So I stroll into the dining hall, resigning myself to the fact that I have Chartwells to look forward to for roughly the next three months. Unlike most people on campus, I can usually find something to enjoy when I venture into one of those fine establishments by the dorms. However, I have begun to realize that there is a serious shortage of something quite enjoyable – meat.
I know that there is a populous group of vegetarians and vegans on this campus. But why are there more vegetarian places in the dining hall than places for meat lovers like myself?
The “Terra Ve” stand often provided us with unique dishes from around the world last year, and I would usually find myself in line every other day or so. When I head over there I see dishes like an eccentric salad or tofu blended with cucumbers, which might be the epitome of bland.
All of this would be semi-tolerable if the “Origins” stand was providing us with some of the classics we know and love. Instead this year I’ve seen things like a “Special Burrito,” which one of my friends bit into and quipped, “This is nothing special at all.” But I guess I can’t complain too much since “Origins” still serves meat.
Now you readers may be thinking, “Hey, this kid is just complaining; he’s afraid to try new stuff,” and other attacks on my credibility. Did someone say rebuttal?
Of course I’m complaining. That’s why it’s an opinion column. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a decent selection of food for (a) the amount of money we pay to come to UM and (b) the cost of a single meal in the dining hall.
And of course I love discovering new foods. I consider myself an adventurous eater; after all, I’ve tried dishes such as guinea pig, alpaca and humus and at least moderately enjoyed all of them (although guinea pig is a little chewy). And like most everyone else on campus, I can only stomach so much stir-fry. But we need our protein (not to mention taste), and for whatever reason the dining hall seems intent on keeping us from it.
Please don’t think this an attack on vegetarians and vegans. I’m just wondering where all of my favorite meat dishes went. I know my taste buds still work, and as long as they do, I feel like they should be rewarded with the flavorful dishes they once knew.
Joey Held is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and food. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.