As my last contribution to the Missouri Miner, I would like to talk about food. I have learned many things about food and my abilities to cook and choose wisely on a take out menu in the last several years. While being at Missouri S&T, I have learned that free food is a serious motivator for all university students. Personally, I have learned that I scream with delight over small things like: a Walmart or ALDI gift card for a birthday; a Cheesy Gordita Crunch in exchange for helping a friend out; and lastly, when you as your special someone to call in your classic Lucky House order of coconut shrimp without even questioning it, even after they made you dinner and you were still hungry. All in all, what it comes down to is that due to the lack of affordable and time economical healthy food, most students end up eating whatever free food they can get their hands on and it is the small things that bring you joy.
Something that I learned while working at the Phonathon as a student caller - from various phone calls from alumni ranging from the 70’s to the 90’s - was that before Havener Center was even thought about being built, students were apart of Student Unions or rented rooms from local people. Student Unions used to be buildings where students would cook for students. This provided cheaply made food that everyone would take part in providing for each other. The students that were able to live with local families had it even better because sometimes they would be provided meals at that home by the caretaker. The alumni that I would talk to at the Phonathon loved telling stories about how it was much more affordable to live and be a student during their years at S&T. It was not easy, but according to them, it was slightly easier to get their hands on a healthy and quick meal than it is for students today.
Roughly around the same time that I was working at the Phonathon, I was in my Ramen Noodle and Siracha phase. It was the easiest and most hipster thing I did with my food while at college. Of course, once I had saved up some cash from working at the Phonathon, I was able to eat at Sawadee Thai and realize my Ramen Noodle concoction was like eating dirt compared to drunken noodles! Do I sometimes spread my wings and eat the green curry? Yes, but you cannot go wrong with drunken noodles and spring rolls.
Since I have already referenced the famous Lucky House and Sawadee Thai, I have to continue and talk about all the sushi options around town! If you come from a small town in the middle of the North American continent, it is extremely possible you have never had sushi before (or you have and it was a terrible experience because it was all rancid). If you come from a city and still didn’t experience sushi, well that sucks. Rolla is a special place where you have not one, not two, but three sushi options! (four if you include the ones at the grocery stores….) Take my word for it, all three are amazing!
When having three sushi restaurants was not enough for the expanding ethnic food demand - an almost untapped market by most standards - Rolla was lucky to have The Purest Food Market roll into town. The owners and employees are the wonderful people, who have fresh bread every Thursday! It is also where I got my first frozen package of beef samosas and I was very happy with the quality. It is not the same as when I get them fresh from The Vine in St. Louis, but that is not in Rolla, so it does not necessarily count.
Lastly, the Havener mini chronicles:
My freshmen year, everyone knew the red meat was questionable and the options to be chosen from were slim and sometimes quite unsatisfactory. The sandwich kiosk was one of the more popular selections along with the pasta. There was a hibachi kiosk that would use spaghetti noodles and tomatoes when you ordered lo mein. The worst thing is that, when I was a freshmen, I still thought I could carry over my vegetarian lifestyle from high school to college. I was wrong to the power of infinity. I think I only ate soggy salad and broccoli and cheddar soup for weeks. I was so bloated and nutrient deprived, mixed with living in the Quad (old student reference, SHOUT OUT TO MAC 2013/2014) that I was more or less the walking plague; thus the obvious solution was to party and eat Waffle House at 1AM.
Slowly, year after year, Havener has grown into something completely different since it’s 2005 erection, bearing resemblance to that of a larger university’s student union/student center. It started with having its first chain company, Einstein Bros. Bagels, to having a Chick-fil-A thirteen years later. Of course, I went to eat at Havener’s newest edition the first week they opened. A few hours later though, the classic Havener food poisoning hit me again. Did this stop me from going back to Chick-fil-A? OF COURSE NOT! I just make sure to only get the waffle fries!
Overall, do not give up on your food dreams, little ones. Study hard for those finals and do not forget that Taco Bell and Waffle House will never leave you - even if you cheat on them with Wendy’s every once in awhile. (No one can resist a ginger)