Crappy Communal

Subpar Food Paired with Quality Company

**This is part of a series of satirical articles that were to be published in the 2020 edition of The Clown.**

It’s day eleven of quarantine, and I am once again standing in front of my fridge wondering what to cook for dinner. Practicing social distancing means that I am avoiding frequent trips to the grocery store and have stocked up on a bunch of frozen foods. I’ve been rotating through a handful of meals, chicken fingers and fries, pasta, frozen veggies, breakfast for dinner, and while I’m so thankful for my health, a safe place I get to call home and, access to enough food, my taste buds are definitely lacking some variety. My social distancing diet has me thinking—no dreaming—of communal suppers. 

Standing in line at 4:30, eagerly awaiting to be let in at 4:45, chatting with friends guessing what is on tonight’s gourmet menu. A fourth-year student shares his personal favourite, the chicken parm, “It’s by far the best dish I have ever tasted. I love the unique take on the traditional Italian meal. It’s like boiled chicken with a marinara sauce that is both dry but sloppy topped off with a slab of semi-melted cheese that slides right off the chicken!”

Most universities in Ontario provide their students with some sort of dining plan so I was interested to see how Redeemer’s communal dinner compared to the meals provided at other institutions. After talking with a previous Redeemer student who now attends a different university, she reported that her current meals are “dogfood” compared to communal.

“At my new school I have access to Tim Horton’s, Subway, Thai Express, and four different cafeterias but nothing beats communal chicken. It was always fun cutting into that first piece of chicken to see if it would be pink or if you were lucky, sometimes red! I remember those Wednesday nights after communal so well … that chicken was so delicious that my body just couldn’t handle it.”

While the main course is absolutely to-die-for, (in fact I think I almost did one time, compliments to the red chicken), the desert section is a fan favourite. A first-year student describes his communal experience so far, 

“I live in a dorm full of eight hungry guys so a lot of our dining dollars and meal plan money go towards the essentials—bread, kraft dinner, cheddar sausages, chicken fingers, so it’s really rare that we ever have fruits or vegetables in the dorm. Communal is great because that’s when I stock up on bananas, apples and oranges for the week!” 

You would think that food cooked to perfection (and by perfection we mean sometimes not even cooked), would come at a high price but communal meals are only $15.00! All jokes aside, I can’t really continue to roast communal because at times, especially right now, I miss it. Sure, the food is sub-par but sharing a meal with friends, obnoxiously singing happy birthday, and eating way too many bread sticks is priceless. Next fall, hopefully, communal will be up and running—and we can cherish every under cooked piece of chicken, every cup of half melted ice-cream, and the casual conversations with friends and classmates!