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Food for thought

Students complain often about DC food, but is the source of those complaints our attitudes rather than the food?

By Kaleigh Zierk | Echo

Three meals a day and nine different food stations in buffet style is nothing to complain about, right? Wrong. At any given time you may hear a Taylor student saying, “There’s nothing to eat!” It would be prideful and dishonest of me to say that phrase has never left my mouth, and perhaps pride was also the source of those words.

Taylor’s dining commons provides many meal options for students to choose from. Not only are there nine distinct “stations,” but extra equipment like microwaves and a panini grill exist for students to use freely, along with seasonings and condiments.

In just three years, the DC has added, restructured and rearranged stations to give students a satisfying dining experience. For example, gluten- and dairy-free meals and desserts are more accessible for students whose diets are limited. For those with no dietary restrictions, different meals are offered each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with delicious desserts. Simple substitutions such as peanut butter and jelly, bagels, salads and cereal are always available, too.

So what is there to complain about? Obviously there is plenty of food to feed the entire student body, and the variety changes from meal to meal. We take this luxury for granted. As Taylor is a private university, most students come from—at least—middle-class homes where putting food on the table is never, or rarely, an issue. Many Taylor students, including myself, are accustomed to home-cooked meals made to our liking. Eating in the Taylor dining commons might be considered a step down from our lavish meals at home, but for the majority of people in the world, the Taylor dining commons is heaven.

In 2011, the hunger-relief charity Feeding America reported hunger and poverty statistics in the U.S. Over 50 million Americans lived in food-insecure households, including 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children. Taylor has clubs and programs in charge of making the student body aware of social issues and encouraging action, but how can we even begin to help the hungry when we take for granted the food given to us?

However, a Taylor alumna provides a counterargument. Hannah McMullen (’13) agreed that complaining about the food isn’t necessarily right, but it is difficult to be satisfied when the quality of food does not measure up to the amount students pay for meals.

“It’s not so much the inherent quality, it’s how much we are paying for the quality,” McMullen said. “It’s the fact that the school basically forces us to accept the price and quality of the DC. We have to pay a lot, and we can’t escape from that option.”

While this stance is understandable, we must remember that God called us to attend Taylor. He gave us this food in the first place and the means to afford it.

This brings about another bothersome aspect of complaining about the DC. These complaints are coming from the mouths of Christians. Do we realize we are complaining about the food God has graciously blessed us with? Could this even point to a bigger problem, such as greed? I think so.

We should humble ourselves by considering all we have as a gift from God. We have nothing by our own means. God has provided Taylor students with food in the DC, and as his children, we should be grateful. He has also given us creative minds. If nothing seems appealing at dinner, be creative! Use the food offered to make a new creation.

Complaining won’t change the dining commons situation, but the attitude of our hearts will change the way in which we perceive our food.

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