UWO Thanksgiving meal was a box o’ boring

Kaitlyn Scoville, Copy Desk Chief

UWO offered students a complimentary meal on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving this year looked severely different for those who chose to remain safe from the coronavirus, or avoid risking those they love.

This year, UW Oshkosh offered a complimentary Thanksgiving meal with all of the stereotypical fixings for those students who decided to stay on campus: turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, salad and the illustrious pumpkin pie.

“Thanksgiving is a time of family, and nothing has disrupted ‘family’ more than COVID-19 in the last nine months,” Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said in a Nov. 17 email. “But the actions we take today will help preserve our families and help us move toward a time where we can be together again.”

Meals could be picked up in Blackhawk Commons between 1 and 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Leavitt and Associate Director of Student Involvement Missy Burgess greeted each student, wishing them all a happy holiday.

Burgess handed over a reusable green container, and off I went through the Thanksgiving buffet.

Of course, being the glutton that I am, I had to ask for everything: especially the rolls and mashed potatoes.

However, I didn’t want to hoard everything; I was one of the first people to pick up, and I didn’t know how many more were going to come in the following couple hours.

The kind server offered generous half-spoonfuls of everything scoop-able, and one slice of both ham and turkey. With the roll on top, I could hardly shut the container. The salad and pie was provided in two separate plastic containers.

Since I had already eaten breakfast with my mom and planned dinner with my dad, my girlfriend Hailey Vadnais and I decided to tackle the school’s meal that evening. So I’ll admit, it wasn’t as “fresh” as it could have been, but it sufficed.

I hadn’t thought of the presentation when I first got the food from Blackhawk, but when Hailey opened the container, she said it was a zero. However, I can let the presentation pass as I had them fit so much food in such a small container.

First up was the salad. I mentioned before that I was a glutton, but salad is the bane of my existence. Hailey dressed it all with ranch, closed the container and shook it up.

After having a few bites, she said, “It’s very salad, 10 out of 10. Actually, it would be better with cheese.”

We continued watching TV, and a few bites later, she redacted her statement. “Nobody wants to eat a quarter of a tomato,” she said, holding one up on her fork.

After that, we moved on to the main portion of the meal. I went for the ham, Hailey went for the turkey.

When I picked up the food, the ham was served with a pineapple chunk, so I knew it was going to be on the sweeter side. However, when I tried a bite, I couldn’t taste that sweetness at all. But I love ham, so I let that slide too.

Hailey took a bite of the turkey and noted that it didn’t really taste like anything special.

“I don’t know what to say other than it tastes like turkey,” she said.

However, the mashed potatoes saved the show by being the best thing on the plate. The skin was still on, and there was a strong taste of garlic, which was a plus to both Hailey and I.

The mashed sweet potatoes tasted as you would expect — like sweet potatoes. Nothing special again.

“They taste about average for sweet potatoes,” Hailey added.

However, the dunce of the meal was the green bean casserole. It was dry and didn’t taste like much at all.

“It’s a no from me,” Hailey said.

The stuffing gained some points back for the meal, though. It was delicious. Hailey rated it a 7 out of 10.

Now, what I was looking forward to the most: the roll. I picked that sucker up and thought I could bounce it. However, the inside was soft. It’s the kind of dinner roll you would get at a cheap family restaurant. As a bread connoisseur, it was great on taste.

Last but not least, the pumpkin pie. The dessert everybody looks forward to at the end of the meal; the dish that everybody saves room in their stomach for.

Hailey and I both took a bite and agreed that it was very strong on the cinnamon. So much so that it kind of left a bitter taste on our palettes.

“You taste more cinnamon than pumpkin,” Hailey said.

The crust was something to be desired; it didn’t taste like anything. At least that isn’t the star of the dish.

Overall, it was a stereotypical Thanksgiving meal. The presentation was below average, and everything tasted as one would expect it to. Nobody should complain about the fact that it was free and even an option from UWO.

That’s what I’m thankful for this year — UWO taking time to provide a good meal for students who perhaps could not have or chose not to otherwise spend their breaks with the ones they love.