Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 22, 2024

Surviving the FFC: How to navigate the central dining hall

By SABRINA ABRAMS | August 31, 2019


I cannot pretend to have been an FFC aficionado as a freshman. I actively avoided eating there in favor of a combination of Levering Kitchens, CharMar sandwiches and veggie burgers from Brody Cafe. However, there’s still a lot to be said about having the freshman year dining hall experience and how you can make the most out of it. 

You can’t do the full freshman year experience without the FFC, so you may as well enjoy it as much as possible. Enjoy having unlimited food access at most hours of the day and constantly being able to eat with all of your friends. Like much of what happens in your first year at Hopkins, it’s irreplicable and irreplaceable. 

1. You can never go wrong with pizza, fries and grilled cheese.

2. Omelette bar. Located front and center, there’s a DIY omelette station where you can fry eggs up with a variety of toppings and mix-ins ranging from sausage to spinach. Get creative with what you put in there; it’s just a saucepan and can be used to heat up a variety of foods if no one catches you. Learn how to cook eggs comfortably and properly because this station is very public.

3. Further on eggs: The FFC will typically have scrambled eggs at breakfast and at late night and these are consistently excellent. 

4. Panini press. Use a tortilla wrap and fill it with cheese from the sandwich station’s other fillings to make quesadillas.

5. Microwave. Take the Rice Krispies, a little bit of butter, and the marshmallows from the ice cream toppings bowl. Put it all in a bowl, stir and toss it in the microwave for DIY Rice Krispies treats.

6. Go to late night midway through getting ready to go out on a Thursday. There is no late night on Fridays and Saturdays.

7. Always send one friend to late night so they can report on whether chicken tenders are being served, because occasionally it will be listed on the menu and not actually served. Make sure this friend has unlimited swipes. 

8. Whenever there is cheese sauce at the Blue Jay Bar, put it on the french fries.

9. Sterling Brunch is overrated and the line will take forever; go to steal the lox. 

10. Dessert hack: Get yogurt, sun butter and granola from the salad bar. Then mix in the chocolate chips and coconut from the waffle station.

11. Don’t let anyone make fun of you for eating the kielbasa with peppers and onions.

12. The graham cracker ice cream is the best flavor.

13. More on ice cream: Put ice cream in a to-go cup to eat later. No need to steal an entire tub.

14. Bring your plate close to the food when you’re serving yourself, otherwise you risk spilling everywhere and incurring the wrath of the FFC workers. 

15. Pickles are always an excellent and nutritious option. 

16. The cookies/brownies/dessert options in general are often vegan but they are still very good.

17. The cookies in the fridge are gluten-free and delicious. Put peanut butter in between them to make a sandwich.

18. The Global station, which rotates on a weekly basis and can offer anything from customizable donuts to stir fry, will have a really long line. It’s normally worth it; the food here tends to be higher quality.

19. Fill a water bottle with the waffle mix and you can make pancakes at home. 

20. Get used to hearing Ed Sheeran on their Spotify playlist. 

21. If you don’t have a lot to do (or even if you do), go to the FFC at noon on a Sunday with your friends; sit at a table in the middle and you will slowly see everyone you have ever met. It’s a fun way to meet your friends’ friends and generally catch up after a weekend’s festivities. 

22. Similar timing note: The FFC will be incredibly full at exactly 5 p.m. when it starts serving dinner. Go at this time to sit with your friends and run into acquaintances.

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