The Peak of Dinner

By Fletcher Gillespie ‘ 23

Picture this: It’s Friday evening. You’ve just gotten out of the shower, gotten dressed in classroom attire, and you’re strolling out of your dorm towards the dining hall with a friend or two. It’s not exactly warm outside, but it isn’t cold either, and the campus is lit by a beautiful golden sunset. 

You ask your friends if they know what’s for dinner tonight, and neither of them has an answer. You whip out your phone and begin typing “woodberry menu” into Safari. You are hungry for answers but hungrier for dinner. The website’s URL auto-fills and you’re there. You spend a dozen or so seconds finding the right meal, and once you lay your eyes on the “Friday dinner” block, your heart soars. The very best meal the Woodberry dining hall serves is waiting for you a few yards away. This is the best dinner you’ll have in weeks unless you have the cash for Chick-fil-a next Tuesday night. You scroll back up to the top of the menu because you can’t believe your eyes, and are reassured that the menu’s been updated for the week. You’re really about to eat what you’ve been promised. You read tonight’s dinner to yourself again and repeat it to your friends. Excitement fills the air. Everyone starts walking the slightest bit faster. 

Now, I want you to imagine what was written on that menu. What’s your number one Woodberry dinner? Picture how it looks on a plate in your head. Conjure up its taste on your tongue. Maybe say the meal’s name aloud for good measure. 

Editor’s Note: Chicken Curry was the first thing that came to my mind…

Have you picked one? Good. I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. No matter what you said, you’re wrong; unless you said General Tso’s chicken with rice and spring rolls. It’s the Terry Dining Hall’s finest yield, and I’m here to tell you why. 

Let’s start with the dish’s main protein: The sweet and crunchy poultry cooked by General Tso himself. What’s not to like? Its crispy fried outside protects its soft hearty inside of white meat. This ingenious structure ensures that every bite of these transcendent nuggets contains both crunching and chewing, but it doesn’t end there. Oh no, I’m just getting started. Let’s talk flavor. This chicken is sweet, but it’s naturally sweet. It doesn’t have the overkill of most candy or the softness of fruit, but don’t forget that it’s still chicken. It still has the crunchy salty taste that you can expect from other poultry products. This mesmerizing harmony of sweetness and savoriness locks General Tso’s chicken into the hall of fame of Woodberry entrees. 

The praises I’ve been singing of this meal’s main course have been high, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s the best Woodberry has to offer. I’d say it sits somewhere in the middle of the top ten, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss. If a meal’s central protein was all it had to offer, this article might be about chicken curry or the classic cheeseburger, but sides exist, and when you consider each meal as a whole, nothing beats General Tso’s chicken with rice and spring rolls. The spring rolls are obviously the more glamorous of the two, but both have something to offer. Spring rolls are wrapped in several levels of flaky rice paper, giving each bite a rapid series of crunches distinct from most cuisine. The vegetables rolled inside taste quite good as well, but it’s only when the rolls are baptized in soy sauce that they reach their full potential on many students’ tastebuds.

Spring Rolls are pretty darn good

 These innocuous, half-full packets of soy sauce may seem inconsequential at first glance, but they are the ace up this meal’s sleeve. They glue every part of this meal together into a delightful orchestra of flavor. Usually, when I sit down in the dining hall with a plate like the one I’ve been describing, I’ll crack open a pack or two of soy sauce, with the sole intention of drizzling it on my spring rolls, but somehow, it always finds its way over to the other side of my plate, where it soaks into the medley of rice and diced vegetables, infusing what is a bit of a bland side with a flood of tangy flavors, but it doesn’t end there. 

Truly ingenious diners will take the mixing of different flavors a step further, and once they’ve skewered a nugget of chicken with their fork, they’ll roll it around in their soy sauce soaked rice for a moment or two before eating it, resulting in one of the finest bites of their Woodberry experience. 

In conclusion, this meal is absolutely fantastic, and whoever introduced it to our dining hall’s rotation deserves a statue directly in front of the Walker building. Thank you for your time, and have a good night.

Categories: Opinion

2 replies »

  1. Very solid article. Just leaves nothing to argue with. If you don’t agree with this article you are either mentally unstable or vegan.

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