By Andrew Lin
A take on the frequent-flyer frozen entrees foisted upon us by the HUDS strike – and what your favorite says about you.
If the sign-brandishing workers, squawking megaphones, and repeated emails from the administration have not already tipped you off, there does happen to be a dining hall workers’ strike going on at the moment here at fair Harvard. And while there are many legitimate and worthy issues at stake in regards to the strike itself and the position of the University relative to the dining hall workers, we at the Indy feel that there is some room for some very tongue-in-cheek discussion of the surrogate food options that Harvard has provided its students in the meantime. In recognition of the importance of such an issue, the Indy is thus proud to present what your favorite HUDS-strike-era menu selection says about you!
Stuffed Peppers: These stuffed peppers were the author’s first introduction to the new eating regime imposed by the HUDS strike, and their individually-bland hits of salty rice, ground beef (with the attendant vague meaty undertones of what HUDS calls “beef flavor”), and watery green-pepper scaffolds at first seemed to bode rather poorly for the future of HUDS aficionados such as myself. But taken together, this offering is a filling and altogether rather efficient combination of the major food groups that balances savory and sweet with a certain adroitness.
What this entrée says about you: Efficient and dependable you are, and worth more than the sum of your individual skill-sets to boot.
Ricotta Stuffed Shells: Creamy ricotta cheese, assuredly institutional pasta shells, and a generic tomato sauce come together again to make what is a similarly satisfying Italianesque dish. The tomato sauce is itself nothing to write home about: tapioca starch jostles awkwardly next to extra virgin olive oil in the ingredients of the Local Marinara Sauce. But while the ingredients simply identify the constituent shells as “Lite Stuffed Shells,” the pasta shells themselves are classically heavy and dense, filled with a ricotta, which, in its uniformity offers a unique sort of comfort in these uncertain times.
What this entrée says about you: Your personality is as comforting, all-embracing, and unsurprising as the simple depths of this cheesy goodness in a tray.
Chicken Fingers: These chicken fingers are notionally identical in form and preparation to the long-standing classic fried fingers that HUDS has featured in part semesters. But within some of the thicker ones there does (or at least this weekend there did) lurk a pink surprise, one that in the context of chicken fingers is not quite altogether welcome. From a culinary stand-point, rawness can often be admirable: woe betide the philistine who orders his or her steak well-done to an incinerated crisp, and the glories of all manner of salads, sushi dishes, and tartare preparations all owe their existence to brave individuals who took the plunge. And if you enjoyed these chicken tenders, you may count yourself among these brave souls, pangs of indigestion aside.
What this entrée says about you: Breaded and professional on the outside you may be, but inside you are a raw risk-taker at heart.
The Pastries: These pastries – rich, buttery, and delightfully brought-in from outside – were an insidious temptation for a writer seeking to eat healthy and mitigate the increase in his sodium intake from some of the other options detailed in this article. Yet where a less-respectable wag might just have let them eat cake and be done with it, I plunged into the depths of the chocolate eclairs, mini carrot cakes, and delightfully dainty napoleons proffered in the dining-halls without regard for my dentition or waistline. And I can say that they were indeed delicious: although the dough of the chocolate éclair I sampled was ever-so-slightly dry, the napoleon in particular dazzled in its visual presentation (I swoon for those swooping lines of overlaid chocolate) and the depth of flavor in its layered tiers.
What this entrée says about you: Just like the Harvard community, the diversity of your many layers and talents makes you a pleasure to know.
For all the jest, Andrew Lin ’17 ([email protected]) is deeply appreciative of the effort the HUDS staff and management have both put into feeding us hungry students, and hopes to see a speedy and equitable resolution to the strike that does justice to the loyalty and dedication the HUDS staff have displayed throughout the years.