Spencer Caron ’20
I would like to take this week to write about something lighter than usual. No politics, nothing about rights (and the violation of), or societal ills that one is all too aware of after this week’s news cycle. I want to review upper Kimball; less controversial than politics, though not unanimously liked. About this time of the semester in particular, one hears gripes about the monotony, not to mention the near riot that ensued following Meatless Monday. In this article I will give my unadulterated review of upper Kimball, setting aside separate sections for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Could this article be placed in the Eggplant Section? Well, I hope you find it entertaining, but these are indeed my true opinions on the matter. Let us proceed to breakfast.
I don’t always eat breakfast. In fact, I would say that only twice a week do I find myself in Kimball before 11 a.m. I don’t have a routine that “works for me.” (I envy those who have their breakfast planned out to the last morsel; I feel like this habit is indicative of one’s overall organization and planning skills.) Given my lack of routine, I often fall victim to what seems to be a sneaky (yet brilliant) move on the part of Kimball’s higher ups. That is, the muffins/breads/donuts are placed immediately in the entranceway, basically calling out to be picked up on the way to (hopefully) healthier choices.
In order to keep this article honest, I will withhold my opinion on the eggs that look pretty close to scrambled eggs I have seen other places. Sometimes looks can be deceiving. There was a good deal of time during which I refrained from animal products, but during my egg eating periods, I can attest to the freshness of the hard-boiled eggs. In fact, I would warn incoming students of the sometimes dangerously high temperatures the eggs can reach, especially first thing in the morning! On the opposite end of the temperature spectrum exists the oatmeal. And how tragic this is, for oatmeal is the one breakfast food I really enjoy that is simultaneously good for my health. Most of the times the oats are room temperature at best, but (and I admit this is mere preference) I like my oats on the thicker side. Kimball employs a 2:1 water to oats ratio, whereas I tend to think a 1:1 ratio is appropriate.
Taken together, I usually leave a Kimball breakfast still a bit hungry and roughly one-third through my recommended daily calorie allotment. Overall, I think this is due in large part to my pickiness when it comes to breakfast, and less a shortcoming of Kimball. After all, what really is there to serve for a whole year? Moving on to lunch, things really begin to look up for me. Elaborate salads aren’t everyone’s “thing” but they sure are mine. The everyday availability of the baby spinach has always been impressive, but the new addition to the rather bourgeoisie baby greens deserves mention. I have taken to doing half spinach, half baby greens for a diversity of texture. Once the foundation is laid, I make a game time decision if I will be putting cucumbers in the salad. Pros of this decision: a nice refreshing crunch. Cons of this decision: the flatness of the cukes causes the subsequent addition of beans and maybe even fruit to roll right off the salad and onto the rug. (This has devolved into a detailed review of my salads; let’s get back to the review.)
Besides the diversity of greens, Kimball lunch provides lots of options for different palettes. It goes without saying that fans of mac & cheese live their dream everyday, and the rapport that many have with the stir-fry chefs is indicative of student satisfaction. Before moving to dinner, I would like to highlight two standouts, one regular and one special item. To the former, the (almost) daily hummus is crucial to student body happiness. Too many times I see a disgruntled succession of students bring a black bowl over to the second row, only to see the hummus container scraped empty. Let us not forget the hummus dry spell that occurred toward the latter half of last year, at which point the Kimball higher ups must have ordered that a “beet hummus” be hand smashed lest students start really complaining. More of a rarity, though a personal favorite, is the broccoli salad placed adjacent to the hummus. Now, I realize that the marinade that makes the raw broccoli not only palatable, but delicious, may negate the health benefits of the cruciferous vegetable, but I figure, “Hey, enjoy it while it’s here.”
Here, I will briefly compliment upper kimball for so quickly restocking the grilled chicken during lunch and dinner to help athletes, varsity and budding body builders alike, hit their protein targets. Dare I say that this year’s chicken is a marked improvement from the meat-rubber polymer hybrid available in 2016-2017. A kimball dinner is usually similar to the lunch experience, though it is during dinner when some of the real special surprises are brought out. The massive squash is the definition of hit or miss, being either tender and pleasantly sweet, or rock hard and earthy. Every once in a while, Kimball’s lean and green puts out the edamame potstickers and the line forms at what is usually the least sought after destination. (How the tables turn from breakfast to dinner; in the morning, donuts greet you. In the evening, wilted spinach.) Personally, I most enjoy burrito night, though I have yet to figure out the logistics behind getting the ratios right; fill a bowl with ingredients and pick up tortillas separately and I end up with the equivalent of 2-3 burritos. Try and fill the tortillas up while in the line and I feel the social pressure of the person behind me, leading to an inadequate amount of food, a messy maneuver from station to plate, or both.
In sum, we are lucky with regards to our food choices. If I may get controversial at the end, I would say those who dislike Kimball are: a.) extremely picky, in which case no dining hall would suit his preferences, or b.) unaware of how other college students have it and think it’s natural to dislike one’s dining hall. I can attest from visiting Boston College (they usually don’t have fruit beyond a bowl of apples) and Furman University (doesn’t allow students to serve themselves) that we have it good.
Photo Courtesy of College of the Holy Cross