Dressing for Cupid in lite tomato
February 14 usually brings as much frustration into the lives of Bowdoin students as it does joy. This is the dual nature of love: can't live with it, can't live without it. I suppose I should leave the love-life articles to Kara, but I am tempted to do something with the Saint Valentine's Day theme. In general, Cupid has been good to me; I have been in a wonderful relationship for two and a half years. I only wish my love affair with dining service had gone so smoothly.
Two years and fifteen pounds ago I came to Bowdoin College as a pre-frosh. I walked beneath the pines, took the tour of the art museum, bought a four dollar pen at the Bookstore, and ate at Thorne Dining Hall. That day they were serving sweet potato french fries. Make no mistake about it, I feel in love with the meal plan. In fact, I enrolled at Bowdoin the following January largely in anticipation of our nationally acclaimed meals. Maybe that is why I hold our Dining Service to such high standards, and why I feel so betrayed.
Like many patrons of Thorne Dining Hall, I have always frequented the salad bar. Last semester, in an effort to lose the body padding I have gained while at school, I searched among the cluster of salad dressings for a palatable alternative to my preferred lard-based toppings. The scene was a familiar one.
The dressing containers were almost indistinguishable from one another, resembling giant hamster-cage water bottles. Half the labels were illegible; I began to panic. There I stood for fifteen minutes, staring above and through the sneeze guard looking like a ten-year-old immersed in a Where's Waldo. For the life of me, I could not find the dressing I wanted: lite ranch. Frustrated by what I assumed was my cafeteria version of "refrigerator blindness," I selected lite Italian and scurried on to my table.
I have one word to describe the lite Italian: OhMyGodIsThatDisgusting! Seriously, it smells like ammonia and pickles but tastes even worse. The bitter, piercingly tart liquid destroyed my salad and actually dissolved two tomatoes. I am convinced that it is a composite of a cleaning solution. Maybe we should use it to clean the Polar Bear's butt? Okay, maybe not.
Having ruined a perfectly average bowl of wilted lettuce and croutons, I approached a dining service employee with some questions.
My first question had to do with the quality of the lite Italian dressing. The dining service person was very kind, and I believe somewhat amused by my inquiry. They had never tried the lite Italian, but ensured me it was not a cleaning solution. My second question had to do with lite ranch. I was informed Thorne does not currently carry a lite ranch option. I almost cried.
The Dining Service person said that if I really felt strongly about salad dressing, I should fill out a comment card. I did so carefully, and anxiously waited one week for a response to be posted on the Comment Card Wall of Fame.
Well, I remain less than impressed by the Dining Service response. They suggested that I mix in some skim milk with regular ranch. Listen, if I wanted to prepare food I wouldn't have a meal plan. Considering the price of board these days, I shouldn't even have to pour my own milk let alone get creative with it.
The reply to my comment card also mentioned that Thorne would not be offering lite ranch anytime soon since over a dozen dressings are already offered. I agree the variety is generous, maybe even excessive. Yet, I am convinced that a lite ranch option would be widely used and enjoyed. We clearly can't expect to add another dressing, but why not substitute lite ranch for one of our less popular dressings?
Case in point: fat free red tomato. If you have ever used this dressing, please write a letter to the editor and explain yourself. Are regular tomatoes too much of a hassle to chew, are pureed tomatoes that worthwhile? Why not just toss on a few tomato chunks and skip the dressing, or do you need the double fix? I am really confused here. What's next, lettuce flavored salad dressing?
In the meantime I am still filling out comment cards, bitterly brokenhearted.
Things are getting really bad between Dining Services and me; my last
two comment cards stand without reply. Why can't I just let it go, maybe
eat somewhere else? Well, as in any love affair, breaking up is hard to