The Oberlin Review

Stevie Food Belongs in Bellies, Not on Display

Kara Kralik

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The other day my friend and I were at Stevie and wanted to get some fruit to take home. There were no apples available in the large fruit containers in the main room. There were only oranges and bananas, but my friend had spotted some shiny Granny Smiths and Red Deliciouses in one of the side rooms where the beverage fountains are located. We went over to grab some apples, but were stopped by a student employee, who informed us that we were not allowed to take the apples. She said she was sorry, but she was on duty and we couldn’t take the apples. While I am aware that taking food out of Stevie is against the rules (although widely practiced), it seemed that we would not even have been allowed to take the apples to eat while at Stevie because they were serving a higher purpose as decorations.

This revelation was disturbing to me for a number of reasons. First of all, the fact that we live in a society so gluttonous as to reserve perfectly nutritious and eatable food as a decoration, to display it while actually preventing anyone from eating it, its ostensible and arguably its best purpose, is supremely wasteful. In addition, it was clear from the fact that there were only five apples left in the large bowl that people had already been stealing them, and thus whatever aesthetic value they may have had was dwindling as they sat there awkwardly not filling up the space in the bowl. Some of the fruit had also begun to go bad, and though I could have taken a bruised apple home, cut off the bruise, and eaten the still tart, juicy, and delicious 75 percent of it, it was destined to sit and be admired as it rotted away.

There are lots of fruits and vegetables put on display in Stevie everyday, and it is also very common for them to be stolen and taken home to be eaten by students. But should this really be considered an infraction? Putting food to its actual use? It seems like simple common sense. After all, are bowls of slowly degrading produce really improving the aesthetic experience of eating at the dining hall? Would student morale really suffer if, instead of sitting on counters as decorations, the food were cooked and eaten?

–Kara Kralik College senior

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