‘Kapsalon Committee’ Marie Curie is 2,222 days old
The physics students of the Marie Curie student association are so fond of snacks that they have a special committee which is responsible for ordering them. Their first official order from Het Eethuis in Bottendaal was 2,222 days ago.
‘We usually just celebrate the anniversary, but we were too late for that this year. So we’re celebrating the 2,222nd day,’ explains committee member Bart Zonneveld. By way of celebration, the committee is organising a competition: the person who submits the lowest ‘natural positive number’ which has only been guessed once, wins a kapsalon*. So numbers such as π, i of -5 are not allowed. The winning number: three.
The weekly order of this ‘Lijcie’ (the name given to the committee which orders the food, ed.) has grown over six years to become a permanent ritual. Students send an email to the Lijcie with their order which is then added to the main food list. A special program incorporates all those orders into a complete list with all the prices.
Each member of the committee has a title, named after the parts of a fraction comparison: the numerator counts the money, the denominator lists the food over the telephone, the divisor shares out the food, the solution solves problems and the remainder does the remainder. ‘I’m the solution,’ Nora Locht calls out.
The menu, hanging on the wall on an A0 sheet, is written in secret physics language. If a Pizza Pollo is ‘P’, a Pizza Vegetaria is ‘P – kip + olives + artichoke. Pizza is reduced to πz2a. ‘You mustn’t take it all too seriously,’ says Locht. ‘We’re not even officially a real committee.’
Three thousand kilos of snacks
The numerator then phones Het Eethuis in Bottendaal, their regular supplier for the last six years. ‘This is the Large Green Building’ is how the phone call always starts. ‘That way, they know immediately who it is,’ says Zonneveld. The committee members are by now so well-known at The Eethuis, that they no longer have to pay for their own orders.
Today’s list of snacks comes to 250 euros. ‘The record is around 350 euros,’ says Locht. ‘The members never pay exactly what it says on the list and the amount Het Eethuis charges is also different every time.’ For that reason, Locht has a reserve with which to compensate the differences. ‘There’s twenty euros in there now, mostly in foreign currency.’
And if the money isn’t right now and then, Het Eethuis doesn’t make a problem of it anymore. Marie Curie orders around 5,000 euros worth of food a year. Since the society was established in 2013, that comes to about three thousand kilos in weight.
Sacrificing your food
At half past seven, the phone rings in the Marie Curie room. ‘Phone!’ shouts Zonneveld. The noise level diminishes slightly to allow him to hear what’s being said at the other end of the line, but he already knows. He walks outside, together with Locht and fellow committee member Kees van Kempen, where a white delivery van from Het Eethuis is waiting.
They return shortly afterwards with three large boxes of food and a pizza. There’s an immediate rush for the bar. Often, the order is not quite complete and anyone who arrives last has to wait until Het Eethuis comes back a second time. ‘Sometimes you have to sacrifice your food as a committee member,’ says Zonneveld.
After the rush, about forty people are sitting on the couch with greasy snacks. Bram van Uden, founding member of the Lijcie, has almost finished his kapsalon. ‘Home-delivery kapsalon is never as good as fresh, but this one is definitely the tastiest.’
* The greasy Dutch take-away snack known as a kapsalon, which is Dutch for hairdressing salon, consists of chips topped with shawarma meat, melted cheese and lettuce.