Monday dinner at Radcliffe is always a roast, explains the Annex dietician, "because the girls have all had their weekend dates and are all in."
Miss Lillian Burdakin cites this as one instance of a general pattern in the difficult business of planning a college's meals. Wednesday continues the week's overall scheme, with a special dish such as roast beef or chicken. Then on either Tuesday or Thursday the dietician fills in with a lower cost meat, such as sausage or chicken.
Although specific meals sometimes reappear from week to week, Miss Burdakin asserts she never refers to past menus for meal suggestions.
Periodic outbursts of complaints about meal-planning--such as the recent one in which all irate girl appealed directly to President Jordan--are a regular part of the 'Cliffe scene. Miss Burdakin defends her office against these charges, pointing out the difficulties in pleasing so large a community.
The Annex dietician welcomes complaints, and uses an incident of a few years ago when Briggs Hall managed to get apples for desert instead of coffee ice-cream as an example of what results can be achieved. That, however, was the last time Miss Burdakin received a petition.
Budgeting the amount spent on food is done by Miss Burdakin without recourse to formal written accounts. After 34 years at Radcliffe she can accurately gauge what and how much to buy. As for the monetary problems. "They all work out at the end of the year," she says.
When food is left over it usually reappears in a different form at lunch. By some quirk residents of Harnard and Briggs halls like left-overs more than girls in the other dorms do, according to Miss Burdakin. Some of the unused food is eaten by the maids, but they also get special meals of their own, since their food preferences are markedly different from those of the students.
Unlike Harvard, which has one central kitchen which serves five of the seven Houses, Radcliffe has five kitchens for its seven dormitories. Barnard and Briggs and Cabot-Whitman account for the doubling up.
Still the most unusual part of the whole Radcliffe dining system is the rigid system of meal hours (or minutes). Harvard men accustomed to an hour-and-a-half period in which to get served will pale at the 'Cliffe's schedule--3 to 8:15 for breakfast, 1 to 1:30 for lunch, and 6 p.m. sharp for dinner.