They say that you can’t get to Yale without passion. We Yalies are passionate about a plethora of activities, from juggling with the Anti-Gravity Society to debating the merits of Shakespeare as a mandatory component of the high school curriculum. But at a school that is so diverse, it can be difficult to find a singular force that unites all of our competing interests. We are divided on the virtues of a cappella, and we shall never agree on how best to lead our sex lives. When it comes to dining hall food, though, there is no dispute: deep-fried chicken tenders trump all.
A member of the “Market Grille” menu on the meal plan, chicken tenders contain 127 calories and 19 grams of fat apiece. This lack of nutritional content deters few. Prepared fresh on the grill, chicken tenders are often snatched up within minutes of being put out on a serving dish, leaving many salivating students to wait patiently for the next batch. In fact, chicken tenders day has become such an anticipated occasion that it has generated a website created specifically to herald its arrival. Founded by Bay Gross ’13 after he nearly missed chicken tenders day once, the website answers the crucial question with a bold-faced “Yes: Get your chicken tenders on” or “No: But you’ve still got options.” Isitchickentendersday.com even offers a phone notification service, which allows students to sign up to receive texts when the savoury dish will be on the menu.
For some students, Chicken Tenders Day is more than a matter of seeing one’s favorite food in the dining hall — it is a shining beacon at the end of a tunnel of cold pho and waffles that stick to the waffle grill just to spite you.
“[Chicken Tenders Day] is the only thing which keeps those on the meal plan sane,” commented one student on an article announcing the website’s invention. “[It is] a lone tropical island of adventure and treasure in the vast sea of Yale Dining’s mediocrity.”
In addition to bringing hope to dining hall-goers, chicken tenders have inspired a life philosophy which is expressed in the three-member Facebook group entitled “Live every day like its [sic] chicken tender day in the dining hall.” Though the group’s following is modest to say the least, “Live every day” promotes an energy and joie de vivre to which even vegetarians can relate.
“Chicken tenders have a cult-like following at Yale,” said Madeleine Barrow ’15. “Think about it — when you have that fried goodness, why would you go for anything else?”