Science - June 4, 2009

DINING AT DE BONGERD

A delicious dish of noodles or macaroni with all the trimmings for just 3.75 euros. This has been on offer at Wageningen’s De Bongerd sports centre for a month now. It was an idea of John Schouten’s – an enthusiastic and creative man who tends the bar at De Bongerd day in day out.

A good deal: a Bongerd meal.
‘My working day begins at five in the afternoon’, says Schouten. ‘At that time the canteen is often empty and there is nothing for me to do. Because I like to keep busy, I came up with the idea of providing meals for students. I’m hoping to breathe new life into the canteen in the early evening.’ And Schouten carefully pricks the lid of the packaging before putting a frozen portion of macaroni in the microwave.

‘Now that most of the canteens have closed, I would like to give students a chance to buy a good meal that’s fast and cheap. At the moment I’m only offering two choices, but if it goes well, I’d like to broaden the menu after the summer holiday.’ After five minutes, John takes the macaroni out of the microwave and spoons it onto a white plate. It looks a bit frugal at first, but John has found a solution to that – with some sauce, cheese and slices of cucumber he transforms the meagre pile of pasta into a tempting-looking meal that he proceeds to serve with a fork and spoon. The customer won’t need a knife, as John has already cut up the food. ‘Made with love’, he says and looks as if he means it.

A student who has just been playing knotsbal is served his meal on a sunny terrace with a view of aerobics girls working up a sweat. ‘I’m very curious’, he says before taking his first mouthful. ‘A bit fatty, but it tastes fine. The price-quality ratio is perfect!’

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