By Grayson Ruhl
McClurg’s newest addition, a revamped salad bar, is a “mixture between your regular salad bar, and a section of elegant prepared foods,” as described by Kathleen Kelso (C’17). Sewanee students recognize the hard work the McClurg staff has poured into the new salad bar, as well as the construction costs; nonetheless, there is always room for improvement, both from students and also concerning the structural design of the salad bar. For example, students must take it upon themselves to decipher a speedy yet just strategy for attaining food. As I have witnessed, there seem to be four total lines in the salad bar during busy hours: one for soup, one for bread, and two for actual salad.
Students have commented on these difficulties in organizing lines around the salad bar. Kathryn Willgus (C’16) predicts, “Once students have a better grasp on where to begin the line, I think the new salad bar will become a great addition to McClurg.” Although Willgus appreciates the vast potential of this addition, she also notes, “My only regret is that they can’t leave yogurt and fruit out all day.” Likewise, Caroline Owens (C’18) has mixed feelings, torn between an adoration of McClurg’s fresh new options and aggravation toward the troublesome structural layout:
“I think it was a great thought, but poorly executed. There are definitely positives, like the special salads they put out. Those are really great, and a healthy option. On the other hand, the glass on top of it makes the toppings hard to reach and holds up the lines because people are having to bend down and struggle just to reach for things. If they just removed the glass on top of it, the system would be much more efficient.”
Helen Wilson (C’18) has more passionate feelings about the salad bar, which oscillate between highest praise and violent rage: she exclaims, “The pre-made salads are dank [sic] and it seems to be pretty popular, but you can’t reach all the toppings and it’s so frustrating.”
Many other students typically abstain from salads, and their views are more lukewarm. Those who would prefer pesto pizza, curry pork, or chicken pot pie, rather than the refreshing crunch of lettuce and onions, still acknowledge the objective beauty of the salad bar. “I don’t really get any salads from there, but I must say it looks pretty,” explained Simba Chakanyuka (C’17). Whereas students in the thick of the salad bar line are disoriented in the maddening clutter of lines, students observing the salad bar from afar are detached from the struggles. Chrishna Srey (C’16) notes, “I really like the look of the new salad bar. The design seems to help with traffic flow, which is good.” However, Srey also feels conflicted: “Sometimes if you sit on non-frat side and are walking back to get food, there are some salad lights that can be blinding sometimes…”
Despite these complaints, Srey is still interested by the salad bar’s new features. “Maybe now I will start eating salad,” he ponders. As foreshadowed by Srey, it is only a matter of time until such students, who have not tasted the glory of McClurg’s spinach and bell peppers, will succumb to the alluring aesthetic of the salad bar. Dylan Greer (C’17), also enticed by the salad bar’s physical features, explains, “I like the shininess of it. And the odd shape–it really brings the room together.”
It has always been my duty as a professional staff writer to remain unbiased throughout my articles, but I feel a burning conviction to weigh in. In my time at Sewanee, I have admired the delicious food and generous portions that the McClurg staff provides. My devotion to McClurg has inspired me to debate many of my peers, sometimes close friends, about its greatness. All too often, I hear McClurg put-downs: “I should have just eaten ramen,” “I’m so sick of the same food every day,” or, my personal favorite, “There is literally nothing to eat here,” which is objectively false. I often combat such phrases, with tears welling in my eyes, sputtering back, “McClurg is love,” and asking them, “Did you even visit other colleges? How was their food in comparison?” McClurg’s dining establishment is one to be lauded most dearly by its frequenters. This sentiment of mine holds true for the new salad line. Phoebe Layne (C’18) explains how she (and I) feel better than I ever could: “The new salad bar is absolutely phenomenal… My bread is always warmed and so is my heart.”