Via a WSO link in the sidebat, Driscoll Hall went “meatless” this Monday 18th and some discussions is occurring with regards to making this a regular dining feature.

A student provides some explanation:

…more people are starting to talk about food. It’s always been perplexing to me how much food has been taken for granted in the United States. I mean, it’s in the grocery store/dining hall, you walk in, take what you want, eat it, and go on your merry way without really giving much consideration to what the act of putting food in your mouth really means. What purpose does eating actually serve and has whatever-you’ve-just-put-into-your-mouth accomplished that task?

If the Meatless Monday do nothing more than facilitate a way by which food rises into the realm of conscious thought on campus, I think that it will have been a success. However, if it’s trying to do something along the lines of promoting more sustainable/healthy eating habits, it is unlikely that this will be accomplished []. After all, it seems that if only one dining hall is going meat-free (if they all do, I fear that there will be substantial voices against the movement from athletes/meat lovers for legitimate reasons) it will primarily attract the people that will already select these sorts of foods out of the normal dining hall offerings. [

]As such, an initiative to reduce the amount of meat consumed on campus for environmental/financial reasons would be better accomplished by trying to reduce the number of meat based dishes to two per meal at all the dining halls. More than Meatless Mondays, which seems to label meat as evil, it would be worthwhile to have a meal (once a month? week?) that uses grass-fed meat, free-range eggs (or basically any egg other than carton/mass produced eggs), local or organic vegetables, and local milk/dairy products [].

As for the debate over meat/no-meat/no-animal. To each his own.

My recollection is that even twenty years ago, Williams had a reasonable (if not entirely satisfying) series of options for vegetarians.

However, the students involved (as well as Meatless Monday’s proponents) make another point– meat consumption in the US is resource-consuming as well as unhealthy. The New York Times reports that the average American eats vegetables only five times a week, one example of a dietary crisis across the United States.

In such a backdrop, the idea that Williams students should have meat available at every meal strikes me as frankly ridiculous. Williams is an educational institution, not a country club, and it should be teaching people good habits, not handing people luxury goods on demand and without regard to cost.

Therefore a counter-proposal: the dining halls should be serving meat as a main course three to five times a week, with side options, perhaps at extra cost, for backpeddlars. And certainly such a move could cut into the budgetary problem a little.

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