By Carter Ottele 

RRC– In a move that its administration has called “a historic step forward”, Grinnell College’s dining hall has decided to stop serving solid food. With this decision, Grinnell will be the first college in the nation to completely eliminate the need for utensils. Grinnell has struggled for months with understaffing, particularly in its dining hall. Students have felt the effects of understaffing first-hand. 

“At first we didn’t have reusable plates,” one student told the B&S. “And then we didn’t have any plates. So people got upset, and we had plates again…but the utensils kept running out. Then they tried serving us food by swallowing it and regurgitating it directly into our mouths—you know, like penguins?—and honestly, it wasn’t too bad, except there weren’t enough workers to make it happen.”

By this point, controversy over the situation threatened to deter admitted students from attending the school, frightening Grinnell’s administration. The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) also achieved a long-anticipated expansion, further pressuring the administration.

“We didn’t have a choice,” confided a member of the administration who wished to be called the pseudonym Deepthroat. “We either need more workers, who could wash the plates and the silverware, or we need a different way of serving food.”

The B&S asked Deepthroat why the former wasn’t an option. “We don’t have the money to pay more student workers,” Deepthroat responded.

After consulting with a self-proclaimed “alternative meal plan expert”, Grinnell released its landmark decision: all meals will be blended, served in large bowls, and slurped. Each student will receive ten bowls to use for the remainder of the semester. In order to accommodate everyone, students can choose between four blenders: vegan, gluten-free, halal, and plat du jour chicken.

Deepthroat lauded the strategy as “forward-thinking” and “sustainable”. “Here at Grinnell we think, critically. Consider it: humans don’t really need utensils. They’re a means, not an end. By drinking their food, the need for utensils is removed. This way we also don’t need plates, napkins, or cups. And then students can choose whether or not they wash their bowls, which saves water. Us Grinnellians value sustainability, and this innovative solution will help everyone.”

The switch has not escaped criticism. Evidently, a dining hall without forks does not appeal to everyone. Despite the college’s attempts, there are reports of admitted students deciding to attend other schools due to the controversy, for example. And many current students have protested the decision as well. Large signs with vague, ominous messages like “FOOD ENDS NOW” have appeared in various public spaces, though the B&S could not confirm the meaning of such messages.

Meanwhile, others have started an underground market for reusable dishes and silverware. By some estimates, upwards of $1,000 flow through the market everyday as students exchange valuables for cutlery. In an apparent attempt to corner the market, one second-year economics major reportedly exchanged their left kidney for 100 sporks.

Looking ahead, one can expect similar cost-efficient transformations from Grinnell. “If consolidation worked so well in d-hall, it’s gotta work in other places too,” said Deepthroat. “Do we really need residence halls if everyone can sleep on the fieldhouse floor? We know that professors spend a lot of time grading: what if we make things easier for them and buy a school subscription to Grammarly Premium™? It’s analysis like this that makes Grinnell a truly unique experience.”

An influx of first-year students in Fall 2022 may signal a return to solid food. Until then, students are preparing to form half-hour lines for garlic breadstick smoothies.