My colleagues have been telling me for several weeks that come the first three weeks of school, I would be as fed and feted as a preChristian sacrificial harvest king, without the inevitable letdown of sacrafice.* Especially as new faculty, I was told, free food opportunities would abound.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m all about the free food and the feting. But I wasn’t particularly concerned about the possibility of my own gastronomical overindulgence and diet wrecking.  I mean, I’m pretty familiar with institutional food. Four years at BGSU, 16 years at UNR, which comprised the beginning and end of countless dining service contracts, and 6 years of fundraising and political action lunches and dinners at various of Reno’s casinos when I worked with Planned Parenthood Northern Nevada.  I’ve eaten mass-produced chicken in all its possible sauced and lettuce-bedded and noodled permutations.

Or so I thought. And then yesterday I experienced one — one, mind you — day of institutional party food here.

Oh. My. God.

Breakfast at 9 a.m. was a typical collation of muffins and bagels. Good coffee, though, and the spreads available for the bagels rivaled Panera’s. The butter rose should have been a clue though.  At 10, a basket of cookies, yummy, soft, fresh cookies, was added to the table, just in case 1 hour of meeting time had proved wearing. At noon, we adjourned for lunch, which was a chicken breast on a bed of lettuce, surrounded by generous chuncks of watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, and strawberries, drizzled with honey-mustard dressing. The chicken had been very, very, very lightly coated in flour and spices and was fantastic.  Okay, I know one can get only so excited about a chicken breast, but on a scale of chicken breast yumminess, this rated ten clucks, some fireworks, and a quick smooch from George Clooney. It came with a breadstick and cheesecake, just in case there was any dire possibility of us having to wait more than 3 hours for our next meal. So you can see how we almost died of hunger waiting for 3:30 and the reception for new faculty (that’s me) to roll around. There, I met many lovely people whose names I cannot now remember, but I bear a deep and abiding regard for the just-barely-pickled cucumber slices wrapped in horseradish creme and shaved corn beef. And the seafood dip. And the cocktail weenies,** which appeared ordinary but were in a lovely sauce. And the chocolate-dipped strawberries.  I didn’t get a chance to sample the meatballs because I’m a lady and I can eat only so many lbs. of food in 6-hour period.

When I came home, beyond sated and still licking horseradish creme off my fingers, I could barely bring myself to feed the cats and the bird.

*Yeah, talk to me about that in a few weeks, when I’m grading papers for 4 classes.  I might be begging for a nice, restful blood sacrafice….

**No, not the guests.

3 responses »

  1. Finally! a post…I was getting worried you had eaten yourself to death or that the lake had sucked you in and the kitties and Zeke were without a mother. Whew! the food does sound awesome! And quit complaining about your 4, very small, classes!

  2. Sacrafice?????? SacrAfice?????? How can you spell it that way twice, and then get sacrificial correct? Less gourmandizing, more spellchecking, please! I am contacting the siblings and cousins immediately to see who is interested in joining the pool on “What will Inez weigh at the end of the first semester?”

  3. I don’t want to move to Iowa. But I’m jealous and I want to be fed.

    Today I went to a Public Relations Society of America networking lunch at Circus Circus. usually Circus has the more edible of the offerings at networking lunches (where the theory is that it is about the networking, not the lunch, but for $25, I want both.)

    They served:
    wilted salad under something unspeakable (at least I didn’t hear it trying to speak);
    rolls that were acceptable and made up the majority of my lunch;
    burritos that made everyone laugh because three of us could have shared one of the things but everyone got their own.
    Even the men (who routinely eat whatever is given them at these affairs) left these. The burriots were tasteless chicken, something black that might have been beans and might have been stones and might have been dirt or mud, TONS of peppers and the whole thing covered by a torilla the size of Texas and a really really really spicey but vile yellowish sauce (yellow??).

    Along with this travesty came a heap of Mexican rice, Mexican by dint of being orange, which I think was caused by food coloring. The rice itself was undoubtedly rolled up bits of very dry paper. On top of that was an ancient chili, left there by the last diner. There were also beans, with what I think was cheese, which were so bad that I get points for not spitting them out. Dessert was sponge cake – or sponge – with frosting.

    For lunch I ate – 1 roll, 2 black olives, 2 wine glasses of iced tea, and the frosting off my cake.

    I have to move to Iowa.

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