Cornell (Whining &) Dining
Trust me, I am well aware that Cornell’s dining facilities are quite fantastic compared to other college meal programs. I also sincerely appreciate the great effort that Cornell staff members put forth every day to feed massive crowds of hungry undergrads.
Now that that’s out of the way, prepare yourselves, dear readers, for a feast (so funny, I know) of food-related complaints.
When I first arrived at Cornell, I considered all-you-care-to-eat meals the best thing since serve-yourself fro-yo shops (By the way, is the latter just a West Coast thing? I haven’t run into any Yogurtland/Menchie’s/Orange Tree look-alikes since I moved to this side of the Mainland). Of course, I inevitably grew bored with the Cornell fare. I mean, nothing was ever terrible, just…not as phenomenal as it had been when my parents dropped me off.
That’s why I’m a big fan of Cornell Dining’s special events. Last semester, I enjoyed meals ranging from Thai, Japanese and “gourmet American” cuisine to dinners for holidays like St. Patrick’s Day (which had great soda bread, though I found the giant waterfall of green chocolate a little disturbing). However, I’ve noticed that this year’s offerings haven’t been of the same quality.
(Disclaimer II:As a vegetarian, my main complaint is not that these events have bad food but that there are fewer options for me and my fellow plant-eaters. Uninterested omnivores might want to skip the following passages and simply scroll down to the discussion of cupcakes that follows. (To any strict carnivores who might be reading–sorry, I got nothing for y’all. I’d recommend a less herbivorous blog to you except that’s impossible: though Life at the Hill boasts a diverse group of student bloggers, they’re not progressive enough to have a velociraptor on the team. Yet.))
Last night I dined with two friends (who are ostensibly the Merry and Pippin to my Frodo) at RPCC (Robert Purcell Community Center, one of three dining halls on North Campus). The menu, as you can see, was Octoberfest-themed, so I was particularly looking forward to potato dumplings and black cherry ice cream.
Much to my dismay, it’s apparently absolutely necessary to put pork in potato dumplings even when there are already four other meat-based main dishes available. Vegetarians who wanted more than a pretzel for dinner (although I’ll admit that those pretzels were pretty darn good) could choose between the generic RPCC cheese pizza or strudel. Sadly, that supposedly “special” strudel looked and tasted eerily similar to the same stuff Appel serves for Sunday brunch from time to time. The worst part of the evening, however, occurred when we found out that the black cherry ice cream was nowhere to be found.
This is the second time desserts have deserted me this month. Last week, “Pippin” and I went to Appel for the very highly-advertised ‘Gourmet Cupcake Night.’ (Guys, ‘highly-advertised’ is not an exaggeration: there were so many posters plastered all over Appel that you’d think a cupcake was running for president.)
Who wouldn’t want cupcakes and flavored milks after a tough day (I had two long classes followed by six hours of work)? Armed with our cameras and eagerly anticipating “lots to remember and share with [our] friends and family,” “Pippin” and I left the Johnson at around 6:30 and raced up to Appel as fast as our (fortunately non-hobbit-like) legs could carry us.
Except there were no cupcakes.
They were ALL GONE.
Because RPCC had closed early for fall break, hundreds of students had already swarmed North Star Dining and swallowed down those cupcakes like Templeton stuffing his rat-belly at the fair. (If you don’t understand that simile, please take the time to educate yourself with this clip from the essential movie of my childhood.) Still, the North Star folks should have suspected that they’d get a big crowd. Plus, it’s not like making cupcakes is a particularly time-consuming or difficult activity–how hard would it have been to mix up another batch?
Once it starts snowing I’ll probably start eating in RisDining all the time (so I never have to leave the building), which means my gripes with RPCC and North Star will become irrelevant. In the meantime, maybe I’ll pick up some Funfetti mix at Target to soothe my broken heart.
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