Those who frequent the Ordal Dining Hall know that the experience can be wildly different depending on the time of day.
Lunch and dinner are generally packed with people talking and eating and enjoying the break between classes with friends. It can be a great opportunity to socialize with friends you might not otherwise see.
But the high energy and crowds of the lunch and dinner rushes can be overwhelming. In comparison, the general quiet of the breakfast hours can be quite refreshing, especially for those who prefer to eat in peace.
That’s nothing to say of the food itself. While breakfast offers few options from day to day, there is at least consistency in what’s available. However, for those who can’t stand the monotony of the same options every morning, ODH breakfast can get old quick.
Lunch, on the other hand, consists of a new set of dishes each day with a couple of consistent options for the pickiest of eaters. While the meals can be pretty hit-and-miss for most folks, there is generally something for everyone — even if it’s pizza.
Of course, it’s not like you have to choose one or the other, but some certainly have strong preferences between breakfast and lunch. So which is better: the lively and variable lunch or the quiet and consistent breakfast?
Breakfast is best
By Kat Elgersma
Breakfast in Ordal Dining Hall is easily the best meal of the day for one reason alone: consistency.
It varies very little from day to day for people, like me, who thrive on the routine of similar meal choices, but it still offers enough options for those who like to switch it up.
Not that any meal in the dining hall could be considered “fine” by any means, but there have been lunches and dinners during which I have had to leave most of the food on my plate. I don’t have the skill or self-discipline to choke food down when I don’t like it.
With guilt, and perhaps something else, swirling in my gut, I often scrape my lunch plates and leave them to be washed.
Breakfast, on the other hand, is a different story.
If you don’t like what’s in the main line, you can always make a waffle or grab some oatmeal. If you, like me, favor the savory, there are always biscuits and gravy or toast. If none of those strike your fancy, you can always make it yourself.
The U-Cook station has been my best friend this year during the morning hours, in part because if I don’t like my food, I have no one to blame but myself. That alone is enough motivation to cut down my food waste. Not to mention, it gives me greater control of portion size.
But food isn’t the only reason that breakfast is the best time to go to the dining hall. It’s worth it if only for the fact that it’s the only meal time when the dining area remains relatively quiet.
While the lunch room feels like it hovers at about 100 decibels, anytime before 9 a.m. seems to be too early to use anything more than a murmur.
The relaxed vibe of the breakfast crowd on top of the reduced chances of running face-first into some stranger from your “econ” class last semester makes the morning the most introvert-friendly time of day by a mile.
Sure, there are lunch dishes that almost make the meal plan feel worth it, but that’s only if you get lucky. It also usually requires waiting in a line, which most of the time means being forced to socialize (causing me to, probably, visibly shudder).
I’d take breakfast a thousand times over the chaos and unpredictability of midday. Those who can handle the hectic-ness can have the dining hall all to themselves. I’ll be making other plans for lunch.
Lunch is superior
By Nora Winckler
When it comes to meal times at home, I am usually the first person at the breakfast table with a large glass of milk, ready to eat some eggs and bacon. However, when it comes to meals at Ordal Dining Hall, I will choose lunch over breakfast nine times out of 10.
First off, we have all experienced late-night studying — the kind where you spend eight minutes searching for the perfect word on Thesaurus.com or redrawing your osmosis diagram for the fourth time.
When you are studying until the wee hours of the morning, no one wants to wake up before 10 a.m., much less get ready to walk to the dining hall. You eat a protein bar on your way to class to tide you over until you arrive at ODH for lunch.
By this time, you and your friends have had the time to wake up and the conversation flows more freely over ODH’s best menu of the day.
Not only are some breakfast options still available, like waffles, yogurt and cereal, but you can also indulge in the best dishes ODH has to offer. A few weeks ago, I had a Philly cheesesteak with homemade chips, a gyro and imperial fried rice with potstickers. That’s just one week of meals.
Recently, we were blessed with the Augie bowl, tomato soup and grilled cheese. I haven’t even mentioned the tater tot hot-dish and pho bowls yet. Who would want the same three options when you have access to the lunch menu?
If, by chance, your taste buds are broken and you don’t enjoy the meals I mentioned above, you can always chow on some pizza, pasta or soup. If you still aren’t satisfied, you can make your own food at the salad bar, SubConnection station, the smoothie bikes or the stir-fry station. There is definitely something for everyone at ODH lunch hours.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the lunch vibes in the dining hall.
Once you’ve had time to wipe the sleep from your eyes and form a thought, you can have a conversation with more than just three-word answers and a yawn every other two minutes. You and your friends can catch each other up on what happened in class and the night before.
Additionally, you can find a table to fit your entire group, which is different from supper, when you have to steal chairs from other tables, and better than at breakfast, when you feel weird having six people at a table while everyone else eats alone.
I hope I have reaffirmed your love of ODH lunch time, and I hope to see you all there to fight over the last brownie.