The Commons Kitchen, or The Truth Will Out

The Commons kitchen, from the Papers of William Ward Watkins

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time reading Threshers recently, trying to puzzle out the gags in the 1937 Owl map. I’ve made some headway, but of course I’ve also bumped into a lot of unrelated yet still compelling material. I for one simply never tire of jokes about gastrointestinal distress, so I was quite taken with this story from 1938 about an outbreak of . . . . something  . . . . among dining hall patrons:

Unsurprisingly, not only the talent but even the competence of the kitchen staff has been called into question many, many times over the years. Tradition even has it that the reason for the beautiful paneling in the Commons was a food riot that stained the original white walls. I feel compelled to note that times have really changed in this regard. The food in the colleges is really quite good today. But here’s a poll taken sometime in the 1960s that strikes a note that would be familiar to the sufferers of 1938:

Bonus: I believe I’m on record as being pretty uninterested in owls, but the masthead of the 1938 Thresher has a really nice one. Zoom in on him for a good look.


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7 Responses to The Commons Kitchen, or The Truth Will Out

  1. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    I wrote the most erudite reply.
    But I erred and erased it.
    Sorry, M., maybe I’ll try again later.

  2. Pat Campbell says:

    For the questionnaire, April 12 was a Wednesday in 1961, 1967, and 1972, so the Threshers dated April 20 or 27 for those years would likely have any follow-up that was done. I was there in both 1967 and 1972 and don’t recall the epidemic.

    • Pat Campbell says:

      Looking harder at the bottom of the page there is a date of 5/18/67 in what appears to be pencil, so the target year would then appear to be 1967.

  3. Leoguy says:

    I suppose I’ll have to return the collection of ceramic owls I got you for Christmas?

  4. Melissa Kean says:

    Laugh if you will, but that way lies madness.

  5. Bill Peebles, Hanszen '70 says:

    I was working part-time as an office gofer at Anderson, Greenwood & Co, a valve manufacturing company, and I typed up the questionnaire and ran off a bunch of copies on the company’s Xerox machine. The text doesn’t look like the usual type-written text because I used an IBM “Executive” typewriter. The date was indeed 1967.

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