The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Where has all the hotdish gone?

By Jane Robinson

Students returning for another year of cafeteria-based sustenance may feel a little lost as they swipe their cards and enter the familiar terrain of Caf Mac.A compass that used to follow the geographical rule, “North-East-South-West” with that catchy pneumonic “Never Eat Shredded Wheat” has been replaced by the somewhat disconcerting and less jingle-able “East-South-West-Double Salad Bar.

Yes, the silver North sign still hangs high, but the daily selection of comfort food, and the staple array of carved meat and mashed potatoes no longer have the feel of the North of the past.

The shift of the North side of the cafeteria from a hot food line to a double salad line is a noticeable change in the daily operations of Macalester’s Bon Apptit-catered cafeteria.

New silver bowls line both sides of the counter with fresh veggies and a variety of salad dressings. The front of the counter displays an expanded deli section, with cold cut choices, pre-made salads and usually two types of hummus, as well as other sandwich spreads.

Students who frequent Caf Mac give mixed reviews.

The changes in the cafeteria have been “positive overall” Carlye Sikkink ’09 and Joe Novak ’09 said. They are generally pleased with their Monday through Friday lunch experience.

Yet many sophomores are less enthusiastic.

“The North was my favorite station,” Max Cady ’10 complains. “Now that there is one less station, the rest of the lines have gotten unbearable. It’s so annoying to eat in Caf Mac now.”

“The lines are too long and I have seen food running out towards the end of the meals,” Dan Esrig ’10 said. “Plus, the salad bar is virtually always empty.

Emil Mellgren ’10, of Sweden, found a special connection with the North station. “I’m from the North and need my meat and potatoes,” he said.

Livia Martini ’10 felt similarly. “I am used to eating meat at every meal, and North was my go-to station,” she said.

So what prompted the eradication of the North Station?

General Manager Lori Hartzell said that the switch has “been in the works for a couple of years now due to student input, as well as input from the college.”

Bon Apptit and administrative representatives meet regularly to discuss possible changes in the cafeteria. Most decisions are made jointly, not solely by the Bon Apptit company.

Another change is the addition of a sub shop in the Atrium Caf on the second floor of the campus center. The Atrium now serves subs and soups of the day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students can use their flex or aux dollars to grab a sub if they are in a rush or missed the 1:30 lunch cutoff.

But what of the daily meat and potatoes fare?

The most popular foods from the North station will be rotated through the West and other stations, Hartzell said. Students who keep their eyes out will be able to find their old favorites.

Undeniably, the lines are getting longer this year at every station. But it is unclear if the lack of the North station is the culprit, or if it is simply the addition of 100 more freshmen compared to the size of the sophomore class. This increased traffic could be leading to longer lines.

“You can never make everybody happy,” Hartzell said.

So, meat-lovers: grab a refrigerated plate and get in the non-line at the salad bars. Try a carrot or two. They’re good for you.

One administrative change this summer that may have escaped the notice of all but the most forgetful students relates to identification cards. Students who forget their ID card (now called the “Plaid Pass”) will find their cards disabled when they ask for a temporary pass from card services.

The new system protects students from theft, since ID cards have a sizeable amount of money in their swipe power.

“Now if students forget their cards in their dorms and don’t feel like getting them, they can’t just come up here to get a pass because they are feeling lazy,” according to Sandy Burroughs, Card Services Coordinator.

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    Michelle BakerSep 6, 2019 at 2:47 pm

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