In an effort to curb the dual issues of food waste and student hunger, colleges at Durham University have started to sell meals of leftover college food for £2. 

Having graduated from Durham University in 2021, I was not especially keen to return to college dining, but in the name of good journalism, I reserved a meal through the Too Good To Go app. 

Before I even opened the cardboard takeaway container, one thing struck me, and that was the incredible heft of the meal that I had been served.

Coming in at a whopping 944 grams (the same weight as a North African fennec fox), it could easily be two or even three meals.

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The Northern Echo: The meal from St Mary's College was a generous portion. The meal from St Mary's College was a generous portion. (Image: Phoebe Abruzzese)

Included was plenty of plain pasta, a jacket potato, a genuinely really tasty slice of Millionaire's shortbread, a generous (if slightly overcooked) portion of veggies and the biggest slice of bacon that I have ever seen. 

My first issue arose as I tried to heat it up - as my kitchen lacks a microwave, I had to stick it in the oven, which in this day and age means you have to take out a bank loan.

Still, college and university staff could not have foreseen that their meals would be purchased by a freak with an aversion to common kitchen appliances. 

Whilst I was reheating my large slab of bacon and assorted college side dishes, the smell conjured up evoked memories of October 2018 - rushing into St Mary's College dining room after lectures and scarfing down a meal that had likely been delicious when it was initially served but had since sat under heat lamps for two hours, and paid the price.

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The Northern Echo: The food looked far more appealing after being plated and reheated. The food looked far more appealing after being plated and reheated. (Image: Phoebe Abruzzese)

In spite of all this - the meal wasn't half bad. With a bit of seasoning from my kitchen cupboards, we were good to go with a perfectly hearty meal of meat, veg, and two carbs, with a really tasty dessert.

For what it is, it is perfectly good - we can sneer at an inch-thick block of bacon for not being Michelin star worthy or nutritionally dense, but it gets the job done. When that job is ensuring that studying is kept accessible for students during the biggest economic crisis the country has felt in years, you can hardly turn your nose up.

For £2, the meals are an absolute steal and a brilliant initiative to combat the cost of living. Hopefully, the Too Good Too Go scheme will be rolled out across all Durham University dining rooms, for the benefit of students, staff, and local residents. 

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