While Gustavus’ menu is nationally ranked, it is no secret to Gusties that Caf food can get repetitive after a while. We all know how it goes: Caesar salad Mondays, Bosco Stick Tuesdays, grilled cheese Wednesdays, noodle bowl Thursdays and gyro Fridays. Everything is so predictable, but is that really a bad thing? Assigned food days are equivalent to the unassigned “assigned” seats of college. It ultimately is on you that you are resorting to the same thing every time when there are plenty of options around you. While it may get repetitive after a while, we all know that grilled cheese on any other day of the week would just feel wrong.
The cafeteria food schedule is nice for those who are indecisive and love predictability.
Knowing what is already at the caf is perfect for the type of people who get asked what they want to eat, say they don’t care, but everything mentioned gets turned down. This way, they literally have all day to ponder what they will have for dinner as if they are making the biggest decision of their lives.
After a long day of classes, extracurriculars and homework, deciding what you want for dinner can feel like a mountainous task. It can suck all of the enjoyment out of something that is supposed to help you unwind for the day.
“I love having a routine, so I like that there is a set schedule because it is something I can add into my schedule and routine every week,” Senior Grace Arnold said.
We learn in General Psychology that when too many choices are presented at one time, it causes more distress and less enjoyment, compared to when choices are predictable and there are fewer to choose from. Knowing that a sizzling steak is awaiting at The Gustie Grill is one less decision we have to make as college students, who use our brains all day long for matters more important than if you want mashed potatoes or corn with your chicken.
Another good reason why having a set food schedule every week is because it is easier on the kitchen staff. Gusties always go out of their way to help others and tend to be very selfless, so knowing that it helps to ease some stress off the staff is a plus.
“Having a set schedule is easier on our staff, but also helps students to plan out their meals too,” said Vikki Smith, an employee of Dining Services.
I know a lot of us can be hypocritical and I don’t doubt there is one student here that hasn’t complained once about how the grilled chicken can be a bit dry or the steak is too well done, yet if that one thing was taken off the menu or changed in some way, we would complain about that too.
The staff does so much, and works hard to accommodate for dietary needs. They even changed the way they cooked the chicken for the whole school just because I had a soy allergy to the oil they cooked it in previously.
Sorry guys, that’s why its a little dry. Everything is prepared day in and day out, on time and probably better than a lot of us could do since dorm microwaves can only do so much. The least we could do is give them more appreciation for even making our mac and cheese on Thursdays and setting out the mandarin oranges on Fridays.
Don’t deny it. A Friday without gyros would get our Gustie knickers in a twist. Even if the options are the same every week, it has been a pleasant surprise to see that they are putting a twist on some dishes that have remained the same for years.
For those who are sick of noodle bowls, the silver lining is that it allows for us to get innovative and creative. The motivation behind the food schedule very well may be to get students to think differently in the cafeteria; the true liberal arts approach. While I highly doubt that each new creation sets precedence, and ultimately makes a new tradition to get passed down. Think about it – someone had to have the idea of putting cookies through the conveyor toaster, take their bagel over to the pizza station for pizza bagels, put ice cream in between two cookies, or create their own walking taco. Those are just a few examples, but so many more undiscovered creations could be waiting in the Caf right now.
Pineapple on pizza was a creation at one point, so maybe a Gustie can create a new kind of controversial pizza by adding something else unpredictable like pudding, mashed potatoes or even making a noodle bowl pizza. There are so many food combinations that sound so terrible, yet are amazing. Experimenting in the caf is the first step to finding the new ice cream and french fries combo of Gustavus.
Lastly, knowing what is set for each day is like a light at the end of the tunnel. As college students, we experience days where everything goes as wrong as pudding on pizza would go.
On those days, we take any little victories we can get and knowing that a nice big bowl of warm mac and cheese is in our future can be a little light in our terrible day.
“I like that we have certain foods on certain days because it is something to look forward to,” Senior Emily Scroggins said.
For as long as time, food has been a form of comfort, and having that meal ready for us to pick up can help to alleviate the wounds of bombing an exam real fast. Going on year four of Caf food, I will say there are some days I wish I could get a gyro on a Wednesday, but I know that just isn’t the Gustie thing to do, because on Wednesdays we eat grilled cheese.