A Look Inside the Refrigerators of College Students

It's mostly booze, tupperwares of old food, and sauces. So many sauces.

by Jake Kivanc
Mar 4 2016, 3:14pm

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

Students, by nature, are enabled to live like slobs. After 18 or so years of leaching off our parents, many of us venture out into the world with little to no living skills. We get our own place, we have no one to boss us around, and, because of that, things go to shit: our cleanliness, our dignity, and, most importantly, our diets. Because, let's face it—takeout food, cheap beer, and pre-packaged meals are pretty standard ways for helping work through the trash fire that is attempted adulthood, especially when you're on a budget.

But depending on who you are, who you live with, and how much of a disaster you are as a human being, eating habits will probably differ from person to person and house to house. To get a peek inside the disappointing (and sometimes surprising) food choices of today's struggling students, I scoured Toronto student's fridges. Here's what I found.

Jessica and Josh's Place (Little Portugal)

Notable items: a jug of orange juice, a small tub of LUSH face mask, two jugs of almond milk, and a pair of depressingly empty drawers

VICE: Your fridge is empty. What's with all the juice?
Jessica: Well, I always like drinking OJ in the morning, but, to be honest, I just don't like water. I don't tell people that though, because that sounds sus.

You DJ under the name Juicy Jess—is this a play on your juice fetish?
Basically. I also just am, like, a juicy person.

OK. Why do you keep makeup in your fridge? Is this a new thing?
No! It's a face mask that goes bad, so you have to keep it cooled. I once left some food in here that went bad, and that's why I had to get that baking soda freshener. The smell was horrible.

Wait, that's a filter? I thought that was just baking soda.
Nah dude, it literally cleans the air.

Final question: You aren't vegan or vegetarian, but you have almond milk on deck. Why?
What we do to cows is fucked up! Humans really shouldn't be drinking cow milk, and I just like almond milk better because of that.

Sierra, Nicole, Lauren, and Cassie's Apartment (Pitman Hall, Ryerson University)

Notable items: two cans of Red Bull, two-month-old takeout, a chilled chocolate cake, a half-empty jar of zesty garlic pickles, pomegranate juice, two dozen empty booze bottles, and a handful of oranges

VICE: What do you guys generally eat here?
Sierra: We all like different things. Like, we have different diets and stuff, but we eat a lot of cheese and takeout food. The Red Bulls and juice are all for chase, because we all like Jäger. That's our go-to. Margarine is also always around.

So, the LCBO lists, liquor on top of your fridge, an abundance of chase—this a house built on booze. What do you like to eat when you're drunk?
[Laughs] I like to eat these zesty garlic pickles. Oh, and the stuffed olives.

How many do you eat generally?
Probably like five, and I'm done. I don't like eating a ton, because I'd get sick.

This isn't a healthy diet, is it?
Oh no, it's not healthy at all.

Lisa, Sydney, Clare, and Katie's Flat (Downtown)

Notable items: a slowly rotting avocado, two tubs of natural peanut butter, Frank's Red Hot, Lisa's dual tubs of disgusting pasta, and a tupperware full of frozen lasagna

VICE: What's the worst thing I'm going to find in here?
Lisa: I'm so ashamed, but there are two tubs of pasta I made that are just absolutely disgusting and have been sitting in there for weeks. I really don't want to open them up and clean them out, so they're just there, and they probably will be for a while.

Why did you make such shitty pasta, and what did you put in it?
Well, I took basically everything I had and put it in there to make a sauce. Tomato paste, a can of tomatoes, chickpeas, garlic, six cubes of spinach, and some really shitty frozen vegetables. You know in Elf when Will Ferrell makes that gross spaghetti with maple syrup? It was basically that. Imagine soft carrots and bad tomatoes.

This kitchen has seen some shit, clearly. Do you ever get into fights with your roommates about food habits?
Not really. We actually all get along really well and cook together. We even share food. Like, a lot of hummus goes through this kitchen. We're basically running on hummus and wine.

Is there something you can't go without?
Montreal steak spice. We put that shit on everything.

Beckie, Lorie, and Omos (Chinatown)

Noteable items: a bottle of white wine, two opened packs of pre-sliced mushrooms, Nesquik chocolate syrup, Classico pasta sauce, and a bottle of artisanal health juice

VICE: So, I once ate your vegan cereal, and you were fucking pissed. What is crucial to you in this fridge?
Beckie: I eat a lot of mushrooms and fruit. A few days ago, Omos ate a whole tub of blueberries and wanted some of mine, and I was like, "You just ate a whole tub." We ended up yelling at each other for a bit.

Do you guys like food or wine more? I see a good mix of healthy stuff and liquor here.
We're a mix of both, but we definitely like our wine. I told them we should clean the counter off and get rid of all the empty bottles, but I'm kind of glad we didn't so you could see it. Really, it's just me and Lorie eating food. Omos hardly buys anything.

What is something you and your roommates all agree on?
We eat a lot of Asian food. Lorie is Asian, and we just kind of follow her lead on that.

Kevin (Waterfront)

Notable items: a frozen package of chicken, a few bottles of Steam Whistle, Sriracha, soy sauce, and lettuce

VICE: Your house is beautiful, dude. You're really living the bachelor dream here.
Kevin: Thanks man. I like my privacy.

Why is your fridge so clean?
I'm almost never home and always out working, so it only makes sense to buy what I'm going to eat. Less clutter helps me focus.

You used to live with four other roommates before you moved to this condo. How shitty was the fridge situation before?
Honestly man, it was horrible, but you think it's going to be so cool at first. Living with other people is overrated in my opinion. People leave things in there forever, and you start having to ask, "Are you gonna clean that out or am I?" I don't like the stress of it.

Sriracha or soy sauce?
I imagine you'd think soy sauce because I'm Asian, and for a while it was that, but definitely sriracha now. It used to be soy sauce.

Salmaan, Steven, and the author (Kensington Market)

Notable items: numerous tupperware containers of Indian and Pakistani food, some cans of Heineken, orange juice, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and an empty bottle of chipotle mayo

VICE: Dude, our fridge is a shitshow.
Salmaan: Oh yeah. We've had our trouble.

So, for some context, I have a problem with eating my roommates' food. How fucking annoying is that to you?
It's really bad, but I think we've come to a compromise. [Author's note: I now pay Salmaan $10 a month to store his pita wraps in his room so I don't eat them as a nighttime snack.]

You're all about the beer and Pakistani food, I've got veggies and tofu, and Steven is the king of leaving pasta sauce on everything. How do you feel about your food choices?
I live my life, dude. Straight up.

Logan and Lex (Uptown)

Notable items: whiskey, spinach, oranges, beans, bananas, a container of tofu, and two boxes of strawberries

Your fridge is so healthy, it makes me feel guilty. What's the dynamic like between you and Lex in terms of food choice?
Logan: Well, I'm vegan, so I have a lot of that kind of stuff, but Lex is really nice in that she doesn't bring home meat. We cook a lot and share dinner, so I never have to worry about accidentally ingesting meat.

That sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Do you and Lex get along in terms of cooking and such?
Yeah, we cook together three times a day.

What do you guys eat when you're drunk?
I usually don't! But Lex will get poutine or takeout or something like that. We keep it pretty separate.

You are two different beasts, it seems. You guys must fight occasionally, no?
One time I threw a sweet potato at her while she was on the coach, and it hit her in the face really hard. She was so pissed.

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