Haute Cuisine Hot-Takes: Meat Night

Graphic courtesy of Kinsey Ratzman ’21

Graphic courtesy of Kinsey Ratzman ’21

BY SARAH PAUST ’20

Dairy and meat days at Wilder each have their benefits and drawbacks, but what if you had to choose between the two? Overall, dairy days are widely-regarded as the best due to their popular dishes. However, meat days are the unsung hero of dining halls, and deserve higher status. 

As far as the food itself goes, dairy days are well-known for several kitchen-specific delicacies, such as homemade pizza and appetizer night, which, of course, would not be complete without mozzarella sticks. Cheese is incredibly popular among college students and Americans in general, and it is a common ingredient in comfort foods. Although cheese pizzas and creamy pastas are undeniably delicious, they can start to lose their luster if you indulge too often. Additionally, those with dietary restrictions on dairy cannot partake in these foods and although there are always vegan options, they tend to be limited in variety and just aren’t quite as exciting.

That’s where Tuesday and Friday come in. Wilder’s meat days are highly underrated. Sure, dairy days may occasionally bless us with unlimited mozzarella sticks, but meat days sometimes bring unlimited chicken nuggets, which ultimately make for a better entree. They also feature items that you simply can’t get at any other dining hall, such as lamb, shepherd’s pie and pigs in a blanket.  However, meat days are less accessible for vegetarians, who can normally find plenty to choose from on dairy days. Vegans will again strike out, finding themselves limited to one or two entrees and sides.

Dairy days may showcase the most popular menu items, but your ability to obtain said items is seriously hampered by the crowds. If you wish to attend appetizer night, for instance, you will almost certainly be faced with a line that goes out the door unless you arrive promptly when the kitchen opens. Even worse is the seating situation – after fifteen minutes or more in line, you emerge victorious, mozzarella sticks in hand, and are dismayed to find that there is simply nowhere to sit.

Meat days, on the other hand, tend to be less popular, and as a result they are often quieter and have shorter lines. Even during peak lunch hours, it’s possible to get in and get your food efficiently. This relative peacefulness also has the added benefit of permitting the diner to pause, relax, and take in the full beauty of their surroundings, as Wilder is a lovely dining hall.

Mathematically speaking, dairy days are more than twice as frequent as meat days. Perhaps this lopsidedness has caused me to become jaded, but I believe that dairy days are, ultimately, overrated. Most of the time, the food isn’t the healthiest --— I love cheese, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing — and the dining hall is usually overcrowded. Meat days are the unsung hero of the diner in search of a quiet meal, and they deserve better than a second-rate status.

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