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Cooking up some gratitude

April 4, 2011

By Adam Neal, Guest Contributor

"You might be surprised to learn that while you enjoy complaining now, you will one day look back on this time as ‘the good ole days...’

I would like to offer an alternative, and perhaps more worldly, view on the recent editorial piece about the poor quality of the food services at Young Harris.  I, for one, am puzzled and rather exhausted by the grumbling dissent of YHC students over the perceived lack of satisfying meals offered by the cafeteria.

Don’t misunderstand; I was a college student once.  I recognize how “en vogue” it can be to complain en masse about cafeteria style dining and bemoan the apparent necessity to pursue food off campus at restaurants.  I was there once as well, and believe me when I say that the cafeteria when I was in college pales in comparison to YHC’s.

However, after being “liberated” from the cafeteria my junior year of college and living in an apartment, I thought it was going to be great.  I could cook my own food, what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted.  There was only one problem: that meant that I actually had to cook.

It isn’t that I don’t like to cook, I do.  Rather, the issue is that in order to cook, many things have to occur: grocery runs, cleaning pots and pans, doing dishes, keeping up with the labors of a working kitchen, taking the time to cook and so on. Even further, while the meal plans always seemed high, at least they weren’t actively coming out of my pocket, which the grocery runs were.

You might be surprised to learn that while you enjoy complaining now, you will one day look back on this time as ‘the good ole days’ when food was cooked for you, dishes were taken care of, and you didn’t have to keep a grocery list to make sure that you had more than just ramen to eat.

When I started teaching at YHC, I was incredibly grateful for the cafeteria, and my gratitude has only grown with the change of management under Sodexo.

Whenever I eat in the cafeteria, I can always find something not only worth eating, but often truly satisfying and flavorful. I am frankly disappointed in the sentiments of the previous submission that “the food should be cooked thoroughly… and tastefully prepared” which I find to be supremely sophomoric and inconsistent with my experience.

While I may come across a dish from time to time that I am personally not very interested in, I can usually discern this before putting it on my plate, and regardless there is always something else satisfying to be found.

So, the next time that you are eating a piece of meatloaf that doesn’t live up to the standards of “it’s not my grandmother’s meatloaf,” ask yourself how much time, money, and energy it would have taken to procure said meatloaf on your own, not to mention all the extra work required such as making grocery runs, cleaning up, doing dishes, and so forth.

My advice, dearest students: enjoy it while you have it.

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