Sophie McClellan ’19 says Peddie dining is about much more than enjoying good food.
After nine months of all Peddie, all of the time, my family is lucky enough to spend the summer with my grandparents on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Though this may seem odd, these three months away actually make me feel more connected than ever to the school I love so dearly.
Two summers ago, I began working at an LBI restaurant called Black Eyed Susans as a bus girl and hostess. The staff was made up of college students, teachers during their offseason and lifeguards looking to pick up some extra shifts, and I felt very out of place. Not only was I the youngest one there, but I didn’t recognize anyone.
During the first few weeks, I slowly got more comfortable with my co-workers and surroundings, and soon became familiar with the concept of “family meal,” a term I had only heard used before by chef Anthony Bourdain. Before every dinner service begins at the restaurant, all of the staff members fill a plate with food prepared by the chefs in the kitchen and eat together. We laugh and share stories, getting into a happy mindset before the crazy night moves into in full swing.
Without these family meals, I do not think that my shifts at the restaurant would have been as enjoyable, and the bonds made during those times wouldn’t have come as naturally, which brings me to my point about Peddie.
For someone who loves food as much as I do, it’s not surprising that many of my favorite friendships were formed within the comforting walls of the Peddie dining hall. Not only are the meals we eat together a chance to laugh, share stories and spend time with each other, but they set the mood for the rest of the day, similar to family meals at the restaurant.
The dining hall is where we start a day of classes and end a day after sports practices. The dining hall is where we meet to watch our peers perform songs and poetry at the annual coffeehouse, and where we go on a Saturday night for pizza and a movie showing. We have our seasonal sports banquets in the dining hall and join together to reward athletes for their leadership.
Peddie meals truly are family meals. I know there’s a part of me that can’t wait to get back to my lunch table and have a meal with my Peddie friends again.