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Top Four Worst Commons Meals

Commons is infamous for its less than delightful cuisine, but students new to campus this year have not experienced the full depth of what Commons last year truly was. In general, most of the courses simply required a good dousing of Sriracha to get it down the gullet, but there are a few meals that truly stick out as a culinary gaffe. Though, some of this can possibly be chalked up to the fact that Beloit resides in the Midwest, where salad includes maraschino cherries and whipped cream. 

This tale shall begin with mac and cheese. A classical Italian dish which has become ingrained in American culture, mac and cheese is a staple in many a household. This year, the mac and cheese has been normal, perfectly okay to eat, for the most part predictable with no little surprise treats inside. An experience which was not encountered last year. Two words: Hot Cheetos. Why, you may ask, were Hot Cheetos involved? A similar question rang out through campus when we were served mac and cheese topped with not simply Hot Cheetos, but stale ones at that. Hot Cheetos were the least of it, though. Also served was mac and cheese with little bits of chicken hidden within the cheesy depths, sometimes along with avocado. You may be thinking to yourself, “Why, that doesn’t sound truly horrible! It sure is an interesting pairing, but it can’t be that bad, right?” Wrong. Hidden treasures are not as delectable as they may seem to outsiders. 

Let that lesson carry the story into the next delicacy. What is the plainest food one can think of? White rice. The next? An unseasoned hamburger patty. Put them together, and you end up with a meal that leaves you saying, “I guess?” But wait! There is more! It is not simply the patty on top of the rice, but situated upon the patty is a fried egg. Again, this is not a meal that is inherently bad sounding, but it is also not something that you would or should expect to eat unless it was the last four items of food in your fridge late on a Saturday night when you simply do not care. “But wait, four items? You only mentioned three.” Yes, dear reader, four. Think back to the hidden chicken in the mac and cheese. Lurking, hidden underneath the patty, in amongst the rice, was mushroom gravy. There are almost no words to describe the surprise of finding this little morsel inside a meal. 

This next meal shifts the focus a little from Commons. For those who were not on campus last year, or in years past, Hamiltons (affectionately known as Hammies by students) served breakfast, lunch and dinner. Typically they had one or two meals that would always be served for lunch and dinner; first semester it was Hammie Burgers, the next was make your own burritos. They would throw in some other scrumptious meals, such as chicken tenders. These tenders (or tendies, as many called them) were the highlight of Hamiltons. On weekends, students would flock to the Powerhouse to gobble up these fried birds. That is, until disaster struck. One or two stories began popping up, and then a couple more, of uncooked tendies. Students posted on the Facebook page, sharing pictures of their tendies, lamenting at their unfortunate meal. 

Granted, all of these food mishaps and maladies occurred last year, and Commons has changed quite a bit since then. It has more options in every sense. They have a salad bar, they have more than two meal options, they have sides, they have more fruit available in the mornings, they have bagels and cereal and self-serve rice bowls. Overall, they are much improved. However, the next meal in this narrative occurred at the beginning of this very semester, and it was not bad. It was disappointing. 

Commons opens for breakfast at 7:15 am and closes at 9:00 every morning. By 8:45 one morning, they had run out. There were no eggs, no bacon, simply a large bowl of tater tots warming behind the glass counter. Not only were tater tots the only option, but the only option was tater tots. For breakfast. Tater tots for breakfast. This is an interesting reflection of food at Commons, and perhaps other Midwest colleges as well. Ketchup and tots at 9:00 in the morning is not an experience one wishes to repeat. 

This list of worst meals is not a reflection of the wonderful staff working at Commons, but simply an observation of the food they were provided. They work hard to cook and supply meals for the students, and many of these issues are a result of the college, or a consequence of supply chains breaking down during a global pandemic. Although, there has been one saving grace throughout everything: Commons’ eggs. 

These heavenly bits of cloud have been a morning staple to many students, even something they longed for over the summer. A mystery as to how they are made, these eggs are magic. Put simply by Cam Stenberg ‘24, “Commons’ eggs are simply a delight.” 

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