By Janice Coppola
Shocking! Another college paper article bashing the dining hall! “Too much fried food” in one article; “We need more chicken wings,” in the next.
“Too unhealthy and not enough vegetarian options,” states a freshman writing a first-time article for the paper. “Where’s the meat?!” growls an athlete and blogger. “No more Turkey Tuesday!” “What happened to Turkey Tuesday?”
Long time food service staffers have been pounded with countless articles criticizing their offerings. Do dining services personnel take it to heart? Let’s just say we take it with a grain of salt.
Bashing your college’s food is a right of passage. The food service staff reads the articles and usually go through the five stages of grief.
1. Denial: “Well, they are not talking about my food.” 2. Anger: “OH BOY! HERE WE GO AGAIN!” 3. Bargaining: “Maybe we can change the menu again and everyone will be happy!” 4. Depression: “Maybe all those years of training were useless and I’m not as skilled as I thought I was.” 5. Acceptance: “I like the food here, but there is always room for improvement.”
To say the articles are cliché might diminish their entertainment value, and would be a shame. The staff actually enjoys the articles; we find them as amusing as the students do.
We are not so naïve as to think any changes we make will ever stop them from being written.
This dining services staffer would like to address criticism. The dining staff can be called the students’ invisible caregivers. We strive to provide a service while maintaining that invisible barrier.
It’s actually quite entertaining to hear the students chat about their antics from the night before while not considering the fact that the food service staff is within earshot.
The staff, which is comprised of everyone from culinary school graduates and restaurant veterans to people who are just being given a chance to work and feel like a part of the college’s family. We genuinely care about the students.
We remember you, can tell when you are happy, sad, tired or overwhelmed. We remember your favorite sandwich or omelet order. (We also remember what you wore yesterday and notice you are wearing it again today.)
We feel defeat when the college’s teams are defeated. We take pride in your wins and accomplishments. We care about all of you.
We try to show how much we care in our food preparation. We try to give you what you want. We dutifully present the food and stand at the other side of our counters to analyze your reactions, comments and actions.
We look forward to future articles about our food and will take those remarks with a grain of low-sodium, organic, gluten-free, more flavorful salt. We will think of our students as extended family members, will wish you all the best and will feel proud of your hard work. We only ask that you consider ours.