As a junior who just transferred to Kenyon, I’ve gotta hand it to you guys: Kenyon is pretty great so far. There are cool people, interesting classes—and of course, I love those cats. That being said, when people ask me what I like most about my new college, I have to be honest and say: Peirce. I have no reservations in saying that yes, I like Peirce food. Those words may be too tepid to accurately portray my feelings: I very well may love Peirce food. Attribute it to low expectations, dismal standards or even general gluttony, but I’ve found myself actively looking forward to the next awkward shuffle through the lines at the servery. There’s hardly any meal that doesn’t leave me impressed and surprised, returning for seconds and thirds until my stomach is ready to call it quits and walk out the door.
I have to admire the sheer variety of Peirce, as so far I’ve hardly been witness to any repeated dishes, and I’ve enjoyed almost every one that I’ve tried. This is a far cry from my previous college, whose dining halls—for some reason—prioritized a small number of primarily pork-based dishes, leaving a significant proportion of students, whether they observe vegan, vegetarian, kosher or halal diets, reliant on its feeble excuse for a vegetarian section. That section, in reality, amounted only to a fridge crammed with prepackaged sandwiches and salads that probably didn’t get swapped out regularly enough. It’s been a welcome change to not only have food options that consistently fit into my personal kosher observance, but multiple options every meal. Because I’ve been suffering from too much choice, sometimes I just blankly stare at the various lines without committing to one. It’s like I’m awestruck by the simultaneous existence of not only a grilled cheese line, but a taco line, as well.
There was a time, I do admit, when I liked the food at my old college, and I remember days when I also looked forward to the next meal. I looked forward to eating with my friends, taking in the atmosphere that the college had to offer. The veneer of this appreciation was not bound to last long, though, as I quickly became disinterested in eating as the weeks crept by into the semester. I became disinterested in the people I would eat with, in the institution at which I was eating, and even the obligatory pizza line. I found that my preferred method of eating was to skulk my way through the lines at the dining hall, buying my food and rushing it back to my dorm where I could eat in secluded silence, trying my best to forget where I was.
It’s been a strange experience for me, a full month into the semester, finding that I’m still just as enthusiastic about weaving my way through Peirce, excited to sit and eat with my new friends, absorbing the environment Kenyon has to offer. It’s entirely possible that the food at Kenyon isn’t even all that great, but it is indicative of something greater, something that only a transfer student can fully appreciate. I mean no shame or moralistic finger-wagging to the preponderance of the student body that refers to eating at Peirce as a either a Herculean task or hitherto-undiscovered layer of Hell. I simply feel compelled to express how fortunate I am to have Peirce, and the College as a whole, here for me. Basically, the mushroom risotto tastes better once you transfer.
Aaron Cooper ’21 is a English and Political science major from Northfield, Minnesota. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.