In Defense of the Cafeteria

One Man Rises to Defend Our Hallowed Fordham Institution from the Haters and Losers.

by Noah Kotlarek

Copy Editor

The cafeteria isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s wonderful, marvelous, and terrific. A cornucopia like the Marketplace, as it is officially called, deserves to be appreciated. I can name no other place where I can get rigatoni topped with tomato sauce and mushrooms then drop tens tongs worth of broccoli onto it. No other place can I go get two cups of hot chocolate, ten cookies, two toasted bagels with grape jam, two bananas, two apples, and one orange. Then if I’m still hungry and it’s a good day at the cafeteria, to the left where the lady stands with the heat lamp there will be some baked salmon or a piece of steak (admittedly this is rare though). There are also cereals and every possible type of milk you could imagine bar eggnog. Have you tried the rice pudding, Jell-O, brownies, and the array of ice cream flavors? All of this can be yours for about 11 USD or one meal swipe. And you can take as much as you want. This is the deal of the century. Besides, you’ve already purchased your meal plan, you might as well use it.

Many, however, argue that though you can get a mammoth amount of food the quality is not very good. “I end up eating cereal everyday as the other food is borderline inedible,” says Fordham freshman, Natalie Lamb, GSB ’22. This is only true if you put yourself in two boxes: selecting the worst food and coming into the cafeteria with a negative attitude. Often the people who complain about the cafeteria food eat the same pizza slice dripping in grease and room temperature burger. It’s no wonder they complain. Explore! The cafeteria has so much more to offer. Don’t limit yourself. Go to the pasta station and wait an extra two minutes so Martin can make you some penne. It is worth waiting. Go to the lady with the heat lamp and get some potatoes, green beans, and fish. Cop a biscotti. Second, and maybe more importantly, come into the cafeteria with a positive outlooks and realistic expectations. Be glad when there are pretzel sticks and grateful that you are at an all you can eat institution. for 11 dollars. Be reasonable, don’t expect an amazing meal, though it is. Furthermore, refer to the third principle of economics, “Rational people think at the margins.” This is what you must do. Consider more than just the quality or selection of the food. What else are you gaining from the cafeteria? First, quantity and value. You can get more food for a lower cost than at any other restaurant. Second, convenience. If you want better food you’ll have to walk a considerable distance out in the cold. For value, nothing can beat the cafeteria.

There are, however, a few issues with the cafeteria. The greatest is the fact that the cafeteria is not open long enough. On weekends it seems like the cafeteria is always closed for dinner and does not serve lunch. On Saturday and Sunday, the cafeteria only offers waffles, eggs, bacon, and cereal. This could be a chance to explore other eateries over the break, except they too are closed. With these limited hours, students are forced to adopt the motto “In Urban we Trust.” Urban Kitchen, though not the best culinary institution on campus, is open until 1 am every day. Very trusty and quite convenient.
If the cafeteria cannot satisfy you, then Così probably can. Even if you are not a fan of Adobo Chicken nor tomato soup you can still enjoy the friendliness and warmth of the staff. Their kindness and charm can make your day. Also, be sure to go to the brick oven where the chef often hands out warm pieces of bread. Magnifico! That being said, Aramark (Fordham’s catering service) does need to expand their options for vegetarians and vegans. My colleague, Manas Vani, a Hindu and Vegetarian, once ordered a vegetarian rendition of the panini. He was handed a piece of bread with six slices of cucumber and some mayo.

However, the cafeteria is only going to get better. In recent years, Fordham has discussed renovations for the McGinley Center, which would include a new cafeteria.

Before closing this article, I leave you with some helpful hints to make your next visit to the marketplace as enjoyable as possible. Avoid going to the cafeteria between 2 to 5 PM. This is the period were the staff is transitioning from lunch to dinner and thus there is a very limited selection of food. If you are looking for lunch, avoid going to the cafeteria before noon. At this time the pasta station is still operating as the omelet station.
Fellow Rams, you deserve to take full advantage of the cafeteria. Go out there, fork in hand, try something new, and enjoy a meal at the Marketplace.

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