Staff Editorial: In defense of Anderson food

In defense of Anderson food.

More stories from Karl Bjornerud

This is an opinionated campus. No matter what the issue, there are always opposing viewpoints ready to make themselves heard. It’s a beautiful thing, really – the truest form of academic and social dialogue – what more could be asked of a liberal arts campus? There is one stance, however, that is apparently unanimous among students at Hamline: no one seems to like Anderson food.

The negativity surrounding the Bishop’s Bistro typically centers around two things: a lack of variety and an overall substandard quality. Students bemoan eating the same dish a few days in a row, and ridicule the food’s stale, flavorless nature. There is a certain degree of legitimacy to this; after all, as Abraham Lincoln said, “you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” It would be impossible for everyone to completely enjoy Anderson food. Nevertheless, the rap it gets is undeservedly bad.

To begin, the range of foods available to Bistro diners is far larger than it is given credit. The fault, at least in this complaint, rests in great part with students; it is easy to label the range at Anderson as narrow when one does not take full advantage of their options. The two most frequented stations in the Bistro are the grill and sandwich lines. For many, every meal consists of one (or both) of two things: greasy fried food or plain, bland deli-style sandwiches. It is no wonder, then, that variety is continually brought up in complaints about Anderson food. Nor is it surprising when people whine over its boring tastes and textures – if one eats french fries every day, one is bound to be sick of them within a week.

The solution to both these gripes is easy. There are many more stations at the Bistro, each with distinct types of food. Most of these also have rotating menus, which allow for much more variation. Instead of relying on the sausage patties, pizza and burgers of the grill station, or the flour tortillas, bell peppers and tuna salad of the sandwich line, go to the vegetarian area. Between the Moroccan vegetable stew, the vegan sloppy joes, and the tofu stir-fry, this section is home to by far some of the more varied and flavorful options within Anderson’s buffet. The salad line, too, can provide fantastic sides such as beans, beets, tomato slices and many more. When special options are given, such as burritos or noodle bowls, do not eschew these; they may take longer, but their quantity and quality is well worth it.

Ultimately, this is all up to personal taste. If a person does not like the food at Anderson, that is their prerogative, and their opinion is unlikely to be swayed. Nonetheless, the effort that Bistro staff make to provide thousands of people with food at a consistent quality is remarkable, and students should be a bit more considerate of the privilege given them.