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Editor Goes Vegetarian For a Week: RC Dining Options Cater To Special Diets

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Written by Aeryn McMurtry

RC prides itself on keeping an inclusive and healthy menu for students with various food allergies or personal diet habits. As a student who does not have any of these restrictions, my day to day eating in Commons or Cavern is easy and reliable; I know that they will always have something that I can eat, and if any of the entrees don’t satisfy me, the alternative options (pizza and pasta bar, sandwich station, salad bar etc.) are available for me.

Because I have no sort of restrictions, I decided to see how hard it would be to restrict myself and not eat any sort of meat or meat-included dish for a week.

Overall, the week wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. As I said before, Commons usually has an alternative for people who don’t eat the main dish. On tendies day, for example, I had the Morningstar chicken nuggets. On Thursday when the special item was a Ramen noodle bowl, they had an option that was vegetables instead of pork served in vegetable broth instead of meat stock. The macaroni bake came in both meat and veggie form. All of these were well and good, thought I did notice that items like the Superfoods salad and the Whole Wheat Pasta Pomodoro toss were only served at lunch. My only comment is that these items come irregularly to lunch and can’t be counted on to always be there, much like the ever popular veggie lo mein and smoothie weeks.

The biggest issue I had with this experiment was with Cavern. I have a late night class twice a week and tend to go to Cavern after that for dinner, and both times I went, I was unsatisfied with the vegetarian options. I went on Monday night and they were out of the large salads. I was offered two side salads to make up for it, but decided against those in favor of the two Uncrustables sandwiches that count as an entree. I went to Cavern two other times that week, and got a hummus and pretzels cup as my entree both times. The problem with that is you only get one hummus cup and two sides. I wasn’t nearly full by the time I had finished my meal. It felt more like snacking than eating a full healthy meal. Overall, I was unimpressed with the options available at Cavern for vegetarians. They do have a veggie wrap, but you can’t customize it they same way you can a regular wrap.

The most useful part of this experiment was the buffet style that Commons uses to serve food. Being able to pick what I didn’t want made assembling a meatless but healthy plate much easier. One example of the helpfulness of this is with Chicken Alfredo day. Because all of the different parts are separated, it was easy to get a plate of alfredo without having to pick around the chicken.

Experienced vegetarians might be able to find more tricks and create good meals that work for them using RCs dining options, but coming in as a newbie, this experience was more challenging than I thought it would be. My advice to others thinking about switching up is to take the time to plan out meals by looking at the Commons menu, and to get ready to eat a lot of the same thing.

The Swipe Out: Let’s Get This Bread

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Written by Shamira James

Sometimes when things fall flat, it’s good to have a backup plan. You know: the backup plan, the fallback, the next best thing, the anything-but-plan-a. Not only is it a valuable life lesson, but it’s a good way to navigate through life.

When the commons main dish isn’t looking too hot but you’ve eaten cavern way too many times this week, don’t worry. You’re not doomed to eating whatever braised meat is the option tonight; you got options kids.

The first option is the pizza station. It’s easy and consistent, one cheese pizza, one pepperoni pizza and one speciality pizza that may or may not be whatever was for dinner the night before. Sometimes they even switch it up throw in a flatbread and things go from okay to gourmet! There’s cereal station, which always holds a special place in my heart. Cereal is quite literally the most underrated thing to eat. You never really realize the joy it brings you until your bowl-to-face slurping milk and rocking that milk mustache.There’s the salad station for all the skinnty queens and all my thicc legends when we wanna see how the other half lives. Don’t listen to people when they say ‘“it’s not a salad if your drown it ranch!”. If it’s got the greens, that’s good for me. Then finally, we have the end all be all of stations, the alpha and omega, the megalodon of the sea and of commons – THE SANDWICH STATION. Of course, while I love a good sammich, there are some grievances I have with our beloved haven of secondary options.

First off, whenever I hunker down to make a good cold cut for myself the last thing I want to see in the shiny red plastic bowl to my left are tortilla chips. Whenever, I look over and see those spotted things my heart aches. Don’t get me wrong, when the time and place is right. I love them – but that’s for queso, spinach dip or salsa, NOT SANDWICHES.

Next, who do I have to ask for refrigerated mayonnaise? Like, am I experiencing the worst Mandela Effect  or isn’t mayo supposed to be kept in the fridge? That’s rhetorical, of course it is. Instead, we get this weird color-coded pump box of mayo and it’s warm and creamy and BLEH – my stomach is curling just thinking about it.

Also, not to sound whiny (while I continue to whine) but it’s literally in the most inconvenient location. On any given day, you have to press your pelvis against the bar to let others pass by. Pepper in the fact that no one uses manners anymore, it can truly be a nightmare for any jaded senior who will HONEST TO GOD STRONG ARM THE NEXT PERSON WHO DOESN’T SAY EXCUSE I SWEAR.

But, what’s a girl to do? Beggars can’t be choosers and I do appreciate that we have so many options. If all we had were whatever was served on the steam tables every night, there’d be some night i’d be eating the good ol’ “air pie and nothin’ chops” – Mama James. So here’s me on my soapbox preaching to the masses once again, remember to be grateful.

P.S. Is there a way to get Wonder Bread? It’s truly the superior sandwich bread.

Humans of RC: Her Name in Lights, Tess Weidenkopf

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Written by Shamira James

Tess Weidenkopf is a freshman at RC. She’s double majoring in Theater and Chemistry and is just one of the few talented faces that will be making her dramatic debut in Olin Hall from Nov. 14-17 when Theatre RC performs Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town”.

“I read the play in high school and didn’t like it that much. I took a directing class and had to do a really in-depth study of it, and I just found it kind of boring and didn’t really get the meaning of it. But looking at it from it from an acting point of view, I got to understand how these characters, even though they’re so simple, there is a beauty in that simplicity. So as far as prepping went, it was nerve wracking. You have to prepare days in advance and get familiar with the character you want. You have to start developing the character in your head just to show that you relate to this character. So you go on and do the usual cold readings of scenes then you wait for callbacks. In high school callbacks were never a definite thing, it was a ‘come back and we’ll see what happens’ but here they are a lot more definite, so getting one was a big deal for me because I didn’t even think I would get a part. In high school theater, there were smaller and more tight knit groups, meaning you always knew who was going to audition but here there were so many people auditioning. It was a lot more intimidating than I was prepared for. I wasn’t hesitant to get involved because I’m not a very hesitant person, but seeing all these other talented people was a bit of a shock for me.

“My mom’s side is all very musically driven. They used to live in New York so my grandfather would take the train to the city and see all these plays. He got to see all these classic shows with the original cast. He got to see Evita, Annie and even got to see Mandy Patinkin which I still think is amazing. Growing up she would always play music from Les Mis and that was the first musical I had memorized at the age of four, then Cats at nine, then Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at 12.

“Then my dad was really into hockey.  It was his favorite sport and he wanted all of his kids to share that passion with him. So my four brothers and I all played and that was my original passion. I got into it because I learned how to ice skate when I was seven, and everything seems to fall into place. But I started to lean towards theater and drama and my parents always pushed me to follow my dreams and go with my heart. So now here at Roanoke I can do both: I play with the club hockey team and I’m doing drama in Olin, it’s a dream!

“My parents brought me up on the idea that that no one was ever going to hand you something. I think that’s a silly way to go through life. If you want something you have to go out and get it and that means hard work. That shouldn’t drive people away but instead give them more drive and passion to do the things they want to do. That was how I came into my freshman year. I knew that no one was going to come up to me and beg me to do something, I had to count on my own passion to go out and do these things. People are very hesitant to go out and explore and get involved, but I think as long as you know there are opportunities out there for you as long as you have ambition and drive, you can do anything.”

Maroons Talk Back(ety-Ack)

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Written by Shamira James

It’s the Twilight Zone and nothing is the same, how are you different?

Jessi Louros, sophomore, A Baller “I wish I was a little bit taller.”

Stephen Adams, sophomore, Loud and Proud, “I’d be quiet, give people a break for once!”

Hannah Richardson, senior, Energetic Should Be Her Middle Name,  “I’d want curly hair”

Philip Bagshaw, sophomore, Newest Olin Hall resident, “…I’d be straight, why not?”

Highway to the Twilight Zone

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Written by Shamira James

What if one day you woke up and everything was just a little different? There are some days where admittedly something feels off – a Monday feeling a Friday, you walk across campus and literally see no one or maybe everyone is just acting a little weird because they’ve been replaced by emotionless clones a la the 1956 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” If that reference is over your head, grasp this: let’s see how RC would look in the Twilight Zone.

Location, Location, Location – Sure, in the “ordinary world” RC is nestled in the comfortable and cozy town of Salem, where mountains stretch as far as the eyes can see. But what if it wasn’t. What if one day you woke up and and could see the Roanoke star from your dorm window? Yes, in this alternate universe, RC is smack-dab in the middle of downtown Roanoke, meaning our closed little campus would be spread out amongst the city, maybe even involving taking a shuttle to class. R.I.P. to all you people who are always casually late to class.

Commóns – While Commons is nice and cozy with it’s warm colors, hot meals and lively crowds, what if every meal was a suit and tie affair? Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a fine violin playing while the only chicken meal you’ll be eating is chicken cordon bleu? Someone comes in and takes your order while you drink the freshest sparkling water. If you’re thinking about the Spongebob episode where they changed the Krusty Krab to impress Squilliam, then you got it right! Now, may I take your hat sir?

Hut Hut HIKE! – While lacrosse team acts as the football team we never had, there’d be no need for that in this twilight zone. RC would have a football team and they’d be incredible. We’d have homecomings, an out-of-this-world marching band that knew how to play “In My Feelings” and tailgates that you can only really experience through being there because no story would do it justice.

24 Hours AND Delivery – In this flipped script scenario, you won’t have to lay in bed at 4 a.m., while the growling of your stomach rocks you to sleep when no one will take you to get food. Just roll over, grab your phone and make a phone call that’ll count. Having pizza delivered past 2 a.m. would be heaven on Earth, and could also make for the Freshman 15 to never truly leave.

Switch it up on ‘em – Of course in a Twilight Zone, some of the people you know would be different, too. Take the smart, sciencey-type Susana Londoño, who is usually tucked away in a lab somewhere. In this alternate universe she said she would be a Communications major: “In my other life, I would have thought this was out of my comfort zone and not a strong suit of mine, but now I’m totally ready to analyze Bill Clinton’s apology for effective rhetorical techniques!”