CDS Thanksgiving Dinner
Let the Preparations Begin
Every year, the University of Missouri Columbia provides a Thanksgiving feast for students on campus. This feast is almost always on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving/Fall Break begins for the University students. Preparation for the dinner begins weeks in advanced when chefs and management get together to decide, based on previous years, how much food to order. The goal of this meeting is to look at statistics recorded from previous years and order big-ticket items like potatoes and rolls, without ordering too much and having waste after the dinner. After ordering the food, it is delivered and not only fills coolers and storage shelves, but also overflows into hallways and even the manager’s office.
After the delivery and storage of many boxes of food, cooking preparation begins the day before the Thanksgiving Dinner. Everyone on staff is expected to participate either in the preparation itself or serving students in the dining room during regular business hours. The kitchen and preparation areas are packed with workers and food ready to be cooked on metal rolling racks and trays. Upstairs is where the baking and the cooking take place, as the only ovens in the establishment are in the preparation areas of the dining room. Downstairs, the kitchen is filled with constant noise and movement. Cooked ham is being sliced, vegetables are being cut up, rolls are being placed on trays ready to be taken upstairs and baked, and potatoes are being mashed. Workers who have not been scheduled come in, if only to help make everything run smoother. The day of the dinner is the most stressful day of preparation for the workers. There is no room for movement and the overall emotion in Dobbs is anxiety. Whether it is the decorations crew who are working to make the dining hall as festive as possible, the kitchen staff who are working a mile a minute to get the remainder of the food cooked and ready for consumption, or the management who try to balance dinner preparations with the lunch rush, everyone is anxious. There is not a worker who is not doing his or her best to make the dinner as successful as possible.
Let the Feast Begin
The food is prepared, the decorations are ready, and the doors are open. Students and families alike join together for a campus Thanksgiving Dinner. Lines go out the doors and wrap around the back patio in order to even get into Pavilion at Dobbs for the fresh meal. The first things people notice are the fall decorations; scarecrows, pumpkins, and fall leaves give off an ambiance of Thanksgiving festivities. The second thing people observe is the delicious smell of the food rising off of freshly baked trays of buttered rolls and silver platters of fresh cooked turkey. The third thing people see is the lack of places to sit. The line is one-in-one-out, as are the tables. MaryKate Polito, freshman at the University of Missouri Columbia, and her friends wait in the lobby to sit down for 10 minutes. Though the wait was not long, the smell of food is torture for the hungry students and families.
Lockin' It Up
As the meal finishes up around 7:00 PM, students and families walk out the doors in groups, discussing the delicious food and how they will have to go on a diet next semester. Thanksgiving Break is a day away and all students can go back to their rooms with full bellies and rest. Workers are relaxed as well. The dinner was successful, and there was not much waste because workers took home to-go boxes as compensation for a job well done. The decorations are taken down, the floors mopped, and any food that will hold up for lunch the next day is wrapped up and put in the coolers. As the doors are locked for the night around 10:00 PM, workers and management alike are relieved and ready to go home to their families for a well-deserved night’s rest.