The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Spice it Up: “Cooking” in Commons

Student+members+of+CHEWS+share+their+recommendations+for+managing+stress+during+finals+week.
Kat Merisois
Student members of CHEWS share their recommendations for managing stress during finals week.

Love it or hate it, Commons is a staple of student life at Bates. There’s something special about the fact that students voted to have one dining hall. It is indicative of the type of community you are entering. Whether it’s Sundae Sunday or a late night visit to the cereal wall, Commons is always there, warm, welcoming and one of the best spots to meet up with friends after a long day.

Despite it being a self explanatory loop, everyone has their own way of navigating Commons. Some like to frequent the pizza or sandwich section first, while others opt to go the salad bar route and end at the “Bobcat Bar.” Some students swear by the vegan bar, others by the omelet bar every Tuesday. If there’s one thing Bates students agree on besides a mutual dislike of trays, it is that the soft serve machine will have every flavor imaginable (except chocolate), including a personal favorite of mine, tiramisu.

Although Niche rated Bates as having the “Best College Food Service in Maine,” condiments are your friends. Enough said. Sriracha, pesto, hot sauce, lemon pepper, sesame ginger dressing, and red pepper flakes are among fan favorites. And no, you will not be original for discovering pesto toast. Be careful with the sriracha or you will build up a terrifying spice tolerance by the end of the year. Overall, Bates’ sauce game is pretty strong.

You will learn quickly that there is a certain rotation, dishes you will come to love, dishes you can depend on. Of course there are your everyday reliables like the pasta bar, rice, the deli, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the dessert bar while you withstand a sad cycle of bland curries, boiled veggies and stews. But at the end of the tunnel there are Falafel days, Chili Fries, Pad Thai, Pho bar, Popcorn Shrimp, Taco Tuesday and Orange Chicken that might also be lemon chicken but no one really knows. Can’t forget about Chicken Patty Sattys (Chicken Patty Saturdays) or Curly Fry day or even the Chicken Cheese Taquito rolls. Everyone eventually develops a Commons favorite which can make any day just a little bit better. Mine would have to be Chicken Parm Sundays.

Once you master the basics of Commons, you can start to get creative. I’m a big fan of making pink sauce with sriracha and mayo or whipping up a quick pesto pasta. Another tip is to heat brownies or bars up in a mug and top it with soft serve; you’ll thank me later. The Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with vanilla soft serve or the Italian almond cookies are my personal favorites from the dessert bar. With a microwave, toaster oven, locked and loaded spice rack and unlimited meal swipes, the world is your oyster.

The first few days of Commons, you will be forced to eat with your First-Year Center (FYC), which takes away the stress of navigating the large space on your own. Once you settle in, it can be nice to either go with people or plan to meet friends there. Also, there is nothing wrong with eating in Commons by yourself! People do it all the time, catching a late lunch or finishing up some work, so don’t feel pressured to always have a group of friends with you. I’ve even heard some people say maturing is sitting by yourself in Commons.

Though Commons may be the last place you want to go during a case of the “Sunday scaries” or when your social battery is drained, you will learn to love it. Commons is where you’ll make egg sandwiches and core memories. Its ski lodge-esque atmosphere can make the coldest Maine nights just a bit warmer. Though Commons may seem overwhelming at first, you’ll get the hang of it, and it will become a core part of your Bates experience.

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About the Contributor
Zoe Schaedle
Zoe Schaedle, Managing News Editor
Zoe is a Sophomore from Philadelphia, PA. She is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a double major in History and Classical and Medieval Studies. In her free time, Zoe enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, volunteering, going to the beach, cooking, or playing/watching sports.    Previously, Zoe served as a staff writer for The Student as a first year. She is also on the Bates Women’s Lacrosse team, and is an active mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maine.
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