HUDS is settling in as well, learning your names and your preferences. Over the course of the year, we will closely explore the areas these exemplify with you – community and taste, respectively.
Community is the driving force behind Harvard’s House Life, and the dining program is organized to support and foster that. The unlimited meal plan exists to ensure that no one is ever excluded from the dining hall (a value re-affirmed by the Committee on House Life just a few years ago). As such, the dining hall becomes a place to feel at home, and to share your own experiences and those of others. In the coming months, for example, we’ll familiarize many of you with New England’s seasonal flavors, farmers and food artisans. A great starting point for that is the weekly Farmers’ Market at Harvard, held every Tuesday outside Memorial Hall from 12:30-6:00pm.
You have also identified taste as the most important factor impacting your satisfaction with the dining experience. “Taste” is a multi-faceted word that can mean the act of sampling something, the perception of flavor, or the distinction of liking (as in, “it was to my taste”). Regardless of the part of speech, it is the unique and personal interpretation of food. We may be programmed at the outset to like certain flavors, but what satisfies us is a complex mixture of genes, senses (including smell, sight and feel), culture, social norms, and a range of influences from political to economic.
To that end, we’ll explore taste through seasonality, nutrition, culture (yours, your peers, and our staff) and more. Every Thursday night, as dining hall chefs do their Chefs’ Tastings, you will be invited to try something new or different. And with the Healthy Eating Pyramid nutrition education stations in every dining hall, you can consider how to incorporate those tenets into a tasty daily diet (for example, have you tried steel cut oats or brown rice? Both are healthy alternatives to the traditional, more processed rolled oats or white rice.)
Finally, it is important to us that you be able to share your feedback, ask questions, and engage with HUDS to help shape the menu and your dining hall experience. Your local dining managers and staff are the best first source for information. But we want to be where you are, and often that’s on the computer. So, be sure to check out:
- www.dining.harvard.edu for program information, menus, nutrition info, ingredients, and online feedback forms
- twitter.com/HUDSInfo for quick details about events, promotions or helpful updates
- the Harvard University Dining Services group on Facebook, to inspire dialogue and community about food
- the fall Satisfaction Survey (issued in late October) which invites you to rate your experience, share menu ideas, and shape how and what we communicate with you.
With warmest wishes for a tasty fall,