Laurie Taylor column

September 28, 2001

Universities are employing more and more of their own undergraduates for cleaning and catering jobs - THES September 21

Next please. Move your tray along.

Ah yes. What's on the menu today?

There's the two specials. Thai green curry with crispy noodles or roast lamb with new potatoes and steamed broccoli.

And "from the grill"?

Pork sausages with French fries and baked beans and grilled tomatoes.

Baked beans and grilled tomatoes?

No, they're alternatives.

And today's healthy option?

Poached sole with Mediterranean vegetables.

Tricky. What's been popular today?

Well, there was an initial run on the Thai green curry but that may have had something to do with the tendency of overseas graduates to eat early in order to avoid the one o'clock rush of undergraduates. Since then, there's been a discernible movement towards the roast lamb. "From the grill" and "the healthy option" have been relatively stable. People who eat badly and people who eat well tend not to change their gastronomic affiliations overnight.

On balance, what would you recommend?

Well, I must admit that when I came on duty today I did have a slight preference for the Thai green curry but then I began to see the distinctive traditional merits of the roast lamb. Not that I'd want to dismiss the tried-and-trusted value of "from the grill" or the relatively innovative appeal of "the healthy option".

Thank you for your help. Most obliging. You're studying political philosophy, aren't you?

That's right. How did you guess?

I don't know. It just somehow came over me.

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