Last Thursday’s Fourth Meal featured a very special menu item. We know what you’re thinking, but this time it wasn’t mozzarella sticks! To celebrate the arrival of spring, Bon Appetit said “bon appétit” to the famous Botany Pond ducklings. Supplies were limited and the ducklings ran out fast. But the early bird catches the worm, as they say. Those lucky enough to stop by the Comfort Station before 9:30 on Thursday were treated to tender, batter-fried baby ducks and an artisanal chipotle aioli.
The ducklings are practically a UChicago institution. Fuzzy, cute, and utterly defenseless, the arrival of the little yellow birds heralds the arrival of spring in Hyde Park. The subject of Facebook posts and University admissions stock photos, the ducklings were voted the most popular birds on campus, landing ahead of our very own Phil the Phoenix. When the dining hall wanted to debut a special, UChicago-themed Fourth Meal delicacy, the ducklings were a natural choice.
Snell-Hitchcock second year Beatriz Arthur saw the ducklings every day on her way to class but was even more excited to see them fried and impaled on skewers at Fourth Meal. “Every year Snitchcock names all the ducklings. I think I ate Betsey, and my best friend had Sir Quacksalot. I didn’t see Jim Webb, but he was the biggest so I’m sure he got eaten first. Robert J. Swimmer was the scrawniest of the bunch, so he was definitely the last one left. I tried to go back for seconds, but they told me only one serving per person.” Arthur said the meal was the best she’d had at UChicago, but Betsey “definitely could have used some more salt.”
Of course, not all students were thrilled at the dining hall’s choice of Fourth Meal snack. Fourth year Calvin Jacobs was displeased with Bon Appetit’s decision. “I just don’t think it’s fair to serve such a limited number of ducklings. Everyone should get to try the tender flesh of the newly born!” Jacobs had hurried to Baker as soon as word got out about the unusual sampling, but by the time he managed to swipe into the dining hall, only feathers were left on the plate. Jacobs did manage to sneak a bite from a friend’s plate and rated the meal very favorably.
At press time, UCPD was still investigating bizarre quacking noises heard coming from North Campus shortly before 8:45pm. UCPD is also investigating an unrelated incident at Botany Pond, in which masked subjects were seen trapping small birds with nets and cackling manically. If you have any information in either of these cases, the Shady Dealer urges you to contact UCPD immediately.