Caf “International” Food Not International Enough

An everlasting problem that the University of Tampa seems to have has to do with its dining services. UT’s Ultimate Dining cafeteria claims that you can “taste the world from here,” but how much of the world really?

In a university that claims it endorses and exposes its students to an international atmosphere, people are let down by the restricted options they have when it comes to international foods. Although UT offers a variety of selections around campus, the focus seems to be mainly on American or Americanized foods.

Although the main cafeteria does have an “International” section, its options seem very limited for such a great claim. International food should be something out of the ordinary that we don’t necessarily see everyday.

For starters, pasta is not really international food. Offering an option between rotini and linguine with a choice of marinara or alfredo sauce is something anyone can come up with out of the pasta section of a grocery store. Although some may argue that pasta is associated with Italian culture, it has become an everyday food for Americans, just like pizza.

Another “International” food claim includes dining options like nachos and tacos. Tex-mex food is not international. If the cafeteria wants to serve real Mexican food, it would look nothing like the stuff you can buy from Taco Bell. Just ask any Mexican exchange students what their opinion is on the subject. They’ll explain just how different Mexican food really is from the way we imagine it.

If this weren’t enough of an outrage, the fact that the “International” section of the cafeteria is not open all weekend is. This makes a student’s dining choices even more limited. Not only are they offered Americanized international, but this isn’t even an option on weekends.

Although there are a few true claims to international food, such as strawberry crepes, stir-fry noodles, and pierogies, a student’s choices should not be so narrow.

Where is the German food? How about the Indian, Spanish, Peruvian, or Honduran foods? All it takes is a trip to the cafeteria to verify that these are nonexistent on UT’s campus. It is especially surprising since the new dorm building, Stadium Center, has an array of non-international restaurants.

It makes sense that only one food is served at the international section of the cafeteria everyday, but it shouldn’t be Americanized international food. The cafeteria should offer more variety, maybe even choose a different country’s native food to give people something to look forward to on a daily basis.

UT should rethink its menu and offer more options to help introduce its students to international culture through foreign cuisine.

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