The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Burning Questions in the Grundle

Maya Goldie
Students enter the Harris Millis dining hall and browse the food options Sept. 23.

From administrative adjustments like reworking the course registrar system, to new student life changes like The Halal Shack, the beginning of each fall semester brings numerous changes to UVM.

In this storm of change, one thing always seems to stay static: contention over the Grundle. While some hail it as the premier dining hall, others proclaim the food to be utterly inedible. Everyone on campus seems to have an opinion and is willing to defend it.

To document the colorful range of beliefs surrounding the controversial dining hall, below are a collection of student opinions and stories discussing the Grundle.

Question 1: Worst Grundle meal 

When discussing the Grundle, even if the interviewee was a staunch supporter of the dining hall, the conversation often ended up centering around their most dreaded meal. Sophomore Adam Smith had one particular meal in mind. 

Since last fall Smith has worked part-time at Harris Millis Dining, starting in the front of house but more recently joining the line. From both his perspective as an employee and as a diner, Smith has cemented a least favorite meal.

“It’s pasta,” said Smith. “I don’t get pasta night. We run pasta almost every night at the Pea Pod, and that’s just me behind there freaking out, cheffing it up. I got like this pre-cooked pasta in boiling water.”

What confuses Smith the most is the ecstatic response of other students to the Grundle pasta.

“As soon as it’s on the entree line, everyone just lines up for it, and it takes like half an hour to get through,” he said. “I’m not a fan. It’s never worth it. Last pasta night, I saw the line, and I walked to Northside Deli to get a panini.”

Mindy Yan is another sophomore with strong opinions about the Grundle. She described her nightmare meal in the Grundle as a suspicious meat substance, a sentiment many other students shared.

For example, sophomore Julia Ng-Heth cited her most dreaded meal.

“That horrible pork loin that’s there a lot of the time,” she said. “The dry pork, it’s a killer.” 

Another dish commonly claimed by students as the worst in the Grundle is the breakfast eggs. Though he admits that he hasn’t been to the Grundle in two years, senior Emmet Kordell described in detail the eggs he remembers.

“The prison eggs, when they like to make the pan eggs, but they forget to fluff it, and it comes out just like a pure block,” he said. “There’s no aeration, and it’s just like Play-Dough.”

Sophomore Eddie Highland went even further to claim that the entire Grundle breakfast is their worst meal. 

“Every breakfast, I usually get a bagel or cereal,” he said. “I never touch the main line. Powdered eggs, I can’t eat that stuff. The pancakes are always dry and the french toast is dry. Breakfast is just not where it’s at.”

Question 2: Best Grundle meal

Despite the abundance of least favorite meals, it’s not all dreary in the Grundle. When asked if she had any hot takes about the Grundle, sophomore Sadie Ruth emphatically claimed that it’s not bad.

“It really isn’t,” she said. “I think that you need to know how to finesse the dining hall. You need to mix and match the stations, you need to use the microwave, and you need to use the toaster.”

She went on to describe her recipe of making dressed crispy chickpeas using the microwave, which she claims makes any salad delicious. Though Ruth’s innovation is one way to arrive at delicious Grundle meals, other students pointed out pre-made meals they thought were delicious.

Yan spoke very highly of a recent Simple Servings creation.

“The other day, I had pre-made vegetarian tacos, pre-plated lime, and rice on the side. I think that was the best meal I’ve ever had,” she said.

Smith also has a Grundle meal he holds in high regard. 

“They used to have, like, butternut squash soup at the soup station,” he said. “They ran it for two Sundays in a row, and it was the happiest I’ve ever been.” 

In contrast to the high praises, however, when Kordell was asked whether he missed the Grundle since moving off campus, he quickly answered, “No!” Though he clarified that while he doesn’t miss the food, he does miss the times he spent there—the Grundle memories. 

Question 3: Most memorable Grundle moments

Kordell’s most cherished memory was back when Grundle would have “late nights.” On specific days the dining hall would stay open to 11 p.m., and Kordell remembers walking with his entire floor down to the Grundle to eat chicken nuggets.  

“It was like you’d released a bunch of zombies. Everyone would roll down to the Grundle and get food. It was fun, it was a community.”

Ng-Heth, who is from California and consequently doesn’t get snow, remembers watching an idyllic winter scene through the massive Grundle windows.

Smith describes a memorable Grundle moment of his own,

“Last year, I just started working the job,” Smith said. “It’s a couple days before Halloween, and some guy in a full squirrel suit—no, gorilla suit–comes up, scans himself in and then asks for my Pokémon GO friend account. Just like out of left field.” 

Smith wasn’t opposed to the strange request. 

“I gave it to him,” Smith said. “We’re like best friends on Pokémon GO. But I have no idea who this person is.”

Though opinions on the Grundle drastically shift from person to person, it remains a memorable location for all. Next time you dig into some pink pork or mushy shepherd’s pie, remember beyond all its varying quality, it’s still our Grundle.

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