Themed meals, the right idea: MLK Day, the wrong occasion


By Samantha Tyler

I’m sure we have all heard about the recent uproar in response to a certain themed meal at West Dining. Out of all the holidays during the year that dining services has to choose from to plan a themed meal around, I cannot understand why MLK Day would be one of them. The message behind the day does not scream out to me “Plan a meal around me!”

As an Italian Jewish American, I understand the correlation between holidays and food. But there is a big difference between Thanksgiving and holidays like Veteran’s Day and MLK Day. Doesn’t it seem more obvious to serve red, white and blue food for American holidays, rather than fried chicken and cornbread on MLK Day?

Dining services not only chose the wrong day to plan a themed meal, they served food that completely contradicts the reason the day is celebrated in the first place. Martin Luther King Day should be a day for celebrating equality and feeling grateful for the people who have had the courage to take a stand for human rights, not embracing stereotypes.

I do not, by any means, think that themed meals as a whole are a bad idea; I just think this particular meal was badly executed. I for one was pleasantly surprised by West last Valentine’s Day and impressed by Upper’s decorations for Halloween this year. Themed meals, when implemented correctly, are definitely a nice change from what seems like the same routine meals.

By week five, I am definitely beginning to experience the middle-of-the-term boredom with meal options and have been spending my declining as if it is monopoly money.

Not only do I find myself eating the same salad at every meal, I have been trying my hardest to come up with suggestions to employ those comment cards dining services is so longing for us to fill out.

Here’s my biggest complaint. If the same number of people have classes at 9:15 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week of the term, chances are the same number of people will routinely go to breakfast at West at around the same time. Yet repeatedly I am disappointed when food runs out. When the omelet line is too long, the cereal and English muffins are scarce or gone, and there is neither chocolate milk nor hot chocolate left, my day is not off to a great start.

Then, once I have left West feeling unsatisfied by my fourth-choice-breakfast, I get to class and take a drink of my water which has been contaminated by grape Gatorade. By the time common lunch rolls around, I am thankful I don’t have to go back to West for lunch, even though Darlene seems to think I intend to.

After days turning into weeks of disappointments and frustration with dining services, themed meals are more than welcome since they usually bring a change in routine. However, if fried chicken, pulled pork, collard greens and cornbread is dining services’ idea of a good themed meal, I’ll stick to my salad.


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