PanGeos, move over. Your mother’s meatloaf is the next step in improving Yale’s dining hall fare.
The Berkeley College dining hall is participating in a pilot program that will put “homestyle” cooking on Yalies’ plates. The dining hall is asking parents of Berkeley students to send in their child’s favorite recipes. These dishes will then be incorporated into everyday dining hall meals this spring.
Yale Dining Services director David Davidson said the goal of the program is to bring a sense of home to the dining hall, to help foster closeness within the college and to add variety.
Just as PanGeos whets the appetite with food from around the world, this campaign is an effort to satisfy Yale palates with more regional delicacies.
“Part of this program is to introduce students to all-American cuisine,” Dining Services coordinator Janet D’Agostino said.
Davidson said Berkeley Master John Rogers and his wife brewed up the idea with direction of Dining Services this summer in response to a similar programs they knew of elsewhere, including Smith College.
“In my house, you knew on Wednesday night we were having spaghetti and meatballs, and I’m sure everyone has a story like that,” Davidson said.
Dining Services is now completing brochures detailing the program and the recipe cards will be in parents’ mailboxes within months, Davidson said. The current plan is to process the responses in December to have the plat du jour ready for the spring term.
If student feedback is positive in Berkeley, all Yale parents can expect a blank recipe card waiting with mail next summer.
“Ultimately, each dish will be incorporated into the menus of all of the dining halls so that we have a sampling from all over the United States,” D’Agostino said.
But Berkeley students should not worry about their parents surreptitiously sending in the family fruitcake recipe — all recipes will be approved by students before they are put on the menu.
“There’s going to be a lot of coordination [between Dining Services and the students],” Davidson said. “We’re not just going to take the recipe and plug it up there and say, ‘Hey, your mom sent this in.'”
Some students like Sara Sternberg ’02 said they look forward to meals prepared from more genuine ethnic recipes, while others, like Randi Levine ’02, are skeptical that the dining hall can reproduce the entrees well.
“I’m sure everyone’s mom has a great recipe, but you know when you eat meat here [the recipe] doesn’t matter,” Sam Arkin ’03 said. “Of the dishes that the dining hall makes, they have plenty of variety. They should focus on quality first.”
But Dining Services administrators are confident this will be the next step in improving dining hall cuisine.
“We’re sure it’s going to be huge,” D’Agostino said.
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