During my time at Notre Dame, the South Dining Hall’s kitchens were closed for renovation. Note that I wrote “kitchens.” That’s because the dining halls themselves were not closed. They were just left opened to provide students who didn’t want to trek across campus in the freezing February nights to North Dining Hall with a dining “option.” And, really, the only “option” available was Hot Pockets.
That particular year, I ate a lot of Hot Pockets, and I’m pretty sure whatever rare form of cancer eventually kills me can be traced back to my Hot Pockets diet of the late ’90s. Hot Pockets are, after all, the asbestos of the culinary world.
My favorite Hot Pocket was the “Philly Cheese Hot Pocket;” a cleverly named amalgam of processed cheese stuff, “meat parts,” and mushrooms wrapped in what I’m pretty sure is the result of a recycling process for previously recycled coffee cups. Hot Pockets were the only food I’ve willingly eaten to include mushrooms because the quality of the meat parts was so bad that I was never sure if I was eating mushroom or meat part. The plasma-like form that the innards of a Hot Pocket took on after 30 seconds in the industrialized microwaves of the South Dining Hall made any such distinctions impossible anyway.
I bring all this up because it’s the off-season, I just ran across this video on Serious Eats, and it made me oddly nostalgic for Notre Dame.