Members: Balaji Harish Iyer (Convener), Pragya Mishra, Bharat Gupta (Co-Convener), Rangashree T.K., Nishtha Sinha, Purushottam Mishra, Mohit Mehta, Malavika Parthasarathy, Shashank Meena, Trishaa Bansal.
Nominated members: Shashank Meena, Maloth Chandrashekher, Yashika Singh
Resigned: Maloth Chandrashekhar, Kritika Vidyarthi.
This past year has been a challenging one for the Mess Committee. After the mess contractor was let go, the Committee, which was previously admin-oriented, was suddenly thrust into the role of food-provider for 400 hangry (that’s hungry and angry) students. It was not an easy task, by any means, but they have risen to the challenge admirably. From procuring prodigious amounts of food on a daily basis, to experimenting with the menu, the Mess Committee has certainly shaken things up. We’d like to list out some of their accomplishments this past year:
- Feeding the entire student body.
Given that this meant that the members of the Mess Committee had to personally oversee the delivery of food every day, manage accounts, and so on and so forth, we’d say that they’ve done a pretty good job of it.
- Diversification in the menu.
The Committee has foregone the tried-and-tested route of primarily North Indian food (with South Indian and Chinese cuisine thrown in), and has attempted to introduce new delicacies in the mess. They’ve tried to incorporate cuisine from Bombay (Tuesday morning vada pav), Rajasthan (Gatte ki sabzi), and most importantly, the much-requested mutton.
- Special food for festivals.
The Committee has gone out of its way to add flavor to different festivals by preparing special delicacies. Whether it’s mutton on Eid or momos on Buddh Purnima, I’m sure we can all agree that this is a welcome addition to normal mess fare.
- Student suggestions
Perhaps best of all, the Mess Committee is finally accepting suggestions and incorporating student opinion into what goes into the menu. The best example of this is probably the sudden inclusion of mango shakes. Recently, they’ve also instituted a complaints register where students can list the reasons why they felt the food was subpar.
However, they still need to work on the following areas:
- Healthy food.
We understand how operating on a low budget and producing industrial-sized amounts of food can make procuring healthy alternatives a bit impossible, but surely there’s a way to cook without all that excess oil? The sheer amount of liquidized vegetable fat in the sabzi can probably stop a human heart.
The mess has attempted to deal with this issue, however – seasonal fruits now accompany breakfast, and milk is now available daily. The committee is also rationing oil (in order to prevent overuse), and starting a program whereby those members of the Committee who know how to cook will oversee the preparation of food, in order to ensure that excess oil is avoided.
- Abrupt changes in the menu.
We’re told that this is because of problems with the supply, but still, walking in expecting [*insert name of delicious dish*] and finding soya chaap is not something that we ever want to do again.
Oh, Mess Committee. The previous contractor was shown the door because students kept on finding extra protein (read: cockroaches) in their food. We don’t have cockroaches anymore, but we do have random bones in vegetarian dishes, and droopy chicken feathers in chicken (for all the vegetarians: Contrary to popular belief, us savage meat-eaters do not prefer chicken with the feathers still on), occasionally accompanied by cutlery that exudes a positively nauseating odour. While the mess staff do occasionally wear hairnets or caps, we fear that hygiene still has a long way to go.
Ever found remnants of cabbage stuck on your plate? One of the reasons behind this is the fact that students continually take plates upstairs and fail to bring them back down, causing the residue of last night’s dinner to be stuck to the plate by the time it’s washed next morning, and making it extremely difficult to scrub them. Yes, food on your cutlery is still disgusting, but perhaps we too have a part to play in this.
All in all: Kudos to the Mess Comm. They did what many of us thought could not be done, and successfully fed four hundred ravenous students on campus. While they have had their share of trouble and controversy – whether it concerns the infamous Buff-Pork debate or the separate kitchens for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, or even the remarkably infuriating (but nevertheless effective) Banishing of Spoons – they’ve come out on top. This is one of the few student bodies that has gone above and beyond. Congratulations, Mess Committee, and good job.
(A previous version of this article contained certain errors with regard to the members of the Mess Committee, which have now been corrected.)