I answer food questions over at Freakonomics

I liked the whole interview, here is the concluding segment:

Q. What restaurant or food type would Tyler Cowen, Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises enjoy for lunch? Why? –Bill N.

A. Rothbard was quite a conservative eater, but he loved the Bavarian culture of the Baroque.  Mises grew up in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  So I suggest that we would all sit down and have a Wiener Schnitzel together.

You can buy An Economist Gets Lunch here.


One Wiener Schnitzel between three? Mean.

Not mean, Austrian. It's hard, but if you look hard enough, you can tell the difference.

I don't think the aristocratic von Mises would have agreed to a Schnitzel. How about skipping to a dessert of Kaiserschmarrn or Palatschinken?

Tyler's advice about eating on college campuses -- "look for items which can sit and stew for a long time" -- is several years out of date. Campus cafeterias have been transformed into food courts where the food is made to order, at least at the colleges which are being competitive with their student services. The ingredients to be sure have to sit around awhile, but the actual cooking (or assemblage of the sandwich, taco, etc.) isn't done until the student orders the food, and stands there and watches it being made. Even the hospital cafeteria that I frequently visited when my father was ill had a station where food was stir fried or pan fried and then handed to you.

The advice about eating stewed or braised ingredients however is still solid. In the 1970s I had the opportunity eat at a lot of college cafeterias; this was in the Bad Old Days of stereotypically mediocre college food. Washington University in St. Louis had easily the best food that I tasted, thanks in large part to their emphasis on stewed or braised dishes. The University of Chicago was easily the worst. The other places were pretty much close to each other in the middle (Harvard, MIT, University of Washington ... Stanford was a bit better thanks to more variety). These days I sample a lot less campus food so I don't have much comparison information.

A further corollary of the stew principle: try the soup. Like stew it can stay good while sitting around in a soup pot, and a good college cafeteria will make its soup from scratch. Whereas one that cuts corners will be likely to have soup that's not as good, or won't try to serve it at all (because it's likely receiving pre-fabricated food instead of raw food ingredients which lead to the scraps which go into soup stock).

Some campuses in urban areas have apparently begun to benefit from gourmet food trucks showing up nearby.

So there you have the fundamentals of An Economist Gets Lunch On Campus.

When I studied abroad at a German university in Baden-Wurttemberg, the school's mensa had a lovely stew/goulash/casserole dish as the main course every day. The price, I think, was also heavily subsidized and was by far the best deal in town. Perhaps Andreas Moser can comment?

That username is hilarious.

I remember when I was a fresher and we were served venison stew. Some of the chaps went to complain to the kitchens that the beef was "off".

Venison, hmmm. I had no idea you were educated at the University of Montana... (Er, or Stirling.)

The Weiner Schnitzel is, itself, a rather plain creature.
For a good meal, I'd suggest they take it up a notch, perhaps with a nice Rahmschnitzel or Jagerschnitzel.

I think the Austrian School economists like von Mises and Rothbard will prefer food which is the "product of human action and not design". I wonder how that food will look and taste like. can Tyler cast light on this?

True pleistocene fish meal a'la Ludwig von Mises http://www.zyjwpaleolicie.pl/?p=1767

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