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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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April 15, 2024
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Exploring the beautiful, manic and deconstructionalist world of caf photography

Exploring+the+beautiful%2C+manic+and+deconstructionalist+world+of+caf+photography

Other than to wish my grandmother a happy birthday or to visit cox knollege 2.0, I really don’t use Facebook very often.

But, there are some golden nuggets hidden deep within the site that I seek when I am at the lowest of lows. When I am in this position, I visit one of my favorite Facebook pages: Bon Appetit: The Delicacies of Knox College. 

A product of the Before Times, this page was created in April 2019 by a group of friends during a meal at the Hard Knox Café. From these humble beginnings, this page quickly grew   to gain a notorious status. 

In its description, the page states that it is “a place for people to share their best plating of Caf food.” 

Despite the simple prompt, there is no one creation that is better than the other. In fact, every submission builds towards an ultimate image of the student experience.

The page is host to a variety of culinary masterpieces. Some feature carefully-crafted desserts, complete with image filters and artistically drizzled chocolate sauce. Submissions of this tier are truly remarkable works, especially considering the simple resources supplied to the artists. 

Others take a more brutalist take. Examples of submissions of this type include over-exposed brunch monstrosities such as chicken tenders thrown over cinnamon buns, all covered in hot sauce and feta cheese. Or, a simple breakfast plate with eggs and hashbrowns, but thoroughly doused in a tepid pool of apple sauce that covers every item to the point of oversaturation. 

These submissions capture the cafeteria-goer at their most desperate, hungry and fierce. As college students, we have all had a moment when we have ripped through the cafeteria stations and only realize the unholy mess we have created on our plates after we have sat down. These images capture this phenomena in ways that words could never describe. 

A final category of photo rides a fine line between the prior two. These pics provide eloquently described, delicately plated creations similar to the ones in the first tier, yet in a manner that provides a critique of the entire cafeteria system. 

One of these posts includes a “rustic” ice cream and peanut butter “medley,” garnished with a lonely, bitter spinach leaf. As a frequent critic and admirer of this Facebook page, I see submissions of this type as an important expression of defiance against Bon Appetit Management Company (Bamco) and their attempts to over-refine the cafeteria experience. To describe a peanut butter bar with ice cream as a “rustic medley,” and top it off with an unwelcome piece of roughage is not too far off from what some of the higher-ups at Bamco actually attempt to pull off when creating cafeteria menus. I do not blame these professionals for the effort that they take in trying to improve the dining experience among college campuses. But, let’s not kid ourselves: cafeteria food will never be a Michelin-starred affair. A slapdash combo of ice cream and peanut butter should not be called a “medley.” The students who call out this behavior are heroes not just for the student body but for the state of the humble cafeteria experience as it should exist.

The many images within the Bon Appetit: The Delicacies of Knox College Facebook page provide an essential and holistic view of the cafeteria experience. Whether you like it or not, the Hard Knox Café is a reflection of the student body. Through the food that we eat and the plates that we construct, we can see a reflection of the concerns, joys, manias and critiques of the student life. 

Unfortunately, there has been a disturbance in this form of student discourse. 

Ever since its most recent post on April 14, there have been no new submissions to the page. Perhaps, with the entrenchment of the pandemic, the satirical spirit of the page has diminished amongst students. While the pandemic has certainly limited students’ potential plating possibilities (there are, in fact, no plates), we must find the creativity and verve to act against the odds. 

I implore students to grab their iPhones, spinach garnishes and chocolate sauce anew. It is time to venture back into the messy and beautiful world of cafeteria photography. 

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    Britney KOct 18, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks greatt blog

    Reply