Live Real. Eat Real.

A Wheaty Matter

I mentioned yesterday that I spent Friday at Kent State University with The Young One attending something called “Golden Flash Day.”  It was basically a recruiting event; an attempt to woo potential students that have been accepted by the school but haven’t yet decided where they want to attend.  If I’d known that, I think we’d probably have skipped it, although we did accomplish a couple of things, including a seminar on Financial Aid (I shudder every time I think about the $76,000 price tag – not including books – the next four years carries) and a tour of the particular college he’ll be attending (the university is divided into particular colleges, each dedicated to a general area of study – The Young One will be attending the college of Information and Communication).

The day started off with breakfast:  some vile swill they called “coffee” and about a half mile worth of tables covered with donuts and granola bars.

Guess who skipped the whole mess (The Young One assured me his cinnamon roll was awful).

Lunch – four hours later – was a sit-down affair.  I didn’t register for the event, so I had no idea that there would be different options for the meal; apparently there was a choice of chicken, fish or a vegetarian option.  If you didn’t choose the fish or vegetarian option, you were stuck with chicken.  Not that it made much difference.

When we sat down, there was a salad in front of each diner – low and behold, no cheese or croutons, just greens, a slice of cucumber and a cherry tomato.  The only options for dressing were ranch and Italian, but after no breakfast I certainly wasn’t going to quibble over a little soybean oil so I dressed the salad, inhaled it, gave my roll to the boy, and waited for the main course.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

If you’d chosen the fish or vegetarian option when you registered, they mailed you a card which you were then instructed you put on your plate.  The waitstaff – of which there was far too few – brought those out first.  The vegetarian option was some sort of alfredo lasagna – buried under breadcrumbs.  I couldn’t tell you what the fish was, because it was buried – yup – under breadcrumbs.

If you’re thinking this didn’t bode well for the chicken, you’d be correct.

As I looked down at my breaded piece of chicken breast smothered in some sort of cream sauce – that I’d waited more than half an hour to receive – I noticed The Young One was eying the roasted red potatoes on his plate with equal displeasure (the boy is weird about potatoes).

“Want my chicken?” I asked.

“Okay – you can have my potatoes.  Want some of my green beans too?”

So that was how we divided lunch, and I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I went back for a second helping of the venison I made for dinner that evening.

This has me a worried all over again about the food options that will be available to The Young One when he is living on campus, but more than that, I have to ask one question:

WHY?  Why was it necessary to entomb everything in bread?  You couldn’t serve baked fish or roasted chicken?  What would have been wrong (or difficult) about that?  I’ve worked in food service before and understand the logistics of feeding that many people – there were close to 1,000 attendees – but I still don’t understand the need for all the breadcrumbs.  If it was an attempt to prevent the entrees from drying out, The Young One assures me it was a failure, and if the remnants on the plates around me were any indication, he wasn’t alone in that assessment.  If this was part of the master plan to persuade those who are undecided about the university they will attend, I can only wonder about the success of the endeavor.

After all, if you ask someone to find a way to shell out $76,000 over the next 4 years, they’re going to need their strength.

For more “Why?” Spins, head on over and visit Gretchen at Second Blooming.  She might even have some answers.


8 comments

meaghan says:

I was just as dismayed (more like incredulous) when we went out to Old Chicago Pizza to celebrate a friend’s birthday party. Needless to say, my husband and I ate falling-off-the-bone-tender pastured pork ribs with homemade BBQ sauce, mashed rutabaga and butternut squash, and roasted asparagus before we headed over. While watching everyone else eating I marveled at how much bread there was…on EVERYTHING! The appetizers range from “pizza rolls” which are 90% bread and 10% filling of meat/cheese. You pay over $5 for a salad which is nothing but iceberg lettuce and a few shreds of “cheese” and LOADS of croutons. Or you could choose from chicken drumsticks breaded, and smeared in a sauce. And I almost forgot to mention! They provide every table with a rather large loaf of buttered, garlicky bread topped with cheese. So after you’ve gluten-bombed on all the free bread/appetizers, you get to move on to the main course….MORE BREAD! Pizza is mostly bread anyway, but many people get calzones. I watched one guy eat half of it and he seemed to tire of all the bread, so he emptied the other half of the filling…piddly. There was a little bit of sausage and peppers, but again, 90% of that calzone was bread. No wonder America is fat. It’s sad and disheartening, and my husband and I got chided (jokingly) for not eating anything including the birthday cake (are you kidding???) but we sipped our waters with full rib-filled stomachs.

Lisa says:

I wouldn’t agree more. I HATE breading on stuff. Or when you go someplace and eat and all there is is bread, crackers, pizza, fried bits. Blurrgh.

Gretchen says:

You didn’t tell me you had a why spin! I just dropped by all on my own and here it is. I’ll link you up soon. After I get Jude to school.

Anyway…I don’t know why it is either. Maybe the bread crumbs are just filler to make it seem like they’re giving you more? Or maybe it’s supposed to cover up the poor quality of the meat? Either way…ugh. I’m afraid that I consumed nothing my freshman year of college but diet Dr. Pepper, cigarettes and Doritos.

Jan says:

You know, I had JUST realized I forgot to tell you my Spin was up and was about to head over and leave you the comment, when yours came through. Great minds, and all.

I think The Young One is a little too spoiled to subsist entirely on the freshman diet; he complains about the quality of the food if he spends the weekend away from home. Which is not to say that I don’t think he’ll consume his fair share of root beer and Doritos (he’s never been that big on Dr. Pepper; don’t ask me – sometimes I wonder if I didn’t get someone else’s kid at the hospital), just that he won’t be satisfied with a diet of nothing but junk.

Well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway.

Kitty says:

You mentioned the sauce, too. Which is the point where I totally become angry when I attend something like this. Because I can sometimes clearly see that it was an innocent piece of chicken breast that I would have carefully picked out from between the other breaded crapola on the plate. But then they drizzled that sauce on it and sometimes they even drizzle on over onto the previously naked, even great looking vegetable. NO ONE ever knows what the sauce is made of! (And I feel like an ass for asking three different waiters as people around me wolf down their plates of food.)

I always have to assume the sauce is some sort of powdered something made with a gluten filler. Or something with a canned mushroom soup base. At that point, I’ve been known to beg for the other pieces of cheesecake left around the table and carefully eat only the tops!

Be says:

Exactly Kitty! Then they look at you like you’re the one eating an unhealthy diet.

I hate to tell you this, but college is even more expensive than you go in expecting. Hidden costs galore. As for the cafeterias on campus, both of my kids have had healthy options available. I have no idea what Kent State offers, but my oldest son is METICULOUS about a healthy diet and he managed fine. (Although after 3 years he was pretty sick of all the healthy options being repeated and opted for renting a house with his own kitchen for this school year.) I do mail occasional care packages back to him of nut butters and other specialty items he likes but has a hard time finding.

Michele says:

Two words…Care Packages

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