There's no place like home, especially when it comes to food. But while many students enjoyed Mom's mouthwatering meals during spring break or dined at favorite restaurants courtesy of the family bank account, the less fortunate coped with being stuck at Harvard without the usual dining hall hustle and bustle.
A few students, like first-year Shaikh M. Sarmad, chose to splurge. Sarmad explains, "I decided that since I would be eating out, why not eat good food? A couple times, my roommate and I went to Indian restaurants around the Square and Central Square. I'm kind of happy that the Union is open again, so I won't be spending too much money now!"
Others actually had mini-adventures at dinner time. "We went to the Hong Kong, got the menu and everything, and then decided we didn't want to eat there, so my roommate told the waiter that we had an emergency at the airport," recounts Todd A. Bangerter '98, "Then we went to Chef Chow's, where we had eaten just the night before. In fact, they recognized us because I had left a package there Wednesday night and had to go back and get it."
James S. Gwertzman '95, who are frugally for the most part, spent big bucks on only one occasion. "Wednesday night, I took my girlfriend to a five-star restaurant in Maine...one of the best meals I've ever had. That easily made up for all the other meals. My main goal was sustenance, not pleasure though, because I was working on my thesis the whole time."
Seniors weren't the only ones who watched their wallets. Most students stranded here for vacation adhered to strict financial budgets. Star Market served as a temporary Mecca for the thrifty and starving. "A friend and I trekked out to the Star Market in Porter Square where I stocked up on the essentials--Honey Smacks and ramen noodles (no, not together) and plenty of Diet Coke," relates Cynthia L. Alvarez '97.
While Alvarez crunched on cereal, Alexis D. Perry '95 went green. "My personal favorite plan is to go to Star Market, get a three-pound bag of salad, some tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, mushrooms, and an onion. That's enough salad for three or four days. With a can of soup, that's dinner."
Dinner for Don L. Hayler consisted of Star Market fare as well. "I ate cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Kraft mac and cheese with tuna." Hayler adds, "By the way, I got very sick over break, probably partially from not eating well."
Jeffrey I. Zaref '96 didn't fall ill, though. Zaref shares his secret, "The best deal, which is quite exciting, is Chili's happy hour. That is, if you sit in the bar area at one of those tables between 5 and 7 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, all appetizers are $1.99. I had a plate of nachos all to myself. Normally six dollars, I had a filling meal for two dollars."
Perhaps Zaref sums up best the spirit of surviving spring break without Harvard Dining Services, "Overall, it's sort of fun making do for the week. I didn't starve and treated myself to a few goodies. Though it may not have been balanced nutritious, I carefully selected enough to be delicious."