Campus dining cookbook brings flavor to WU

For the past few years, Waynesburg University has planned on writing a cookbook for on-campus dining. According to Lesley Davis, director of dining services, the idea was conceived before Douglas G. Lee took over as president of the university.

“Four years ago, when President Lee was about to step into his president position, he started to mention to our former food service director that we should write a cookbook because everything we’ve done he enjoys so very much,” Davis said.

This year, Waynesburg became the first university to have a cookbook specifically for on-campus dining options.

Davis said that while there are other college cookbooks out there, they focus more on restaurants in the area and not on-campus dining. Waynesburg plans on handing out the book to guests and visitors as well as the facility and staff.

The cookbook mainly emphasizes two different things, according to Davis.

“[It focuses on] a lot of the presidential catering that we do for special guests and special events, and also some of the student’s likes,” Davis said. “So, it’s kind of a mixture both of what we have served here in the dining hall or to special events for Mr. Lee and his wife.”

According to Davis, the initial plans for how to use the book were uncertain.

“We weren’t really sure on what they were going to do with the cookbook,”
Davis said. “It was just something [that came] because
President Lee every year would [comment about writing a cookbook].”

Davis said that the president sees the cookbook as a point of pride for the university.

“When it came down to us finishing the book, as far as we knew, [Lee] didn’t know what the school was going to do with it. We just know that the president had always wanted it,” Davis said. “It was kind of that he wanted to use this as a gift to visiting students, to special guests. This is probably the first university cookbook developed out there, and he’s very proud of that.”

Some items in the cookbook include breakfast foods, soups and salads, appetizers, entre sides
and desserts.

Also included are “seasons harvest,” which consists of base plants, rice beans, vegan, gluten free and dairy free food.

Davis said that “seasons harvest” is a favorite of Lee’s, as well as Provost Dana Baer.

If flipped naturally, the cookbook flips right to the “Charter Day Chicken,” which is served to celebrate the birth of the university.  The cookbook also has four two-minute instructional videos on “Charter Day Chicken,” Wedding soup, Hajalpiono Deviled Eggs and Pumpkin Gobs.

Davis said that she was grateful for the people that helped her with the process.

“My management team and my staff, even if they weren’t in the complete development of the book, they’ve all had a hand in working with these recipes at one point in time,” Davis said. “So, they all need a big shout out in helping to be a part of this.”

Although Davis is not sure if other universities are following Waynesburg’s model, she wouldn’t be surprised if it happens.

“Dining Service Management companies are always in that competition against each other,” Davis said. “We’re all biding to get into a school, to be at a school, to get the one-up hand that somebody hasn’t got to yet. I’m sure it will be out, especially if it hits the Food Service Director Magazine and Stuff Magazine, they’ll be like, ‘Look what this school did. We should follow in those footsteps.’”