Kids today…

May 21st, 2010 · Lisa · restaurant review, Review · Comments

May’d me Smile May 21 – el fresco dining. In Toronto when the temperatures first reach into the twenties, people pour outside. This Thursday we hit 28 degrees (celsius). Downtown every patch of green was covered with groups of people, chatting, laughing and soaking up the vitamin D.

This practice of “copping a squat” has significant uptake among university students. When seeing a group of young people hanging out together,  I too often hear “the trouble with kids today is…”, muttered by adults who have settled into their own apathy. But if they would take the time to look and listen to what young people are creating, I think they would be inspired by the energy and enthusiasm they may have overlooked.

At the University of Toronto there is a dedicated group of volunteers who prepare a delicious, mostly local, mostly organic and entirely vegan, lunch every Thursday. This amazing array of eats is available for $4 (you may want to read that twice as it is pretty unbelievable), making healthy, animal-free fare accessible to the hungry student body and a at least one lovely public servant willing to wander over to campus.

Lunch is served from 12-2pm and if you bring your own container you get to go to the front of the line. 

This delightful operation is located just 15 minutes from my office. I usually pack my lunch but this week with an empty fridge and limited leisure time for picking up extra groceries I checked the Hot Yam page to peruse this week’s provisions.

It read:
Hello sweet yammers! 
Spring has sprung! Here’s the menu for this week: 

Spicy roasted vegetable soup
Curried sprouted-lentil and carrot slaw
Greens! Salad! Greens! 
Rhubarb Cobbler  

Once I read that the meal would contain lots of glorious greens and sprouted lentils I immediately packed up my containers. The roasted vegetable soup was perfectly seasoned for my palate – an amazing play of curry and caraway among the sweet, satisfying base of sweet potatoes and root veggies. When preparing a huge pot of soup for the masses, achieving the perfect level of spice can be a challenge, but the yammers are obviously well practiced.

The curried sprouted lentil salad was fabulous. Carrots, green onions and a robust curry dressing made this protein-packed portion incredibly satisfying. I think I could eat this dish everyday and be quite content. The green salad was made a little more gourmet with the addition of cilantro and sunflower seeds. 

After three veggie courses I was quite satiated and decided to gift a colleague with my Rhubarb Cobbler. My body’s not a fan of white flour but my friend was delighted by this seasonal treat.

If you ever get a chance to visit Hot Yam you will certainly be impressed by the fantastic food but you may also come away with a big smile from the contagious energy the volunteers exude. They all seem quite excited to be sharing their passion for great food, compassionate living and nurturing others. Everything was served with a smile and a clever quip. 

If you don’t live in Toronto you can check out their blog for recipes and photos of the meals they have created.

If you do live in Toronto, I hope you’ll find a Thursday to visit (don’t forget your containers):
International Student Centre (33 St. George)
12 o’clock noon to 2pm 

Hot Yam is a wonderful reminder that we all have something to offer that can change the world we live in. Whether it is feeding friends, making choices about the organizations we support or hosting an Internationally acclaimed talk-show (go Ellen!) we all have different ways to mold and shape the future. 

When I was younger I was involved in a number of large volunteer organizations – I strongly believed in my ability to save the world. Now that I work for the government I may have less confidence in my individual power but today I was reminded that there is always something we can do that will move us closer to creating the world we want.


  1. Posted May 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    What a cool thing the university offers. Your lunch sounded and looked amazing..yay for greens!!

    I agree too that every step forward is important to making things better in this world!

    Pure2raw twins

  2. Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Wasn't the weather today just stellar? I love sunshine! 😀

    What a great service these kids are offering. If I'm ever downtown on a Thursday I must make a point of going.

  3. Posted May 22, 2010 at 12:42 am

    Lovely post, Lisa. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  4. Posted May 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    lucky for you! my college used to have vegan meals often and always veggie. you could always get rice and beans and salad. kept off the freshman 15 for sure.

  5. Posted May 23, 2010 at 1:42 am

    mmm i love hot yam! two years of going to school for two years and i still don't go as much as i like…

  6. Posted May 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Twins-I know, the volunteer who pull this off each week are amazing.

    Ricki- I hope you get a chance to enjoy a Hot Yam lunch. I just love supporting their venture.

    Mindy-I've missed your comments. I hope all is well.

    Bitt-I'm glad to hear that you were able to get fantastic fare during university. I find a lot of the school cafeterias are a pretty fast food focused. Lots of chain restaurants seem to have contracts to feed the student body. Sad.

    nutellacube – I hope my post put hot yam back on your to-do list.

  7. Posted May 24, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I love the Hot Yam! But didn't realize they are open all summer… I had heard at one point they would close. Thanks for the tip. I know where I'm eating on Thursdays, now.

Post Comment →

Post Comment