This summer, the students of the University of Delaware received a very exciting email: UD Dining was to be rebooted over the summer with help from our student surveys. Some of the changes we learned about earlier in the summer due to the change in meal plan options that we would have to pay for. For example, the standard plan changed from from 12 meals/week plan to 14 meals/week- making it so much easier to keep track of how many you had left. We also have the opportunity to use a meal swipe for a combo meal in the food court. But there were some other changes that we didn’t really get to experience until the dining halls reopened.
Previously, the special diet stations in our large dining hall (Caesar Rodney) were gluten-free (which was also nut-free), vegan, and kosher (which was also nut and shellfish free). Starting this year, they opened a new station called “True Balance” which is free from 7 of the top-8 allergens (apparently they will occasionally serve finfish). The whole kitchen is separate from the rest of the stations and you can’t bring dishes from other stations to the line to prevent cross-contact. All of the equipment is well labeled and all of the cooking utensils are purple color-coded (the official ServSafe color!). It is so exciting because now I don’t have to worry about special ordering my food every day and I know I can still get a safe meal. The special order program is still available at our two small dining halls (Russell and Pencader), but I have had some issues with them in the past (see this past blog for more info) so I am excited that this new option has been working so smoothly for me.
I still check the ingredients of all the food before I get it from the station to keep it safe. And I’m glad I did because one day they served tacos with several topping options, and one of those toppings was vegan cheese that contained coconut oil. Since I had read ahead, I knew not to put the “cheese” on my taco, and it was kept separately from the other meal components that day, so I was safe. Other than that, I have had no issues with the station and the food variety has been pretty good thus far. I am really lucky that I have the option to choose to eat directly from a station in Caesar Rodney Dining Hall now because it allows me to chose when I want to eat instead of only going to my pre-chosen meal time on the order form. And if I really wanted the meal at Russell Dining Hall, the option to pre-order is still available for me.
I’m excited about the convenience that this new dining option offers for me and my busy schedule this semester, and I hope that the rest of the semester goes as smoothly as these first few weeks now that I’m back to dining hall foods.