Chef Shaunna

Burnett, Shaunna

I am getting peeved with everybody deriding Downer each time they trek to the cafeteria. The freshmen can’t know, but the rest of us certainly remember Downer last year: dry, overcooked, and uninspired. At the end of last year, rumor had it that a new chef had been hired and we were on the brink of a cafeteria revolution.
The small differences felt at the end of last year corroborated this, generally in the form of crisply steamed vegetables that hadn’t been drowned in mystery seasonings. The revolution was almost complete upon my return to campus, although the mechanisms for change are still in place within Downer’s penchant for experimentation.
Returning from a host family whose diet consisted mainly of lentils mixed with a hot dog or hard-boiled egg may explain why I am so comfortable with the sometimes unusual experiments to which the Lawrence menu planners subject us. The more likely explanation for my high tolerance of occasionally wretched food is that I have suffered enough crushing defeats in the kitchen that I am lenient toward Downer’s, and even feel kindly toward the effort.
While their seasonings are often still mysterious and sometimes horrible, more frequently than ever before there is a multitude of palatable choices awaiting us every day. Indeed, the Downer novitiates of intrepid spirit, both young and old, generally find the staggering choice of foodstuff delightful.
When I argued passionately for Downer’s clever, or failing that, daring combinations of leftovers into entirely new dishes, concerned friends of mine retorted, “Try the French toast lasagna.” I pleaded vegetarianism, they countered with flexitarianism. Back and forth we went until curiosity won and I extricated a square of the so-called “lasagna” for my analysis.
What appeared to be a brick of melted cheddar cheese was, upon closer inspection,
layers of French toast sticks, minced ham, apple pie filling, and on top of it all, melted cheese. Even I was hesitant, but in the name of this column and of friendship,
I tried it, and I can tell you it was not good, but not bad. The idea was solid, but the execution was flawed, and Downer wins points for creativity.
Celebrate such culinary creativity with a sandwich. Respect the freedom of choice Deli Line offers you; the dare Downer levels
to you to create a meal with as much flair as they. I recommend you choose whichever meat and cheese you like best, some apple sauce or apple slices, perhaps some sprouts, anything else that takes your fancy, and some time melting in the grill to pay homage to the endearing eccentricities of Downer with your reinterpretation
of French toast lasagna.

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