chipotle but Mediterranean. I LOVE their dispenser juice, as you can see the bits of real fruit floating in it. back to text
  7. Disclaimer: i'm not sponsored, I just think that TGTG is a great resource that many students may find useful. My mother taught me that all good things should be shared. All opinions stated are my own. back to text
  8. especially if you're on a tight budget yourself, and regardless you're saving food from being wasted back to text
  9. which is a relatively high rating and definitely feels inflated based on what I've gotten from Yi Fang back to text
  10. just the pearls, without the tea back to text
  11. hahaha see what i did there... back to text