By Andrew Yourell, Staff Writer
Students at Holloway Commons were served a dish of nostalgia along with their meals on Wednesday night as they packed HoCo for the Toy Story themed dinner.
The menu featured a number of clever plays on the Pixar franchise, with the dining stations assuming new names and decors, including Pizza Planet, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Andy’s Room and Woody’s Roundup. Decorations and an attention to detail helped spark a fun, laid back atmosphere for the specialty meal.
“People were saying I was a hot potato,” joked manager Deb Scanlon, dressed as Mrs. Potato Head.
Philbrook manager Brandon Crosby made an appearance, matching Scanlon as Mr. Potato Head, and chef Chris Kaschak assumed the role of Buzz Lightyear. Other staff members were dressed as Woody, Bo Peep, Sarge and the Bucket o’ Soldiers.
Kaschak discussed the decisions that dictated the menu—the characters, namely Hamm the Piggy Bank, Rex the anxious T-Rex, the Potato Heads and Emperor Zorg’s Flying Saucers; as well as bagel and meatball pizzas served at the Pizza Planet station.
The food order was immense, with most of the food coming from local farmers, including North Country Smokehouse and PT Farm, whom provided most of the meat used.
The order included 550 pounds of ham, 640 pounds of steamship rounds of beef, another 200 pounds of top rounds of beef, 450 pounds of swordfish steaks, 650 pounds of chicken wings, 140 pounds of ground beef and 25 gallons of lobster chowder.
He also stressed that the dining halls hope to use local foods whenever they can, but that the specialty meals give them an added opportunity to help out local businesses.
“We try to use as much local as we possibly can,” he said. “And that’s just not for special events…we try to do that all the time. But to do the special event, it gives us a little bit more leeway because sometimes the items are more expensive buying them local. But the one thing that’s also good about that is when the people, these farmers, see the volume that we use, it sparks interest.”
One of the chief ingredients, despite the substantial amount of meat on the menu, was everyone’s favorite starchy couple, the Potato Heads. The Grill was renamed Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, and served Mr. Poutine, Fried Slinky Dog curly fries, the Potato Head Skins, a clever twist on the classic potato skin, and Andy’s Favorite Spud, which were candied sweet potatoes.
“I like it,” said junior Olivia Carney of the atmosphere. “It was a lot of fun, and not as crowded as usual themed dinner nights.”
While Carney may have visited during a lull, Scanlon and Kaschack revealed that between 4:30 and 8 p.m., some 3,000 students attended dinner, and they expected close to 3,400 total by the time dinner wrapped up at 9 p.m.
UNH Dining will be hosting another themed dinner on Feb. 19 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Philbrook Dining Hall. The theme will be a celebration of the Chinese New Year.