Hubbell is a hot-button topic. Amongst men, women, students, faculty, centaurs and chimeras…doesn’t matter. They’re even talking about it in the Mos Eisley Cantina. And rightly so; bringing up anything even remotely related to the dining hall can rescue you from an awkward lapse in conversation. It’s a welcome alternative to griping about your oppressive professors. Whining about it is as routine as talking about the weather. “Well, looks like it’s finally getting nicer out…” “Is it just me, or does this chicken look a bit more discolored than normal?…”
Drake professes that the dining hall received a night-and-day overhaul, as if this were “Ratatouille,” and rodents were planted into the employees’ shirts without their knowledge to remind them to put that extra dash of salt in the chicken. Yet, rats or no rats, if you ask just about any regular at the dining hall, the chicken still tastes like fish, and the fish still tastes like chicken. Rumor has it that the Some Sort of Beef is imported from Uzbekistan. Not a second goes by that I don’t hear someone complaining about the lack of variety in Hubbell. I’ll concede that the nutrition selection is just above prison food level, but hell, be thankful it isn’t sawdust or rat carcass.
Which, speaking of rat carcasses, I never quite figured out why the campus dietitian sets up an ice cream bar to promote her services. Isn’t she supposed to be the face of healthy dieting? Where does ice cream fall into that? That’s like a psychologist offering some cocaine to his patient. “Here Johnny, have some of this stuff. The depressive after-effects will have you racing back to me in a jiffy.”
Okay, so maybe ice cream isn’t such a good antidote to muffin tops. Why not salad?
People crucify me for eating my salad plain. Look, I don’t like to slather everything that hits my gullet in ranch dressing. If I were in court, I’d argue pro se: Hidden Valley v. Frier. So I’m a stegosaurus— who cares? People have a morbid obsession with ranch. Ranch on salad. Ranch on pizza. On nuggets. On fries. On cauliflower. Next thing you know, Anderson-Erikson will come out with a “One Percent Ranch” that you can just chug down when the mood strikes you. Will come in “Buttermilk” and “Cucumber” flavors, too.
It’s a luxury to be able to get a cheeseburger, not to mention a ranch-bathed salad, to-go, but with the flimsy plastic utensils that accompany the out-the-door entrees, it’s anyone’s guess how the hell you’re supposed to be able to puncture anything. I suppose life is kind of like trying to eat a steak with a plastic fork. You know, you’re poking, you’re prodding— prodding the meat like it’s a rogue duck you’re trying to get off the road. Out of 50 stabs, you’re lucky if one sinks in.
So you don’t want to spend the next thirty minutes trying in vain to cut your chicken with a plastic knife and slinging expletives left and right. Understandable. Dine-in it is.
You’re at the dining hall. You walk over, steaming plate of stir-fry in hand, to where your friend is sitting and give the customary “‘Sup.” What do they do? Their eyes transfix on your food. Not you. They don’t care about you. Only the food. That’s because the human mind operates on just two stimuli: food and sex. Anything more, that’s asking too much. Your friend wants to know “literally” where you got that food from. It looks “to die for,” something out of Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen.
“Oh yeah, they got a white van out back serving up dollops of meat— it’s a thirty-minute wait, though, ‘cause they’re slaughtering the cows on site. And they require a password. But if you’re fluent in pig-latin and are able to do a Leprechaun jig, you should pass the test…”