BlackBean Burger Club
When you think of the classic American food, you probably think of a hamburger. But with a growing vegetarian population, the classic American burger has taken on a variety of forms. That’s where the black bean burger comes in; it’s a meatless burger substitute that has become one of the main staples in the diets of vegetarian and vegan students alike at Washington University. This dietary takeover, while delicious in its own right, should not be the only option day after day for those who choose to follow the herbivore path. At least that is the stance taken by the recently founded group, the BlackBean Burger Club (BBC).
Created last year by sophomore Rebecca Hunter, the BBC is an interest group that advocates for students with dietary restrictions, primarily vegans and vegetarians. While unique in the sense that most communication within the club occurs on Facebook instead of in meetings, the club does host numerous events for its members, centered on food and culinary education.
“[The club] just had an event where we had a chef’s table [at the Village],” Hunter said. “We were sitting in the back of the Village kitchen, and we were having dinner, where the chefs made different dishes that we tried out, and they talked to us about what we thought.”
The informal conversation between the BBC and Wash. U.’s chefs is an essential part of the club’s mission, which is to bring more healthy eating options, especially those that are meat-free, to campus. The main purpose of the club is to allow members to make comments and suggestions about the eating arrangements offered to Hunter.
She then takes these comments to available chefs, or more specifically to Nadeem Siddiqui, the resident district manager for Bon Appétit.
“A lot of it is people will post quotes on the [Facebook] wall, or they’ll shoot me an e-mail and say, ‘Oh, I have a suggestion.’ I’ll give it to Nadeem Siddiqui and say, ‘We have these awesome ideas…could we see more of this?’” Hunter said.
The dining staff takes these suggestions seriously, Hunter said, and many have already been implemented, such as an increase in the offerings of potatoes and green vegetables. Such changes are good for everybody wishing to partake in a healthier diet, which is just what the club works toward. In addition, Hunter emphasized that “meat eaters” are indeed welcome to join the club if they have an interest.
“We really try to appeal to everybody. We don’t preach either way—be what you want to be,” Hunter said. “If you have more options, the better it is for everyone. We just want people to be able to eat, enjoy their food and be happy and healthy.”
Referring to the educational aspect of the BBC’s events, Hunter said, “We want people to learn how to feed themselves after college if they want to continue being healthy. It’s also an aspect of ‘You are a vegetarian, now what do you do?’”
Recipe options, what to buy food-wise at the grocery store, and how one can explore the options on campus and make changes are all topics addressed by the interest group.
If you are interested in joining, simply look up “BlackBean Burger Club” on Facebook, where you will find the group’s main page.
“The main goal [of the club] is that there are no hungry vegetarians on campus and that everyone else is eating healthy as well,” Hunter said. “We’ll get there.”