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In Defense Of: Meal Plans

probably really irresponsible to give this baby a fork

Bwog takes on the dining hall

Last semester, you had close to 30 unused meals. The thought of Ferris and their “firecracker chicken” makes your stomach twist in knots. We know the feeling all too well. But some people, apparently, can see the silver lining of the Columbia Dining situation. Hashbrown-lover Elizabeth Self is here to defend one of your waking nightmares: the meal plan.

Where I went to high school, when the cafeteria was open, you ate. Even when I went to boarding school, open doors meant “help yourself.” Imagine my dismay when I had to pick a meal plan and decide the number of meals I would need in a week. Who thinks that far ahead? I’ll just wander in when they open! Only I can’t. I’m set, fixed, no longer a free bird.

Of course I was unhappy to have to limit myself, and, of course, I made the stupid mistake of choosing the biggest meal plan available. However, upon reflection, I see that there are plenty of perfectly rational reasons to institute meal plans.

1. You get to enjoy consistently delicious food. It goes without saying that the food in the dining halls is consistently delicious (or maybe it doesn’t go without saying). I mean, have you tried Ferris pizza? If you didn’t have your handy-dandy meal plan placing obtuse pressure on you to not waste all those precious meal swipes, you might miss out on something exciting.

2. But not too much. No need to go crazy, though, right? If students could just wander in and eat whenever they liked, you might go so much that you’d get tired of our fabulous dining halls. I just can’t imagine what that would be like. Scarcity makes it a more valuable resource, so you continue to appreciate what you’ve got.

3. Get in your veggies. If you’ve ever cooked your own food or even just bought it, you might be tempted to eat junk food every meal. Not to fear, though: eating the always-nutritious food in our dining halls ensures you get everything from your fiber to your micro-nutrients each day. There’s practically vitamins ground up in the chocolate milk! And of course no unhealthy temptations are to be found, like cake or chocolate chip pancakes or those darn tasty rice krispy treats.

4. Nobody actually has time to cook. Really, though, by the end of classes you’d just be doing take-out and pb&j’s when you even remembered to eat.

5. Keep out the riff-raff. If students just had to swipe in to the building and weren’t limited to how many meals they got a week / semester, some people would constantly be signing in their pals. And, believe me, few things in life are more unsettling than looking up from your daze of a mid-week breakfast to see a whole table of people who clearly do not belong.

6. Nutella. It’s the main reason why I’m here. Do you know how expensive that stuff is in the store?

 Baby about to stab you with a fork via Shutterstock

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  • Can't help says:

    @Can't help But feel that you come off way too entitled from the first paragraph. Ugh god forbid you can’t be a free bird like you were when mommy and daddy paid for boarding school. College is tough

  • Blunts in Butler says:

    @Blunts in Butler Meal Plan = Munchies Plan.

    Dude, who wants to smoke out a Wien single and hit up the double J with me?

  • Anonamoose says:

    @Anonamoose Is this satire?

    1. Anon says:

      @Anon Um, yes. Not yet fluent in sarcasm?

  • CC '14 says:

    @CC '14 Complaining about our food options at Columbia is not only ignorant but embarrassing.

    First of all, Columbia’s dining staff puts an incredible amount of thought into planning a variety of meals for us every day at each dining hall – whether or not this is taken for granted. Our options available at *each* meal are plentiful: vegan, vegetarian, halal, gluten-free, sushi, frozen yogurt, personally tossed salads, stir fry, pasta, pizza, soups, a plethora of drinks… This variety is above and beyond that of the average American university, to say nothing of similarly-ranked or neighboring institutions.

    Our staff also has to maintain the facilities – ie, clean up after students who leave their trash out. I would be personally insulted if I worked every day to provide for *and* clean up after Columbia students to find that they are mocking… an “obtuse pressure” “not to waste meals.”

    Outside of our bubble, this kind of article is insulting. Most people don’t have the luxury of a spectra of food on demand, of any quality, let alone fresh out of the oven. Which is why your sarcastic complaint over food “scarcity” (ie abundance) at Columbia dining halls is especially offensive.

    “Sarcasm” or not, this is a poor reflection of Columbia and not the kind of article that Bwog should use to represent us (or itself, for that matter.)

  • CC '15 says:

    @CC '15 like here’s the problem: some of this is sarcastic and some of this is very true. if you tell yourself you’re gonna cook, you run the risk of defaulting to take-out. even if you do cook for yourself, you might not get enough healthy shit, so a salad at the dining hall or some of their veggies are probably good for a lot of people, and seeing it always makes me feel guilty enough to put some on my plate. no one has time to cook, and you do get to keep out the riff raff except freshmen but like they’re avoidable enough. and i would argue that the food is inconsistently delicious and consistently edible. some nights John Jay freaks me out a little but on that night I eat salad and scoop myself some pasta, which is tolerable though honestly some people eat that pasta all the time and i can’t sympathize with people who eat so many carbs.

    pps: i guess my problem is that this is inconsistently sarcastic and/or sarcastic when what you’re saying is just the truth and also there was NO mention of drunk JJ’s Place or post-bacchanal JJ’s place and that is a travesty

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