It’s no secret that Wednesdays in the W.G. Pearson Cafeteria are dedicated to a soulful lunch.
At N.C. Central University, and practically every other historically black college or university, the cafeteria serves soul food such as fried chicken, mashed potatoes, rice and gravy, collard greens and cornbread every Wednesday.
“Wednesdays are the most hectic and my least favorite,” said chef Derrick McCorkle, who has worked at NCCU for four years.
McCorkle estimates that, on average, more than 2,600 people come through the cafeteria on Wednesdays. To feed that many people, he said it takes about 78 cases of chicken, with 144 pieces per case.
While the food is what seems to draw people in, Chicken Wednesdays are no longer just about, well, chicken. Now, many students anticipate the social interaction almost as much as the cuisine. Over the years, it’s become more of a fashion show and a meeting ground for students.
“I dress to impress every day but of course I spice it up on Wednesdays,” said nursing junior Keenan Farr.
But not all students get fancy for the fried feast.
“I mean when I was a freshman, I really didn’t know Chicken Wednesday was a popular event; I love the food, but I just do not understand why people change their wardrobe to go eat at the caf,” said criminal justice sophomore Alexis Knight.
No matter which school of thought you identify with (dressy vs. casual), most students agree that Chicken Wednesdays isn’t something to miss. Unfortunately, that’s been a problem for some.
Many staff and students miss out on the homestyle meal and (optional) fashion show of the week because of classes, work and other obligations.
“I like Chicken Wednesday but I feel as if it should be served all day and not just during lunch because not everyone is able to go to the cafe during lunch,” mass communication freshman Quishauna McDougle said.
McDougle said she plans to bring her idea of extending the hours of Chicken Wednesdays to NCCU Dining Services.
Between the food, fashion and fellowship, Chicken Wednesdays represent one of the best qualities of HBCUs and colleges in general: social interaction.
“I enjoy coming here for the food and the people,” said Farr. “Keep it going!”
Opinion by Kyndai Bridgers