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Step Aside, Girl Dinner; It’s Time for ‘Nova Dinner

Villanovans+utilize+dining+halls+to+make+random+yet+satisfying+meals%2C+similar+to+the+trend+%E2%80%9CGirl+Dinner.%E2%80%9D
Bella Irwin/Villanovan Photography
Villanovans utilize dining halls to make random yet satisfying meals, similar to the trend “Girl Dinner.”

Tacos and a plastic cup of ice cream. This is my meal. I call it “Girl Dinner.” No, wait. I call it “‘Nova Dinner.” The concept of “Girl Dinner” (an array of foods that can otherwise be described as a chaotic plate of various foods) originated on TikTok over the summer. However, Villanova has had its own form of “Girl Dinner” for years.  

Most people would not argue that the food Villanova’s dining halls offer is not bad, but sometimes the combinations of food one gets is a little laughable. Students select from the prepared food based on what looks best to them, and oftentimes what they end up getting is a plate of food that people would never think of putting together. Sometimes this results in a perfectly acceptable meal of pizza and a side salad, but it could also end up as a plate of lobster orzo, veggie fried rice and a piece of cake.  

The dining halls offer a variety of food for each meal. Maybe it is the variety itself that causes the problem. If a student first sees baked ziti but notices that their friend got stir fry, they feel envious of the plate next to them. This is how someone ends up with a plate of pasta covered in teriyaki sauce and mushrooms: a “‘Nova Dinner.”  

For many students, being in college is the first time they are responsible for feeding themselves 21 meals a week. As much as college students would like to say they are mature and responsible, at the end of the day, they are just overgrown children, grappling with their newfound sense of freedom. 

Students pile their plates with whatever shiny food catches their eye. 

“It’s like if a five-year-old could pick what to have for dinner,” freshman Anastasia Orel said, after having a bowl of yogurt topped with M&Ms from the ice cream sundae bar.  

She is not the only student who grouped one food with toppings meant for a completely different option. Freshman Sophia Park claimed that one of her favorite dining hall meals is fries topped with what are typically salad bar ingredients. 

Sometimes, though, the best “Girl Dinners” are just ingredients or toppings. In the outside world, this ingredient dinner might manifest in carrots, cheese and cottage cheese, but at Villanova, it takes a different shape. 

Student athlete Rachel Patrykus has to eat a lot of protein for lifting, so her ingredient dinners are occasionally a plate packed with plain chicken or tofu. Her dinner takes a turn when it is time for dessert, and she makes the choice of a bowl of chocolate chips to combat the protein she just consumed. This is the epitome of an ingredient dinner. 

The late-night option offered at certain dining halls also makes for what can only be described as a five-star “Girl Dinner.” Late Night offers an assortment of comfort foods available for take-out for students’ convenience. Late Night dinner can be utilized by students who have commitments during dining hours or need fuel in order to study all night. 

Late Night dinners can also lead to students devouring a box of chicken tenders and mac and cheese while watching Pretty Little Liars on a Friday night (not speaking from personal experience). Regardless of the situation, Villanova Late Night is just another example of how Villanova exemplifies “Girl Dinner.”  

Whether you call it “Girl Dinner” or “‘Nova Dinner,” one truth shines through: it is a comfort that many people are able to find in food. Villanova offers a variety of food that will satisfy just about any student. Eating a plate of food that might look weird to one person but makes another happy is something that makes eating meals satisfying in more than one way. “Girl Dinner” is something very personal and intimate, as it is something that can make both your stomach and heart happy and nobody else’s opinion on it matters. I am grateful for “‘Nova Dinner,” and I cannot wait for my next chaotic meal that feeds both my body and soul. 

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