Last Wednesday I went to the DUC. I’m too old to go to the DUC. I went because I was promised free steak. I ate the steak. It was good. In order to eat the steak, I had to go to a Food Advisory Committee of Emory (FACE) meeting. As it turns out, the people in charge of the DUC know how much you hate it. They also want to fix it. But, since they don’t eat DUC “food,” they don’t know what’s wrong.

The steak, pasta primavera, and seared vegetables were delicious. It was Emory Catering. I suggested we simply serve food like that. Problem solved, you’re welcome. This suggestion was dismissed because you can’t cook food that good for more than 50 or so people. When Jesus divided the loaves and fishes, everyone ate, but it would have gotten 3 stars on Yelp.

Students at Emory enjoy whining. But they whine like students at a top 20 college. They have lists. Sometimes flow-charts. There were no powerpoints this time.

College freshman Michael Sacks began the FACE meeting. His housemate from Texas showed up for the food but didn’t eat the steak. He must be ashamed of his heritage. I’m from California and I can do yoga. Some people lack pride in their state. Others lack pride in their cafeteria. I was proud to be among those who care so much about the cafeteria, that they will criticize it to its face. These are constructive criticisms. They are for the greater good. They are for progress. They are for freedom.

A major complaint was that the cups are too far from the soda fountain. Also there should be more cheese pizza. One of the DUC managers mentioned that those changes were already in progress. I said a little prayer of thanks to Sodexo.

The DUC manager also noted, in a nervous, somewhat flighty voice, as if hoping to appease a gluttonous emperor on a gold and crimson recliner, an emperor he neither respected nor adored, that, “the salad bar will now offer kale, hicuma, and edemame. We know you like variety.” We, the voracious students of Emory, do appreciate variety. For the record, Kale is lettuce. Kale does everything regular lettuce does, but slightly better. Like a 5 year old in a cape, Kale is super lettuce. Hicuma sounds like a slave from The Crucible.

According to a cereal survey, Honey Nut Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats will join the cereal menu. I remember wishing that Emory students might be more like Winnie the Pooh. I wished they would adopt his uncomplaining, mellow attitude. I got my wish, except instead of low maintenance, they adopted Pooh’s affection for honey. Sodexo, giveth, Sodexo taketh away.

Two gingers showed up late to the meeting. I could not tell if they were met with disapproving glares because of their tardiness or gingerness. I cannot believe gingers were enfranchised before women.

Michael Sacks, who conducted the meeting like a game show host for something inane like Celebrity Jeopardy, asked for feedback on the new DUC hours. The Sean Connery to Sack’s Trebek said, “There wasn’t enough publicity. I didn’t know the hours changed.”

Sacks replied, “Really?”

Connery said, “Well, maybe if you’d put more signs in the DUC, that would have helped.”

“You mean, besides the signs in the entrance that are 8 feet high?”

This was the same guy who said the cups were too far from the soda fountain. In his defense, 10-foot signs are easy to ignore because they are so tall. He also complained that there were not enough pencils with which to write more complaints. Also the bowls are not close enough to the cereal. Further, why isn’t granola available everyday? Also the temperature isn’t quite room temperature.

I began to play a game where I got points every time a complaint would qualify as a “#firstworldproblem.” I won.

Connery, the complainer, then pointed out that the fruit selection was inconsistent. Again, the flighty voiced DUC manager explained, this time, as if to an irrational, borderline violent emperor dulled by years of incest, that “you can’t grow fruit during winter in America, but you can grow fruit in South America because it’s not winter there. So now that it’s almost winter here, we have to supply our fruit from a different location, because winter is too cold to grow fruit in America.”

This is why we can’t have nice things.

After the meeting I waited in line for a tee shirt. It says “Stop Whining about Emory Dining.” I liked the font.

This week, I learned a very valuable lesson: Sodexo has your back.

– By A.J. Artis