Three days per week, right around dawn, a semi-tractor trailer backs up to our loading dock to deliver fresh produce to the Divine Word College kitchen. Other trucks follow throughout the week, often bringing fresh meat and local produce when available, as well as frozen and canned goods, all of which staff and students turn into more than 300 meals per day for the college community.
Oh, there might be some processed foods served occasionally, but the vast majority of the meals are prepared fresh, often from scratch, and served buffet-style—salad bar to entrees to side dishes to desserts—each meal of the day, every day of the week.
It starts with breakfast a 6:30 a.m., with choices of fruit, oatmeal, cereal, toast and a variety for other early morning classics, from eggs and bacon to pancakes and sweet rolls.
Lunchtime draws the biggest crowd, when lay faculty and staff members join our students and SVDs. The salad bar presents a variety of choices, with much of it the cleaned and cut-up fresh produce delivered earlier in the day. There are always soups, joined by everything from lean, roasted or barbequed meats to baked and batter-fried fish and potatoes prepared every way you can imagine. There might be pasta, noodles, sauces or stews, or creative casseroles and all kinds of vegetables. The list goes on and on, often enhanced by food prepared by our international students for cultural dinners.
Evening dinner offers the same variety, but with a lighter crowd.
If your hunger pangs strike between meal times, the dining room is always open, with a quick-snack counter which spans a wall, offering bread, bagels, dry cereal, peanut butter, honey and other break food. Its coffee machine, which also offers hot water for tea or other drinks, is always on. Milk and juice are also available.
It is a huge challenge to meet the culinary desires of a college community made up of students, faculty and staff from more than 20 countries. Tastes vary from person to person and culture to culture, but like those early morning semi-tractor trailers, our kitchen staff delivers, and does it three times per day, every day of the week.