the college survival wrap


Okay. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have generally found that school cafeterias, whether they be elementary with their chicken nuggets or (ahem) collegiate with their make-your-own-quesadilla bar, the food is generally unappetizing, weirdly cooked (seriously, try to deny that), or always the same old thing. All the time, every day. Forever.

That, more or less, pretty much sums up my college experience in terms of food. While I'm not particularly a picky eater, and while I'm always grateful for the opportunity to eat, my diet (very badly) and mostly consisted of the following: salads, from the often neglected salad bar, LOTS of bagels, LOTS of cereal (Most often of the sugar-laden variety; think Reese's Puffs, plus loads of Waffle Crisp that I hoarded in my dorm room until they stopped making it. Which, in all pathetic honesty, was probably the saddest day of my life.), and lots of coffee. I mean, more coffee than water. No wonder I never slept.

And, hands raised in gratitude, please let us never forget the toxic-waste orange macaroni that I would eat in the hallway with my dear friend, green face masks on, at all hours of the night.

Dear heavens, bless my parents for the fast-metabolic rate I seem to possess, because that freshman fifteen was surely after me. Though it never did quite catch up.

Though it was during my senior year of school that I was brought back to what good food meant through the employment and generosity of the lovely owners of Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea (This is a real shout-out! I want to come back and visit and write about you!), it was also about mid-way through my college experience that I discovered, only during lunch hours, the blessed wrap bar.

I dare to imagine there was a holy light shining above it the first time we met.

This wrap, this wrap that I crave ferociously in the post-educational world (wait, is there such a thing?), has simple flavors, it's more than easy to make, and it's one I have often tried to duplicate, all with slight variety, but always with grand success. While I don't necessarily wish to go back to being a struggling (and hungry?) student, there are quite a few things I miss about that place from time to time. This wrap, forgive me all, tops the list. Mostly because it was probably the only thing that kept me from getting colonial day scurvy. SERIOUSLY. ALL I ATE WAS BREAD.


Tortillas, preferably of the large or at least medium size. Either way, it will be messy, but glorious.
A handful of tomatoes, chopped
One carrot, shredded
One chunk of extra sharp cheddar, shredded
One handful of spinach
1/4 cup of chickpeas, drained
One small bell pepper, chopped
Honey mustard dressing, which you may buy or make, but I recommend you MAKE.

I would also like to say that there will be no bell pepper pictured here. I made this wrap twice this weekend, and after the first round, found that I used all the pepper we had. It was still sooo good.

So, the easiness begins with: prepping all your vegetables. Which should be a BREEZE. Chop your tomatoes and carrots, shred the carrots and cheese. Seriously, the sharper the cheese, the better. Am I right? (I'm right.) Also, drain your chickpeas; set aside.

Oh, and chop the pepper, if you have one. We had the prettiest little orange one. I was almost, only almost, sad to eat him.

I chose to use baby spinach, which I prefer to the regular variety, anyway. Also, it comes neatly pre-bagged and pre-washed. I know, I know. If you'd rather have regular spinach, it would probably be best to roughly chop it.

Side note, is anyone starting to wonder if this is a Trader Joe's advertisement? Product placementttt. Seriously, is there some compensation in this for me?

Okay, honey mustard time. Seriously, this couldn't be easier. I find that I personally like about a tablespoon of mustard (Super-legit mustard, at that. Look at those SEEDS.) to about a teaspoon and a half of honey. Really, it's up to you. If you like a little more bite or a little more sweet, keep mixing until you find a ratio that suits you. And, if you're anything like me, make enough to put some on the wrap, and enough for some extra on the side for some very messy dipping.

Squeezing a honey bottle while simultaneously taking a picture: probably the hardest thing about this recipe.

All that's left to do now is load everything up onto your tortilla. I always tend to overdo it, making it just about impossible to close the wrap without the help of a toothpick or your own two hands. Still, the overkill factor is only because I am 100% obsessive about this combination. AND, the grainy mustard was way better than the bottled variety I used to pour into a pudding bowl and carry back to my seat, tray in hands. Way, way better.

And, more than seriously, this is probably the only thing during those four years that kept me somewhat healthy, save for my five-month hiatus to Los Angeles where The Grove farmer's market was only a fifteen minute walk from my apartment. But, even then, I was more into Pinkberry and Brazilian barbeque than fresh produce. Ah, me. How times have changed.