If you were to read the January 27, 2013 brunch menu for John Jay Dining Hall, you would find that the dishes served were not all that different from the cuisine provided by John Jay today. January 27’s menu offered the familiar John Jay plain pancakes, the made-to-order omelette line, the obligatory dishes of beans and a fancy grain you’ve never heard of before coming to college (in this case, couscous), and…pizza?
Yes, John Jay once had pizza. While the selection might not have quite been the Ferris array, this particular day had cheese pizza, broccoli pizza, and “pinwheels.” According to other historical menus courtesy of CU Dining, other varieties included BBQ chicken pizza, mushroom pizza, mushroom jalapeno pizza, and vegan cauliflower pizza.
Further research concluded that reviews of said pizza were mixed. While one Yelp Reviewer called the dish “palatable,” the Columbia Lion described this John Jay staple as “a crime.” Out4lunch.tumblr.com said: “The pizza often has a soggy crust and is literally dripping in oil. I usually have to dab it with napkins so I don’t feel like I’m going to go into cardiac arrest after finishing a slice.”
Regardless, John Jay would later discard the pizza station; in October of 2013, Student-Worker Solidarity gathered a petition with 1100 signatures demanding lower temperature working conditions at John Jay dining hall. Despite worker requests, the administration reportedly refused to install air conditioning units in the kitchen, which reached temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This issue set off a series of events in an administrative search for solutions, both long-term and short-term.
The first major culprit that the administration recognized was the pizza ovens – because they provided a major source of heat in the kitchen, Columbia Dining at first moved pizza baking downstairs. On October 9, 2013, the administration decided to get rid of the John Jay pizza altogether.
Thus, the community saw the end of an era – a mysterious, greasy, overheated era completely unbeknownst to current students. And with this end, Columbia ushered in a new era, one of better working conditions and sushi rolls, composed of pairings both simple (cucumber and avocado) and strange (celery and pear). But what can we compare it to? It’s the reality we know.
Little Wheels of Dough via Pixabay