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The oversized kitchen linking Dunster and Mather house dining halls has been brewing compensations for its hungry hordes of residents, who have complained about the inadequacy of their unrenovated dining halls.
According to Rosemarie E. McGahey, director for Residential Dining, the accommodations in store for Mather and Dunster include a rotation of pancakes and french toast every morning at breakfast, pizza every lunch, hard ice cream and toppings every night, and special brain breaks every evening.
Dining Services also plans to alter the serving lines to bring them on par with the islands of other houses.
“We’re trying to appease the people in Dunster and Mather,” Ted A. Mayer, director of HUDS, explained.
“When students are under pressure, little things become big things,” he said. “We take those little things very seriously and we’re trying to compensate.”
According to HUDS spokesperson Alex McNitt, budget constraints prevent the immediate renovation of the Mather and Dunster facilities, which are linked by an underground kitchen.
“Students are frustrated because their facilities are old and tired,” she said. “But we are trying to make up for it.”
Mayer said that part of the problem is the equipment in the kitchen.
“Mather and Dunster have antiquated cooking gear that would fit in the army or navy,” he said. “They’d be good at producing 60 gallons of tuna casserole, but students are looking for fresh vegetables and smaller quantities.”
It is also very difficult to monitor the food supply from the underground kitchen, according to Mayer .
“We juggle with trying to cook enough food so that we don’t run out, but not so much food that it sits around and is not fresh,” he said. “It’s a balancing act and we haven’t found the right formula yet.”
While searching for the right formula, HUDS has already implemented its program of accomodations to the old kitchen.
In addition to a new oven that will fire up pizzas for every lunch, a rotisserie oven has also been added to the equipment in the Dunster and Mather kitchens, according to McGahey.
Additional improvements in equipment include the new grill and steamer behind the serving area in Mather and plans to change the serving lines in both houses.
“We will be switching to platters and bowls on a flat heated black surface, like the other houses,” McGahey said.
In addition, students can expect improvements in the soup and pasta stations and personalized mug racks aimed at making students more aware of their use of china and paper cups.
“People eat with their eyes,” Mayer said, explaining how food appears more appetizing under halogen rather than flourescent lighting, “so we will try to make more attractive serveries.”
While some students may appreciate the improvements to the serving areas, most are more excited about menu changes like brain breaks that include cereal and mint chocolate chip ice cream.
“I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t like these changes,” Dunster house resident Greg E. Stein ’06, said. “While we may be lacking granite table tops, I’d take ice cream any day.”
Stephanie G. Nieto felt the same way, “Who doesn’t like ice cream?” she said, enjoying a bite of chocolate chip Breyers.
And at another table, Allison M. Colbert ’05 was pleased. “It’s nice that they’re trying,” she said
Student feedback is exactly what Mayer said that HUDS is looking for.
“We talked to the house masters about forming a food committee for the two houses,” he said. “Really, we’re looking to better understand what students want.”
—Staff writer Wendy D. Widman can be reached at email@example.com.
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