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March 18, 2010


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Tim Zinnecker

Miriam, I will concur in your glowing assessment of the Cumberland dining experience! Oh to relive the "dollar day" experiences!

Tung Yin

Let's see -- summing up various undergrad, grad school, and law school cafeterias from my time as a student, prof, and visiting prof (letter grades):

Caltech (1984-88): dorm kitchen, D. The food was so bad that sometimes we'd walk in to the dining hall, take a sniff, and walk out en masse.

Cal-Berkeley (1990-95): on campus, C-. However, there were so many great places just off-campus on Telegraph Avenue that it wasn't a big deal.

U of Iowa (2002-09): C/B. C was for the law school, B was for the cafeteria in the nearby dorm, which was $6 for all you can eat. The law school stopped offering hot options (except soup) the last few years, although there was a made to order sandwich bar.

U of Illinois (2009): A-. A hot grill! Healthy options, and also burgers and fries. And fountain sodas, which are better than canned or bottled sodas.

Lewis & Clark (2009-present): B+. Made to order sandwiches and burgers (but alas no fries). Soup, salad bar, and specials of the day. An effective 10% discount if you load up your ID card with $150 or more at a time.

Miriam Cherry

So far, we have a limited sample size. Right now it looks like the winners are Cumberland and U of Illinois.


I can't say much about law school food at different places, but I had a similar idea some years ago, while presenting a paper at the Rutgers/Princeton grad student conference. In the "Philosophical Gourmet Report" at the time Rutgers and Princeton were 1 and 2 or 2 and 3 or something, but the food at Rutgers the first day of the conference was so much less good than that at Princeton the second day that I thought we should come up with a "literal philosophical gourmet report", where departments could be ranked by the quality of the food they provide after department talks, the restaurants that speakers are taken to, whether they provide a subsidy for students going out after talks, etc. Alas, the needed information proved too hard to gather, and potential speakers and students must still make their choices as to where to present papers or study without this important information.

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