Upon walking into the Wilfred Laurier cafeteria, we were greeted with a freshly painted and clean room, welcoming with booths and windows and soft lighting that gave a feeling of home. The mood didn’t last. The dining hall closes at the ultra inconvenient hour of 6 p.m. on Sundays. Our arrival at 5:30 may, therefore, account for our pitiful experience.
At this time of the day, there was little choice. Even the lettuce had left the salad bar with only soupy pasta salad remaining, plus a few vegetables swimming in water. Apples and oranges complete with brown spots and old complexion also deserved a pass. The roast beef, despite its pinkinsh hue, was lukewarm and devoid of moisture; accompanying corn and carrots tasted like they had been microwaved hours earlier. The chef cutting our portions didn’t even acknowledge our thank-yous.
Onto to the grill. For some reason I thought it would be prudent to try the soya burger. It was apparently the last one they had, as they promptly removed it from the menu after I ordered. Now one shouldn’t expect a soy burger to be full of juices (that is a byproduct of eating a real burger), but this had little flavour—a fact heightened by the enormous bun that rendered the patty almost unnoticeable to my pallet. A further contribution was made by a rubbery and brown lettuce. Thank goodness for ketchup.
The sandwich bar was more appealing, with a variety of meats (ham, beef, turkey) and an assortment (though limited) of vegetables. The popular stir fry station offered a vibrant meal, served up by someone who appeared to be the only cook on staff not annoyed that dinner-hour students were interrupting cleaning duties.
But these stations, along with the relatively affordable cost, were the only redeeming qualities that night at Fresh Food Company.
Dessert also got a failing grade. The chocolate cake was soggy, crumbly and the icing tasted like sweetened whipped butter, more suitable for topping pancakes than cake. Finishing shortly after 6:00, we were happy to leave. As we did, hungry students were still entering the cafeteria, only to learn that, tonight, there would be no supper for them.