Colby Dining Services has been under serious scrutiny since I arrived at Colby two years ago. People originally complained on YikYak, and now incessantly on the new app Fizz (although to be fair, it could just be the app moderators trying to get their 30 posts in each day).
People complain nearly constantly about the food here, even loudly in the dining lines. And while the jokes can be funny and light-hearted, some people take it too far in their incessant complaining. It can manifest as being openly rude to dining hall staff, loudly announcing that the food sucks in front of the person who made it, and general disrespect for facilities or cleanliness. During and after meals, too, clean up tables, and do your best not to spill. If you spill, pick it up!
We are just as responsible for our food and the place where we eat it as the people making it. What we forget is that we live in a communal area. The egg and rice station in Foss had to be closed because of burning pans and melting spatulas, even after staff asked students to have more respect for the materials.
Complaining is never constructive, but we all love a good rant sesh, especially when some of the recipes sound silly or the chicken looks extra pink. The people working there are working hard, and they deserve your kindness and respect. Frustration with food and menus can come off as frustration with staff, and there isn’t an excuse for that.
There are multiple factors that go into running a kitchen, and certainly, individual people aren’t responsible for training methods, kitchen policy, or menu decisions. One thing I’ve had to come to terms with is that I won’t like the food every day. Or, if I don’t like the taste of something one day, that the dining hall isn’t made for me and I find other solutions.
Here’s what we can do. If you don’t like the thing being made that day, get creative with your food options. Cook a bagel with cheese, tomato, arugula, and the protein of your choice. Talk with staff and learn their names – the better they know you, the more favors they’ll do for you! Grab a pita in Bob’s and put hummus, feta, cucumber, sliced tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Make a yogurt parfait at the smoothie station. Warm up the fruit and cut it into small pieces, top with granola and some coconut flakes.
I realize this can come off as apathetic or ignorant — many people have genuine problems with the dining system. People have allergies, food sensitivities, and serious chronic issues that can make it difficult to eat in a dining hall setting. This isn’t a call to certain issues with the food, which I don’t doubt there are, but a call to be kind and get creative with the resources available to you. If you feel strongly about Colby Dining and making it better, then organize yourselves and do it in a constructive way, and be kind to people along the way.
Life is all about learning how to find the good in things. Be kind to the people who make your food! Food made with love is always yummier anyways.
~ Hannah Perfetti `25