The era of gracious living at Yale began to perish, before my time, sometime I believe late in the 1950s or early in the 1960s, when Yale’s residential colleges removed the white linen tablecloths and ceased using waitresses in the dining halls, and switched over to cafeteria style dining.
The late 1960s delivered another blow, when the silver sugar bowls and water pitchers disappeared. Too many were being appropriated as souvenirs by representatives of the new, more democratic Yale admitted by Dean of Admissions R. Inslee Clark.
In 2009, even the humble modern style of Yale dining experienced a seismic shock, when the Yale administration, responding with Pavlovian obedience to the preposterous demands of environmentally-minded whackjobs, suddenly removed all the plastic trays used for conveying your food and drinks from the cafeteria serving line to your table in the University Commons dining hall, used by Yale’s freshman class. No trays to run through Yale’s dishwasher would save some infinitesimal percentage of the water making up more than 70% of the planet’s surface from temporary contact with detergent.
Gaia would have been so pleased, but those inconsiderate freshmen rebelled at being asked to juggle plates, glass, and silverware, and demanded that the offending trays be brought back into service.
Director of Dining Rafi Taherian announced, after only a week of dissension, that it did not make sense to continue an initiative that seemed contrary to the wishes of the Yale community.
â€œYale Dining listens,â€ Teherian said. â€œWe donâ€™t have ego. Weâ€™re responsive.â€
But the Student Taskforce for Environmental Partnership (STEP) remained determined. Trayless dining might no longer be obligatory, but it could still be encouraged. STEP nagged students to try trayless dining.
Food waste measurements performed by STEP determined that people who dine trayless waste half as much food as tray users. That adds up pretty quickly. Trayless dining also looks classier. And the dining halls save a lot of water when they don’t need to wash as many trays. These are all awesome thing.
And as this new academic year opens, Yale students found that one more traditional distinctive feature of life in Yale’s residential colleges was gone. The twelve Yale residential colleges’ individual dining services had been removed, replaced by a new, generic service, specifically designed to promote the “voluntary” trayless dining movement.
Yale Dining has replaced the custom china sets in the residential colleges with a uniform set that will be used all across campus. The new china set features white plates with an outline and a â€œYâ€ on the bottom.
The new set also has considerably fewer pieces than the old set â€“ it includes only a big plate, a saucer, a mug and a bowl.
The new plates are bigger, and allow students to take more food without having to take a tray.
Isn’t it typical of the left? If open coercion is ever effectively resisted and fails, you then get constant nagging, nibbling away and step-by-step subversion until choice is finally eliminated and the petty dictators get their way.
The old Yale plates were smaller than conventional dinner plates, being designed for ease of handling in cafeteria style dining. They were made by Syracuse China. Though they weren’t luxurious fine china, the old services were sturdy and durable, visually gratifying, and individual to each residential college.
I found the photograph of the plate from my own residential college here. The last six pictures feature the outside and the interior of the Berkeley Dining Hall.