Whilst gobbling down my food in the imposing surroundings of Magdalen Hall, I have a moment of sudden revelation. My arse may well be touching the most expensive thing it has, or perhaps as an arts student, will ever be in contact with. At £999 per chair, I think it’s a little impolite to try and snaffle one into my rucksack, although the challenge does prove enticing.
After three years at Oxford, sneaking out college water bottles and other crested miscellaneous merchandise has become child’s play, a second nature. Magdalen may be rich, but I think even they would object to losing one of their snazzy new chairs supposedly made for the ages, no matter how much it would complement my coffee table.
The food, however, was palatable. I’m told that coming on a Tuesday is the best shout. Magdalen’s Tuesday ‘international’ lunch is supposed to be the best the College can offer. I’m still not sure what cod plaki is, even after eating it, but it was tasty. It was light and fresh, but had that famed college flavouring known all around Oxford of ‘misc. spices’. I’m not quite sure what was Greek about it other than the label.
Magdalen operates a sort of main pick and mix, somewhat gloriously called ‘the special’. Alright, we get it, you have a tower and more cloisters than you can shake a stick at – you don’t have to stand out any more. The special option did mean I could also get to taste what once was a pepper, and was now a dry husk with some overbaked cous cous and cheese. I wish I hadn’t, no matter how cheap their food is.
The meal’s saving grace was by far the roast potatoes. Having watched endless batches swirl in grease before being plonked half-cooked onto my plate in various other colleges, these were manna to me after roastie deprivation. A certain editor piled them so high on his plate even the sin of his greasy moussaka was completely hidden. Magdalen’s food was nothing like the tempting bites of fine clunches past, recorded aeons ago in their grand food diary pretentiously on display at the end of the hall. But it was alright.