Lizzie Martinez/Senior reporter
Freshmen and sophomores dream of the day they will have complete freedom to choose their meals, enjoy late dinners or try new recipes. Yet they rarely stop to consider the advantage that eating in Dillin Hall offers: camaraderie.
Though many juniors and seniors enjoy the post-Dillin freedom, some miss the chance to socialize with friends each evening. Many have sought alternative ways of recreating the “let’s go to dinner together” atmosphere.
Junior Ashley Price fondly remembers the days of gathering for hour-long dinners in the dining hall. Junior Joy Nelson misses the abundance of ice cream and crazy toppings in Dillin. Both have discovered new ways to create community by hosting dinners for friends.
Dinner in the Reds
For Price and her roommate, dinners are a way of connecting with friends they don’t always see throughout the day. The group get-togethers recapture the spirit of Dillin – without all the noise.
“Dillin is loud,” Price said. “The apartment actually feels like home. The sense of community increases.”
Though Price said her apartment is usually the main gathering center, she doesn’t really mind because it is an opportunity for her to catch up with friends.
However, the prospect of making sure the house is clean, cooking the meal and cleaning up afterward – even with the help of her roommate or the guests – makes Price selective about who is invited. It’s not like Dillin where you would invite anyone to sit at your table, she said; it’s more of an effort.
But the payoff is a legit home-cooked meal that you can share, Price said.
“When we’re sitting there eating with friends and the tablecloth, sometimes I have an ‘I’m a grown-up’ moment,” she said. “We love having people over.”
Though the dinners aren’t planned regularly and the guest list varies, one thing remains consistent: the enjoyment of good friends and good food.
“I love when we have the chance to stop and chat,” Price said. “You lose that as an upperclassman. It’s not like in Dillin.”
Italian Style Chicken and Rice with Vegetables
1 Tbsp. oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
3 cups cut-up mixed fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots and red peppers)
1 can (14.5 oz.) fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cook and stir until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables; cook and stir 3 to 5 min. or until crisp-tender. Stir in broth. Bring to boil. Stir in rice and dressing; cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook 5 min. or until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through.
Serve with French bread
Monday Night Dinners
Nelson inherited the tradition of hosting friends each Monday from Michael Arbogast and Daniel Clausen, class of ’08. They began the so-called “Monday Night Dinners” last year when they lived together in the White Apartments.
Junior Becca Williams continued the tradition after Arbogast and Clausen graduated, and now that she is studying abroad, her roommate, always a guest at the dinners, has found herself the hostess at Green Apartment #14. But the dinners aren’t too much work when everyone pitches in to help cook and clean, Nelson said.
“It’s not a charity: Everyone is working together,”
she said. “We all share the work. Someone always washes the dishes.”
The best part of the dinners is enjoying a home-cooked meal with good friends, at least for Nelson.
“I really like that all my different friends get to meet each other,” she said. “It’s nice to have a room full of food and [to] hang out.”
Though the guests may be college students on a
budget, the food is far from the typical fare of Spaghettios or ramen noodles. Nelson said they enjoy experimenting and trying new recipes.
“It’s wholesome,” she said. “We use our own ingredients and cook it with our own hands. It’s homemade, and there’s nothing like it.”
Each week features completely different meals. Past Monday nights have included Nigerian food, sushi, chili soup and an entire night dedicated to different types of pies – shepherd’s pie, apple pie, sweet potato pie and more.
As the list on Nelson’s refrigerator shows, friends sign up to bring meals for the next week. Next week’s specialty
will be all about ice cream, Nelson said. Joy’s Sushi
Nori sushi seaweed, wrapped
Cream cheese or smoked salmon
Spread toppings over sushi. Roll up. Enjoy with wasabi and soy sauce.
Graphics by Kelley Hungerford/Features editor
Chicken recipe courtesy of http://www.kraftfoods.com