CULTURE Director of Food Services Ms. Sara Sweet understands this common situation. “I think that it’s in our DNA to be attracted to salty, fatty, sweet foods. We have to learn to make decisions over some of those instincts, and that’s what people learn to do as they get older, hopefully.” And the world beyond Bishop’s is full of decisions. College will have virtually unlimited food options. Unintentionally, Bishop’s prepares kids for college by testing their resolve with rather expensive pastries. ~~~~~ The pastries cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00; Chips and other packaged foods cost anywhere from $1.00 to $2.50. Just how profitable is the snack market for the school? The bookstore and snack bar actually don’t make a profit. (Whatever money made is reallocated to various on-campus institutions.) Their purpose is to contribute to the simple necessity of feeding students–which is not as simple as it seems. Food options have to be balanced between
what students should eat and what students want to eat. The school successfully balances that contradiction: Almost all students indulge in the healthy and tasty lunch every day. About half of the student population also buys the less healthy (but still tasty) food at the bookstore or snack bar, according to Ms. Saldana. Ms. Sweet emphasized, “The people that make the decisions on how healthy the food is are the students. We can give you spinach all day, but if you don’t put it on your plate...” So, what do students prefer over spinach? Goldfish and Mentos are the most popular items sold at the bookstore. Chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and breakfast burritos are the most popular items sold at the snackbar. Regarding the snack selection, Ms. Saldana also said, “The kids really drive what we sell.” Altogether, there are about 350 transactions involving snacks per day. ~~~~~ Snacks might not be the most defining aspect of the school, but they’re still an integral part of the Bishop’s experience. Readily available snacks are often taken Issue 03 • October 2018 • The Tower
for granted. Former Bishop’s student Rachel Luxton (‘20) reminisced, “I used to spend thirty dollars at the bookstore every month. I didn’t realize how much I took Bishop’s snacks for granted until I moved to Connecticut. I miss the bookstore.” Rachel attested that snacks are beneficial if they’re used as an occasional supplement and not as a daily meal replacement. The occasional pack of bite-sized chocolate chip cookies won’t cause devastating health effects, but it can boost a student through the last period of the day. Nonetheless, the school might subtly nudge students in the right direction, but they’re not going to govern what students eat. (The “Eat Healthy!” sign on the vending machine comically epitomizes this philosophy.) Bishop’s provides options; students make choices. Buying that $3.00 cinnamon roll was nobody’s choice but my own.