It is a truth universally acknowledged that an undergrad in possession of a large appetite must be in want of free food. Everyone loves free things and everyone loves food. The only thing better than both of those seperately, is both of those combined. It has taken me a term to figure this out but I will impart on you a little secret about where to find the best free food on campus.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness. It was finals week. Finals week is not as bad as it sounds here. Many things are done to make this time as pleasant as possible. One of which is that we are allowed to take our finals home and do them whenever we feel most prepared within a certain time period. However, one of the best things about finals week is the food! During finals week, every night we have snake kits in the north kitchens. Last term was the first time I experienced Caltech finals. The first night of finals a group of Averites trooped over to the north houses to get food. When we got there, we noticed that there were pot stickers, chicken nuggets, various fruits, breakfast food (cereal, french toast, pancakes, eggs). We realized that we should probably have brought a gigantic bucket to carry all this food back to Avery. When we left the kitchen, our pockets were overflowing and our tummies were full. There were also nights of midnight pizza and midnight donuts. The RAs in our houses also came around to each of our rooms with a food cart of assorted junk food and grapes. Finals week was very pleasant indeed.
In my younger and more vulnerable days, an upperclassman gave me some advice that I have been turning over in my mind ever since: attend as many pizza courses as you can. Pizza courses here at Caltech are unique lunchtime classes where students eat free pizza and get to listen to professors present about their research. During first term, I enrolled in the chemistry pizza course, but there is a pizza course for nearly every discipline. It truely can not get better than hearing world class researchers talk while eating free food.
One cannot think well, love well, or sleep well if one has not dined well. Perhaps the best dining experience I’ve had thus far at Caltech was at the Manners 101 dinner served by Tom Mannion. Manners 101 is a one night course (no pun intended) hosted by the MOSH (Master of Student Houses). It is a short evening aimed at teaching some basic dinner and professional etiquette. The best part, though, is the delicious four course meal that accompanies prepared by Tom Mannion. Tom is one of the best people to know on campus. He is the director of student activities, which basically means that he’s in charge of making sure that the undergrads have fun and are not too stressed out. The food he prepared for manners 101 included baked brie, salad, lobster, steak, and dessert.
Friendless I can never be, for all of my house is my family and I am on ill terms with none of my extended family. House events are one of the most fun ways of bonding with people in the house and eating great food at the same time. On weekends, when we are left alone to fend for ourselves, houses will come up with creative ideas to alleviate the dilemma of where to find food. In Avery, for example, we have bagels on Sundays so precisely at noon every Sunday, a large clump of people can be seen gathering around mounds of bagels placed out in the courtyard. Sometimes we also get meals subsidized when we go out. There really is no better way of getting to know people than over food!
Good company and good food are the very sinues of virtue. The epitome of free food here at Caltech is when you get to have it with professors. It is not uncommon (in fact, it is quite common). The Atheneum, the faculty club on campus, has extremely good food and it is very common for professors to host students for lunch and just have a pleasant conversation. I have been there twice with Professor Frautschi and Professor Lewis. It is slightly intimidating at first, just sitting there with such world renowned scientists, but you quickly come to realize that they are human and that they are extremely genuine. I have also had friends who have had breakfast with Nobel Laureates! In fact, Caltech even has designated funds set aside for students to be able to ask a professor to lunch. Professors are human too, they enjoy free food and good company as well!
There are many other sources of free food on campus, but these few that I have pointed out are exceptional and definitely worth exploring. Nothing beats great food and great company!
Bonus points go to anyone who caught onto all the literary references ;)