After a few semesters in college, it’s no secret that students find dining hall food bland and uninspiring. With a relatively limited amount of options from a redundant lineup, students flock to off-campus eateries in order to escape their boring eating routines and to indulge in entirely palatable foods that won’t trigger a gag reflex.
And like most universities, Boston College must fall under this same categorization, right? Not particularly.
Boston College’s food is good—really good, in fact. Aside from the multifarious awards and relatively widespread recognition BC Dining has managed to attain, the most compelling evidence usually lies right on our plates.
Whether you’re grabbing a New England Classic from Eagle’s Nest, a blazing bowl from Lower, or a pasta toss dish from Mac, you’re likely to have a tasty meal that beats out the vast majority of colleges and universities across the country in terms of quality.
And with a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a variety of on-campus dining halls—from Lower to Hillside to Mac to Eagle’s Nest to The Rat—Boston College students don’t have the same right to complain about a lack of options as the many students who attend smaller universities and whose number of dining hall options are akin to the number of faces on a coin.
This certainly isn’t to suggest that we don’t have the right to collectively shudder when we see Japanese lanterns hanging from our otherwise favorite dinner station or when we see our tables festooned with white tablecloths and our dining hall transformed into some microcosm of cultural miscellany once a month.
Yet, do we really have the right to complain when our food is consistently good? Even if you were to visit a handful of your favorite restaurants every day of the week for sixteen straight weeks, you would invariably get sick of the food, no matter how good. How, then, can we complain about having dining halls that remain appetizing for eight whole semesters? We certainly shouldn’t.
That being said, BC Dining’s prices are nothing short of exorbitant. When buying an Odwalla is more than twice as cheap at Whole Foods or when the price of a plate of salmon and rice is tantamount to the price of an entrée at Legal Sea Foods, it can be frustrating for many students trying to stretch a meal plan.
Perhaps it is unfair to pick on BC Dining when pointing out examples of excessive pricing. After all, Boston College is an institution of higher education. Everything—from textbooks, to housing, to tuition—is hyperinflated. The excessive price of food at Boston College is commensurate with the excessive costs of nearly everything else at Boston College. Why, then, is food so easy to pick on?
Quite simply, food is the easiest thing to compare. Its quality and price are a comparative breeze to measure and contrast to the hundreds of restaurants that surround Boston College. For example, it’s easy to suggest that El Pelón is far more reasonably priced (taking into consideration its quality) than a burrito at Lower.
How could one compare the cost of a textbook for a class if there is only one option? How could one compare the cost of housing when the differences in pricing are practically negligible among all dorms for each class throughout Boston College? How could one compare the tuition of Boston College to another university or college when BC provides an entirely different experience? Food emerges as the easy target.
BC Dining’s food is undoubtedly expensive. It’s also quite good. Does its quality justify its prices or vice versa? It’s difficult to say. It’s far easier to simply say that BC Dining’s food is good and its prices are bad.
Ultimately, with regard to BC Dining’s quality, it may be easy to pick on the quality of BC food for an abundance of reasons. Yet, it’s important to remember that BC students have it really good, both in terms of quality and diversity of food. Prices are another story.