It’s now called the Class of 1953 Commons, but when I was attending Dartmouth College between 1962 and 1966, it was called Thayer Hall. All students were required to eat there, which for me was a disaster. The meat was like slabs of granite, accompanied by bland potatoes and overcooked vegetables.
Supposedly it has improved since the days when Miss Jeanette Gill (who was reputed to be a retired marine) ruled the dining hall with an iron spatula. But then there were troops of dogs fighting for table scraps. When we saw the truck from the Precinct Pig Farm parked outside of Thayer, we were wondering whether they were picking up to slop the hogs or delivering to slop the students.
When I returned to Cleveland for Christmas vacation in December 1962, I managed to get a doctor’s note excusing me from eating at Thayer because it was making me sick. Which it was.
That left the handful of restaurants in Hanover, New Hampshire for me to explore. Probably my favorite was Lou’s Restaurant, owned by Louis Bressett, who, once every blue moon, served a devilish good spaghetti with meatballs. There was the usually reliable College Inn, and always the possibility of a splurge at the Hanover Inn.
I also enjoyed a local restaurant called Minichiello’s. Let me quote a 2015 post:
One of the places I ate was Minichiello’s: They had good pizza and were friendly. The only problem was they thought I was such a nice boy. You must remember that when I was a college senior, I looked as if I were still twelve; and I was subject to bullying by the local high schoolers until they saw I was carrying a college ID. So there I was, munching away at my pizza, when they introduce their daughter to me. She was very cute in a bad girl sort of way, and here her parents were holding me up as an example she should follow—instead of those bad boys who worked at the local garage.
God knows, if it weren’t for the fact that I was seriously ill with a pituitary tumor and, as a result, had not yet physically reached the age of puberty, I would much rather be doing with her those things her parents feared she was doing with the bad boys.
So for the rest of my college career, I avoided Thayer Hall. Where food is concerned, there’s a lot to be said for the privilege of being able to choose.