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In Defense of Commons

Commons is not that bad. That being said, I am told that, as a first-year student, I have not experienced the worst of our infamous dining options. However, this will be an analysis of the way Commons has been perceived throughout this academic year in reference to its actual culinary quality. I do yield that Commons’ food is not always the best, but I do affirm that it is better than it is made out to be. 

One common (pun intended) complaint of the aforementioned food is that the options themselves are just that: common. Students claim that the menu at commons is the same every day, lulling their taste buds into a sense of flavor-monotony. On the contrary, the menu does vary each day. There are seven main sections to the daily Commons menu: salad bar, sandwich bar, dessert bar, pasta bar, pizza, and two hot options—one of which generally being vegetarian or vegan. The former five options, in alliance with this complaint, do not have much variance. The menu instead gets fluctuations from the two latter, hot options. Indeed, these options are often the best, some highlights being mystery-meat-looking casseroles that are oddly homey, roasted mixed vegetables that are actually seasoned pretty well, pork stews, most all of the tofu options, and occasionally the main protein delivers a surprising satisfaction. Some days, there is good food at Commons. Even though some of my fellow students will not admit it, there are a few bangers that see the menu from time to time. Moreover, even if the two rotating menu options are less than appetizing, there are always the other five menu sections to choose from. You are free to make yourself a ham and swiss melt, spinach salad, or bowl of mediocre pasta that, let’s be honest, isn’t any worse than the one you made for yourself that one time to justify the strainer you bought from Walmart.

Talking more on that point, Commons offers you all of the power to cook for yourself. The student meal plan, in this way, gives one access to myriad raw ingredients to use for personal cooking. Raw tofu, onions, carrots, spinach, and other vegetables from the salad bar with premade rice, for example, give you the body of what can be a great bowl of fried rice if treated the right way. The same cannot be said for Hamilton’s new dinner options.

Furthermore, those who claim that Hamilton’s is better than Commons are lying to themselves, with the notable exception of breakfast. Otherwise, Hamilton’s menu varies with the same frequency of Commons while maintaining the same quality of cuisine. Both are ultimately menus curated for hundreds of students that result in decent at best food with the few occasional gems. At Commons, too, one does not have to wait up to an hour to get their dinner, avoiding the packed room of hungry teens and twenty-somethings impatiently whining about the line. Commons does not experience nearly the same amount of these issues as Hamiltons.

Another hot take: Hammies’ new dinner options are only interesting because of their novelty. The bowls, which in my opinion are the best in reference to the pizza and salad (which you can get at Commons), have the same exact problems that people complain about Commons for. Once you know what you prefer, you only ever get the same bowl day after day. At Commons, at least, a choice is forced into your lap by virtue of their not being an ordering app. If either of them were to be categorized as monotonous in its menu options, it is surely Hamilton’s — with a menu that has had nearly no alterations. Thus, Hamilton’s menu changes less than Commons with less options and food that is of the same quality. It is not better than Commons, and some days it is even worse.

Ultimately, Commons is not as bad as it is made out to be. Notably, it has not been visited by a certain French tire company for any sort of renowned excellence as a culinary institution, but it is not as bad as people say it is. Simply put, I will not stand for Commons slander that is often thoughtless, groundless, founded in logically fallacious strongman and circular arguments, and/or filled with hasty generalizations. Commons is better than people say it is, and I will believe it until I receive my diploma.

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