13 November 2007

A Rocky Courtship


Ah, Dining Hall. This month, you've been reaching out to students, showcasing just exactly how far you can push your limits. Unfortunately, while you've had some successes, you've managed to reinforce to your student body just what those limits are.

Last week, Thursday night: Japanese Dinner. It shouldn't be unreasonable to get dinner from a buffet line in less than twenty minutes. It shouldn't be unreasonable to serve the advertised foods for more than the first hour of a three hour event. I'm speaking here about the "dumplings" everyone was talking about when I got to the MDR at 5:40 PM. I never did get to eat them. The tray was steaming empty when I arrived, and wasn't refilled until halfway through my forty minute wait in the sushi line. And then you filled it with pirogues. I didn't get any miso soup, either, because that was gone when I got out of the forty minute sushi line, replaced with an unidentified chowder.

I realize that the dining hall was especially full (perhaps the advertising worked a little too well?). I realize that you are patiently waiting for the college to get around to your renovations (After, of course, we get a new stadium, new dorms, new parking lots, and a new fountain. Those things rightfully come before renovating the one building on campus that 99% of students use daily.) so that you can better serve the growing student body. However, Dining Hall, I expect you to learn from this experience not that student-WCDS collaborations are inherently doomed – although I was fairly upset about the length of time spent in the sushi line (which was forty minutes, I counted), the sushi was wonderful.

The ingredients were fresh, the rolls expertly made, and the design-your-own roll idea was a special treat for sushi lovers – but that in your current state, if you cannot feed so many people with the specialty of the day, then maybe you should pick a different specialty.

Tonight, Tuesday night, for example: Thanksgiving dinner. This was definitely your specialty.
I thoroughly enjoyed the orange peel cranberry sauce, the garlic mashed potatoes, the seafood and crab bisque, and those rolls. The rolls were exactly what rolls should be – crunchy, butter-glazed outsides and soft, sour dough insides. Perfect. There were less than perfect things. I think in this case, more than any other, tradition is against you. You are competing against Mom's sweet potatoes, Dad's turkey, Aunt Nancy and Mammaw's stuffing. Honestly, I commend you for even trying to compete against those heavy-weights.

Most of all, though, your Thanksgiving dinner reminded me of a promise I'd made to myself when I started this blog: to find a way to make some of my favorite family recipes in my limited kitchen and bring a little bit of home to Washington College. Dining Hall, I may not see you Thursday night. I send my regrets, but I have a date with a sweet potato.

1 comment:

Aubrey said...

The Dining Hall does get really crowded during those kind of events, but I don't want them to renovate until after I graduate because I'm used to the dining hall we have. They renovated the WalMart near my house and they turned it into a Super WalMart and I didn't know because I was at school, and it really freaked me out when I went to WalMart and it looked like a grocery store. I don't know what I'd do if I went in the Dining Hall and couldn't find the bagels. Anyway, Thanksgiving is my favorite part of the Dining Hall year. And, I'm glad you mentioned the garlic in the potatoes. That makes my life make so much more sense. The potatoes had a taste I could recognize only as "not potato, do not eat". But, garlic is not an unreasonable thing to put in potatoes. That makes me feel better.