Thanks first and foremost to all of you for remarking on and acknowledging the staff’s efforts of late to answer your requests and make changes. I’m very proud of the responsiveness of the HUDS team, and I share your compliments with them (and your gratitude for them).
Your blog questions or requests and my thoughts:
Q: I would like to request a new [brain break] toaster for Dunster Dining Hall.
Q: Requests for asparagus, fresh berries
A: These items are too “rich” for our standard menu, but we constantly keep an eye on what is available locally and at a price we can afford (we get a weekly update about produce from local farms). Thus, these items might at any time make a special menu appearance, though we’ll try to keep you updated should we get it in!
Q: Nutrition information and simple conversion to everyday
A: The web page noted (http://www.dining.harvard.edu/flp/nut_portion.html) is one we put together aimed at giving everyday references for gauging a portion size, as well as for knowing what our dishware holds.
When we state a portion in ounces, it is generally weight, unless that item is liquid, in which case it is volume. We have struggled with the issue of how portion sizes are stated (and the confusion between portions, servings, and how appropriate portions differ depending on an individual’s size), and still have not come up with a resolution that meets both the needs of our menu management system and the everyday diner. One possible solution is to offer “portion” tours with a UHS dietician. Would that be helpful?
Q: Possible to get smaller dishware?
A: This is a very interesting thought. Each year we replace about $150,000 in dishware that has mysteriously vanished from the dining hall. ;-) When we do that, we could consolidate the existing dishes into several dining halls and place new, smaller vessels all in one or two locations, progressively making the replacement over several years. A good thought that we will explore.
Q: Guacamole with quesadillas
A: It should appear periodically, if not always, with your favorite Mexican foods.
Q: Cereal Variety
A: With cereal or any such “staple” item, if you don’t see what you want, just ask. We may have it in stock, but not in the current rotation. Dining hall managers have the ability to tailor core items to the community’s tastes, so I’ll share your preferences, and you should expect to see some variety rolling through . . .
Q: Quincy brain break toaster needs to be replaced