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Give North a chance at equality

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, April 8, 2008

From the moment I stepped on campus, I was told that South Dining Hall was the superior dining facility. It took me some time to come to my own conclusion, but location aside, it is nearly impossible to argue that North is the best. As a North Quader, it is a tough pill to swallow, but we can still take pride in the two best services of North: the pizza station and the stir fry.

Unfortunately, recent changes have ruined the stir fry. I trust that the administrators at North make changes in an effort to improve the dining experience. So when dining hall workers started preparing the plates of pasta instead of allowing students to do it, there must have been some rationale for the change.

The problem is this rationale is impossible for me and others to figure out. Before the change was made, I doubt anyone thought, “I really wish someone else was putting my plate of pasta together for me.” As much as possible, people like to be in control of what goes into their food. That very idea is what makes the stir fry so appealing; the ability to choose exactly what you eat. But when the dining hall employees do it, you lose some of that control, and you can end up with too little meat and too much of the healthy stuff, or vice versa. I add the healthy stuff just so I can rationalize eating ice cream after nearly every meal, not so it blocks out the taste of the slices of pepperoni swimming in oil on the bottom of the bowl. Similar problems arose last Friday when I ate what was probably the worst non-Lenten fajitas of my time here.

A friend explained that the crepes and omelets are prepared by employees so that all the ingredients can actually fit into their respective wraps. This is not an issue with the pasta or fajitas; if you can reasonably fit the ingredients into the bowl, then they will fit into the identical serving bowl. If someone carefully balances an incredibly large pile of food into the bowl, then it is their loss if some of it is spilled. As it is, most people don’t try to get an unreasonably large amount of food stuffed into their bowl.

Unlike the crepes and omelets, it is easy to judge how manageable the amount of food is, and most people respect that fact. Some people have suggested that it makes the stir fry quicker, but regardless of who prepares the food, there is still always food cooking on the stoves. The time it takes to cook the food is what makes the wait so long at times, not the preparation of the dishes. To improve the dining experience at North, the stir fry simply needs to return back to the previous system. There will be much less groaning with no adverse effects.

Until then, I may need to take the time to walk to South.

Stephen Siena


Keenan Hall

March 31