Meet Amanda Fellmeth, a fine cheese-loving 2011 graduate from Penn State University and a Semester at Sea alumna. She’s considering law school next year, but has a nifty start-up business plan for late night smoothies for hungover college-goers near her alma mater. The Mid-Atlantic is her favorite food city (ok, region), but Spain and India caught her taste buds while at sea last Fall. Read more to hear Amanda’s advice to Freshman about navigating the cafeteria, pilfering for breakfast, and generally having a good time.
Kelsey B: Let’s start with the basics: if you were a food, what would you be?
Amanda F: I would definitely be fruit. Exotic fruit like Mango or Coconut. They just hang out in the sun and are super sweet and still good for you.
KB: Are exotic fruits something you could eat every day for the rest of your life, too?
AF: Not exactly. I could eat cheese and crackers (does that count as two foods?) for the rest of my life. It is just such a simple meal and soo good. But it has to be really good cheese, like 9 month aged cheddar, or manchego. They are creamy and delicious and just so fabulous. Pita chips, any kind.
KB: Is there anything you won’t eat?
AF: I probably won’t ever eat sweetbreads…Yeah, no way. I usually will try everything once, but I think that is crossing the line.
KB: You’ve lived outside of Philadelphia, PA your whole life… is Philly your favorite food city?
AF: I don’t think Philly specifically is my favorite, but more like the general Mid-Atlantic region and all its foods. Cheesesteaks, chicken wings, crabs, really good water-ice. I also like that there is soo much variety. In some of the rural areas, there isn’t much choice for eating out. It’s either really expensive or absolutely horrible for you. There are no Saladworks in the country. So I miss city eating now. Although Maryland is my favorite food location. Crabs and Old Bay. ‘Nuff said.
KB: We traveled abroad together on Semester at Sea, what are some of your favorite foods around the world?
AF: Seriously? Too much to say on that. Definitely not the food in Ghana or China. Love the people. NOT the food. I think the food in Spain was the most delicious, but I think India surprised me the most. I was really not expecting to like it and I’m generally not super adventurous about food, but I really did get into the Indian food, especially that green cilantro sauce they served in the beginning of meals. Do you remember that? Oh wow. So good.
KB: Back in the states, who has better bars? Philly or State College?
AF: Better bars? That’s not a fair question…I think Philly probably has better bars overall. I definitely like the bar scene better at State for sure. It’s more fun and manageable and more forgiving. You can’t walk around drunk in Philly and you need to take trains and know where you are going in a huge spread out area. Everyone is nicer in State College and its just simpler.
KB: Drink of choice?
AF: Jack and Diet.
KB: After a Jack and (Diet) Coke, what are you craving leaving the bar?
AF: I actually don’t get the drunk munchies very often, which has been helpful. Except I have NO self control when I’m at a bar, and food is out. Like, if someone next to me orders wings, its all over for me and I need them! Which is why I love this one bar, Pickles, at school which sells popcorn for a dollar. Its cheap, not bad for you, and satisfying for that munchie craving. Perfect. When I do crave real food though, I always want a smoothie late at night. And nobody out here has them! I have often thought about starting a place that does that. Also, once in a while I want mozzarella sticks.
KB: You graduated in May, is there anything you miss about the dining hall at Penn State?
AF: I hated dining hall food. I always want something specific and the dining halls never seemed to have it, so I loved cooking for myself. Moving to an apartment with a kitchen was a huge upgrade!
KB: What advice would you give to Freshman at Penn State about navigating the dining scene?
AF: For freshmen, I think I would say don’t worry about going to breakfast. You can pilfer an apple or banana at dinner and eat breakfast the next day. I would also say limit yourself to dessert on the weekends, cause man those cookies in West are a little addictive and once you start…
Also, try to eat a plateful and then sit there and talk to your friends before you get more. Or read a newspaper if you are alone or whatever. It takes you time to realize that you are full and then you won’t overeat. Also, have something in your room to eat on weekend mornings. The dining hall usually doesn’t open till 10 am, which is kinda late. Also, when you wake up hung over as crap and starving, you will eat anything the dining hall puts in front of you. But, if you eat a piece of fruit or your own bowl of cereal, you will be less ravenous by the time all your friends get up and get decent enough to actually walk across the quad for breakfast.
Also, Freshman must try visiting a restaurant called the Green Bowl. It is this banging Mongolian bar on Beaver Ave that is so fresh, so wonderful, and all-you-can-eat. Perfect. A must go for anyone visiting Penn State.
Kelsey Brown is a senior at the University of San Diego where she met Amanda on Semester at Sea. She writes about healthy hearts, tummies, and minds at Happyolks.com.