A Traditional Feast

Kaleigh Wilson ’13 shares a student’s perspective on the legendary campus tradition of Lobster-Steak Dinner

Kaleigh Wilson '13
Student holds up a boiled lobster

Bristol, R.I. — “I’m ready to feast,” George Hoermann ’13 proclaims loudly above a chorus of growling stomachs owned by students in line at the Upper Commons last week for a veritable banquet of gustatory delights.

Students can’t help flashing hungry smiles as they walk through the cafeteria doors and have wait staff ask them, “Lobster or steak?” How many other college students get to answer that question at their dining hall?

Bon Appétit’s Lobster-Steak Dinner is a celebrated annual tradition on campus that most students make sure not to miss. Now a graduating senior, I think back fondly to my very first authentic New England lobster feast that RWU offered me four fun-packed years ago as a Cedar-dwelling freshman.

The familiar chaos I experienced then is still just as exciting. Students grab plates and quickly queue up at one of three serving lines. Their eyes as much as their mouths say “yes, please” or “no, thank you” to the bounty before them – sautéed mushrooms, baked potatoes, stuffed artichoke hearts, clam cakes, grilled vegetables, barbeque chicken breasts. Then, finally, it’s time for one of the tastiest decisions of their college lives.

For some, it is the tender, seasoned slab of steak. For myself, and many others, it is the sizzling, crimson crustacean stuffed with juicy white meat.

And what good would lobster do you without its complimentary condiment? You guessed it – my next stop was the seemingly infinite melted-butter station for a freshly poured cup of gravy.

But the bounty didn’t end there. In addition to the usual salad bar offerings and soft serve ice cream machine, this high class dining event featured an overflowing basket of powdery, doughy bread rolls, a do-it-yourself baked potato topping station, assorted packaged ice cream bars and a dessert buffet of cheesecake brownies and deep-dish platters of strawberry shortcake.

Sitting down with our spreads, we launch into cracking shells and drenching lobster meat in butter, as wait staff bustle about, emptying tabletop waste buckets and providing new table settings and bibs.

Without fail, as it has been since I first flirted with a New England lobster at RWU four years ago, it was a feast for the ages.