Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let Them Eat Shrimp

Yesterday afternoon was the annual "garden party" at the college president's house to celebrate the first day of classes at Carleton. In the past (at least since we arrived at Carleton in 1990), the party has been known for the heaping trays of jumbo shrimp served to the faculty and staff. But this year there was no shrimp. According to an article in Time magazine, the shrimp was eliminated as a cost-cutting measure: "Carleton College will save $3,800 by skipping shrimp and wine at annual faculty parties."

Although Time presents a gratifying picture of elite cake-eating college professors having to go without their shrimp and wine during a severe economic downturn, there seems to be another side to the story. The garden party followed the opening convocation, at which the address was given by Gary Nabhan, a leader of the local foods movement and author of books such as Coming Home to Eat (2001) and Where Our Food Comes From (2008). And Carleton's new food service provider, Bon Ap├ętit, is committed to using locally-sourced foods and to promoting sustainability, and is aware that jumbo shrimp (along with most commercially-available seafood) is neither local to Minnesota nor, for the most part, harvested in a sustainable manner.

2 comments:

Jim H. said...

Question: What was served instead of shrimp?

Comment: The food service folks probably could have obtained some inexpensive wine from local vintners (Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hastings) to save money and keep it local. But -- to be blunt -- the local wine just isn't very good.

Shan said...

Yay, Carleton! Also: we all have to suffer during the recession, don't we?

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