“If you don’t like this dinner that I stood over a hot stove for, then you don’t have to eat it.”
This is a repeated phrase from my mother whenever she made her infamous macaroni grub for dinner that I would pout over. It’s that same pout I find across the students’ faces in the cafeteria on a regular basis. Similar to my dinners at home, I can imagine the cafeteria staff working tirelessly over eggless fried rice and then receiving a disgusted reaction from the Knox students. This may come across as ungrateful and snobbish — especially since most of the Knox students come from upper-middle class backgrounds.
Something I’ve been wondering ever since the Bon Appétit discussion began is, to what extent do Knox students have the right to demand changes in their cafeteria food? As a student just last year in an underfunded high school, I either ingested the mystery meat willingly or brought my own lunch. Public high school students weren’t allowed to make changes in the food since we weren’t the ones paying for it. Now, I’m part of an Associated College of the Midwest and have more agency in my food choices.
However, some may argue that for most of the time, students just complain that the rice is too dry, bread too stale and cheese too fake. This isn’t a four-star restaurant — it’s a college cafeteria. On another hand, the food may be potentially dangerous for those with allergies. Additionally, students can pay up to $4,500 for a full meal plan and it’s understandable for students to want their money spent to feel worth it.
Overall, I sympathize with the right to complain, despite the possibility of appearing ungrateful and snobbish. Students have free speech, and Bon Appétit can’t quell it. However, there’s no guarantee that Bon Appétit will modify the overall quality of the food. In all honesty, the dining services can’t please every student’s palate and we have to acknowledge that.