Fridays with Fred: A few “suggestions” for “desirable dining habits”

The intricacies of 1960s dining at Beloit College.

From leftovers masked as mysterious au gratin casseroles to reheated pasta long past its al dente phase, campus dining has always provided fuel for debate as well as food for consumption. Campus historians might draw a wavering line from yesteryear’s Dining Hall Committee to today’s Food Task Force. Dining at Beloit College 50 years ago was a little more complicated than simply staving off ravenous hunger or hanging out with friends over a piping hot bowl of chili.

For instance, a student entering college at the dawn of the 1960s received a thick handbook entitled This is Beloit. Among its useful tips, rules, and regulations, was a list under the “Dorm Life – Women” banner, headed “Dining Room Standards,” created by the Associated Women Students “to help students maintain and improve desirable dining habits,” though couched as “suggestions.” Among them:

  1. Anyone appearing at dinner after grace is considered late and must ask permission from the Head Resident in charge to be seated.
  2. Exchange dinners where groups of men and women exchange regularly assigned eating places may be arranged in advance with the Director of Food Service.
  3. Grace is given as a preface to evening and Sunday noon meals. Suggestions for new graces may be made through House Councils or to Maurer Fellowship.
  4. Appearance and Wearing Apparel
  • Shorts of any type, slacks, or sweat shirts are not allowed in the dining rooms at any time except breakfast and lunch.
  • Skirts must be worn at all dinners.
  • Excluding Sunday dinner, bermudas and slacks may be worn in the dining room during the final examination period. Short shorts are not acceptable.
  • Heels (or flats) and hose are worn at Sunday dinner.
  • Girls having an 11 o’clock swimming class may wear scarves to lunch.
  • Otherwise, no pincurls or scarves are allowed in the dining rooms

5. Manners

  • There is to be no knitting or reading in the dining room.
  • The waitresses and diners should be courteous to each other.
  • Dinner is to be served by a hostess at each table.
  • No food except fruit is to be carried from the dining room.

Singing appropriate to the occasion may take place between courses. Song courtesy should be extended to your friends. Therefore, it is requested that (1) one either join in singing or refrain from conversation when a song is in progress and (2) that one listen to hear if others have started a song before the table begins to sing. Singing between courses should end when the trays of dessert are brought into the dining room.

Fred Burwell ’86
November 10, 2011

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