Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cafeterias, Oxford-Style

Oxford, despite its fantasy and Harry Potter-ness, is in fact a real place, inhabited by real people who lead real (ish) lives and pursue real day to day activities. (At least, this is the mantra I try repeat to myself whenever I find myself in situations like matriculation last week, which seem like an obvious jest). 

But when it comes to college dining halls, that sense of reality often begins to slip away. I mean seriously, whose university cafeteria looks like this??!


Apparently, mine does.

I find the halls to be one of the most fascinating features of the different Oxford colleges: obviously its a facility they all share (something that can't be said about some of the more outlandish holdings of some Oxford colleges, such as Magdalen's deer park or Christ Church's personal art museum), but in classic Oxford style that's about where the similarities end. Some halls are big and grand; others intimate and cozy. They range in age from 13/14th century (HOW IS THAT REAL?!) to 20th. And the food of course ranges as well, from tragic (*cough*Corpus Christi*cough*) to suspiciously delightful.

I got the pleasure of eating at two new halls yesterday: Trinity for lunch and Green Templeton for my first 'away' black tie dinner of the year (having already had one at Pembroke as part of freshers orientation week). At both, the food ranged onto the 'suspiciously delightful' end of the spectrum, and I'd love to come back to a formal hall at Trinity because if what they served me was their 'casual lunch' fare, I'd wager that their fancy food is off the charts.

(Trinity Hall)

(Green Templeton Hall, in the ground level of an eighteenth century observatory!)

I sat next to another Stanford alum at dinner, and we mused briefly on the bizarre culture of Oxford that leads to such a surplus of black tie events (seriously, you could probably go to one every week, or even multiple times a week, if you played your cards right and had unlimited funds). And how you really do get used to it and start to think of it as just normal practice (apparently; that hasn't happened for me yet!): a sort of very well dressed Stockholm syndrome.


 (My food at Green Templeton: so tasty)

 (Nom nom nom nom)


My friend Rachel has described the process of coming to Oxford as going 'down the rabbit-hole,' Alice in Wonderland-style, and on evenings like last night I tend to think that she's right on the money.

(And of course, there was tea, coffee, port, and chocolate to finish)

5 comments:

SprinklerBandit said...

I love all the pictures.

Amanda said...

Good grief. Are you sure you aren't at Hogwarts???

T Myers said...

What we really want to know is - are there any hot men??? haha

L.Williams said...

How fancy!!!

Also I nominated you for the sunshine award.
http://suenostomanvuelo.blogspot.com/2013/10/sunshine-award-and-contests.html

Karley said...

That soup looks delish!

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