I’m here in Cambridge, Mass. checking out this funky little program serving up—that’s right—student-faculty interaction outside the classroom. Seriously, man, I gotta tell you, for real this time, I’m not even messing around: the Harvard Classroom-to-Table program is as good as a pickle-packed burger griddling on a red hot corvette hood in the L.A. sunshine.
Have you ever shot the breeze with your Pulitzer-prize winning professor as Grafton Street’s pappardelle bolognese (with that real-deal pork flavor) flies straight for your dome on a hot frisbee of fun? That’s bananas, my friend, and bananas is good.
When I ran the Johnny Garlic’s restaurant chain, I served up barrels of my bourbon bison meatloaf, stuffed to the brim with garlic mash like a hot tub in Flavortown. But I always knew there was something missing; the shama lama, as they say, was absent from the ding dong. That something was the Office of Undergraduate Education and their righteous funding, brother.
With the Classroom-to-Table program, everything was absolutely funkalicious. Students across campus exclaimed “Slamma jamma I love that lamb-a!” It was the only joy they had felt in years.
But sadly, brother, it appears the Classroom-to-Table program had at least 4,269 square yards of flavor, forcing it out of bounds. Shut the front door, you say? Yes, I also was madder than a red hot pickle pot stuffed with broiled brats with a side of tater tots when I heard the news. This semester, students were limited to two lights-out delicious meals per semester, and even then funding ran out faster than a jackrabbit covered with a bottle of washashashasha sauce.
No, brother, I’m not bitter. I am just sadder than a plate of mashed potatoes without any garlic sauce. You see, the real value of Flavortown isn’t in the buffalo cheese sauce, or the big volcano-shaped tower made from onion rings, or even in those succulent baby-back ribs whose tangy twang creates a festival of funk. It’s in the friendships we make along the way—in those deep conversations we have in the big hot tubs of barbeque sauce, our words accented ever so gently with the occasional soft sizzle of a side of bacon.
Yes, it’s a tragedy that all that is bomb-dot-com tasty is moved ever farther from the masses, dangled tantalizingly before the eyes of undergraduates like a spicy salami in the smokehouse. But I will sleep tonight with a small sliver of hope: perhaps, next semester, there will be goat cheese bruschetta for all, and every student will have their very own hot tub in Flavortown. Then, and only then, can they be free, experiencing the ineluctable modality of shama lama ding dong.
—Magazine writer Drew C. Pendergrass can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @pendergrassdrew.