As a Belmont Hill student, you can bond with your classmates over one sure topic: the lackluster quality of food from the dining hall. It is common to see students look up at one of the TV’s around campus only to grimace at the main meal offering for the day—what is Dijon chicken, and why would they suffocate it in quinoa? I will afford one concession: it is inherently difficult to please the mercurial appetites of upwards of 425 adolescent boys with one main meal. Our classic prep school dining style does not afford students the same liberty of food choices as the cafeteria eating experience at, say, Nobles. Thus, it is imperative that there exist a plethora of other dining options for those who’d rather carbo-load and shovel down pasta rather than attempt to find meat amongst an extremely fatty cut of what is presumed to be steak. In this department, substantial progress has been made by our dining service; the salad bar offers a vast diversity of options for not only vegetarians and vegans, but also students looking for a deli sandwich or uniquely concocted salad.
The dining staff’s effort to improve the variety and supply of the salad bar is duly noted. They man the salad bar well, perpetually refilling and replacing. But the highlight of the salad bar is the wide range of options that it provides. To illustrate this point, I will describe my typical salad: lettuce (none of those spinach or prickly leaf-looking greens), carrots, cucumbers, tuna or chicken, raisins, feta cheese, topped off with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and pita bread with cottage cheese and a hard-boiled egg on the side. I understand how crazy my salad combination probably seems, but it tastes absolutely delicious—to each his own. I have not found a better balsamic-type dressing anywhere else. Props to the dining staff for this marked improvement concerning last year’s criticism that the salad bar was gutted about two minutes into the meal and lacked a diversity of ingredients. This improvement enables us to make smart, healthy choices for lunch by getting our recommended daily dose of vegetables (or for me, my daily dose of the entire food pyramid).
Speaking of healthy options, the desserts also seem to be much improved this year. I’m now very excited when dessert gets to the table and there’s a delicious looking pumpkin pie rather than uneaten cookies from milk and cookies the day before. After taking an unofficial poll of about three students at my lunch table, we all agreed that the dessert seems to be better. Very wise of the dining staff to end the meals on a high note.
Looking to the future, while the quality of salad bar options in the dining hall seems to be improving, only time will tell if this progressive arc extends to the main meals. For our sake—much to the chagrin of D’Agostino’s and Ma Magoo’s—I truly hope it does.