Opinion: Cooking to taste: Innovating dishes to satisfy all palates at the dining hall

Posted by Marcella Jewell

Complaining about seemingly infinite amounts of food in our Dining Hall is unwarranted and unjustifiable. With the fantastic selection of chef-prepared dishes and a grill where any meal can be customized to taste, students have only their lack of imagination to blame for bland dining. 

This human propensity to complain was exemplified in an Internet meme I ran across the other day. For those of you unfamiliar with Internet memes, they are ironic, sarcastic statements written on a corresponding picture. This particular meme portrayed a "first world problem." The picture illustrated a person gawking at an overflowing pantry. The top of the picture read, "Opens Pantry," followed by, "Nothing To Eat," on the bottom. Of course, I chuckled to myself until I stopped to think about the absurdity of the statement.  I was reminded of Skidmore's own cornucopia of food: D-hall. I couldn't help but compare the meme to how some students feel about our dining hall.

When I hear students complain about D-hall, I cannot help but shake my head in disappointment. Are they picky, or too lazy to choose from the vast amount of food that dining services provides? Though it may be in human nature to complain, those who tirelessly criticize the dining hall are disrespectful and undermine the efforts of dining services employees. 

A little independence and creativity go a long way in the kitchen. When my mother finally gave me permission to use the oven by myself, I fell in love with the art of cooking. I am an avid user of D-hall's grill and will be appreciative of this unique aspect of our dinning facility until the day I die. It is far less taxing than most think to put a personal spin on any meal D-hall provides. The opportunities are endless. 

I have decided to take it upon myself to change this ridiculousness. In an effort to help the Skidmore community appreciate D-hall and inspire students to be creative, I've recently published a photo blog, documenting my every day concoctions at D-hall. Future posts include: how to make caramelized bananas, breakfast burritos, "superfood" salads, personalized pizzas, and other meals that utilize the grill. My purpose is to draw awareness to the hidden aspects of D-hall like spices, sauces, and condiments. The secrets of getting the most out of D-hall is first and foremost knowing what ingredients to work with. 

Isn't Skidmore's motto "Creative Thought Matters?" Use that thought when preparing your meals as well! The more time you spend preparing a meal, the more appreciative you will be. D-hall is your kitchen. Do not underestimate your ability to satisfy one of the most delicate senses: taste. The next time you go to D-hall, don't forget your imagination. Happy cooking!

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