If You Think Your Server Hates You, Ill Help You Find the Reason Why.

By Hanna Ronish

I have been working in the front of the house of a restaurant for 11 years.  (bartending and serving for those who are not familiar with the restaurant lingo) and I LOVE my job.  It does not feel like work when I get to hangout with people who tell fascinating stories and (my favorite) mediocre dad jokes.  Although my day is filled with positivity and people who bring a smile to my face, there are the few who test my patience.  And let me tell you, all servers and bartenders have a few things in common.  You have definitely starred in the wait staff’s “server nightmares” if you have done the following:

Finish your entire plate of food and then criticize every last bit of it.  At this point, I have silently tallied up every single time I visited the table to make sure everything was running smoothly, only to come to the conclusion that you had more than enough opportunities to tell me about your dissatisfaction.  Too many people try to get free things in this world.  Just don’t do that.

Customer- (never having met this customer before) “Make me something good.”

Bartender – **Face palm.

Complain about the temperature of the restaurant/the volume of the music.  Did someone’s mom forget to teach you to bring a jacket wherever you go?  Servers are on their feet and walking more miles in one 5 hour shift, than most people will in a week.  We cannot function properly if it is 80 degrees in the building.  If we cannot function, we cannot serve you, you will starve. End of story. (Studies show people eat less when they are hot. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the owner.)

Speaking of…

“I know the owner.”  Yeah… you and everyone else.  If you think that taking a class 20 years ago with the guy who writes my paycheck is going to get you a free drink, think again.  He can fire me.

Order a drink but ask your bartender to present it in a different glass than the norm.  If you are not comfortable enough with your sexuality to drink rose out of a wine glass or a lemon drop out of a sugared martini glass then let me give you a quick tip, order a beer like a real man and drink it out of the tough guy, pint glass it comes in.

Sitting at the ONLY dirty table when there are clean, fully set tables in every direction around you. For the love of God, just don’t do this.

It’s not a Cuba Libre, it’s a Rum and Coke.  I don’t know who came up with the pet names for drinks but let’s skip that step and just call a vodka cranberry with a lime a “Vodka cranberry with a lime.” Not a Cape Cod. **Insert dramatic eye roll

Two words. Hot. Tea.  Its not your fault if you like this tasteless drink, just know that as your server is juggling the lemons, honey, spoon, extra piping hot water, assortment of tea flavors, sweetener and hatred, they have probably started fantasizing your funeral.

Above all else…

Treat your server like a human who has feelings.  Waiters and waitresses don’t just talk to hear themselves talk.  When approaching a table and asking the question, “Good morning everyone, how are you doing?” THE. MOST. Disrespectful (and far too common) answer any server will cringe over is “Coffee with cream.”  (at this point I’m assuming you are going to be bitter and unenjoyable the entire visit. Just like coffee is to me)

This should go without saying, but any snapping, whistling, aggressive waving motions, clapping, unnecessary interrupting, or calls from across the bar or restaurant should just be illegal.  We are servers, not servants.  When this behavior arises, we are more inclined to walk the other direction than to tend politely to your needs.  If your waitress walks up to the table with a smile after you have whistled or snapped at her, she has perfected the poker face, that smile was not genuine.

The Joy of Cooking

Turner Hruby

When I was younger, I didn’t have many aspirations other than being a superhero. Not surprisingly, being a kid meant that future dreams were outlandish and impractical. Even throughout highschool, I had no idea where I was going to college and even less of what I was going to do. My classmates had their futres tenatively in order, or at least a clue of what to begin with, and I was still slumped.

As most Missoula teenagers, I stuck with the easiest choice and decided to stay in town for college. With so many degree choices, I took a chance on myself and my education and decided to enroll in the culinary program at the COT. With just a basic knowledge of the culinary arts and a lump in my chest being around people twice my age with much more experience than me, I stepped into a path that I knew was going to be exciting and equally challenging.

I learned a great deal in just a year under Thomas Campbell and came to a stron understanding that my newly learned appreciation for ccooking wasn’t in a professional kitchen. I transferred to the main campus and enrolled for Marketing, knowing that I enjoyed being in a kitchen surrounded by friends and family, and not customers, where my interest for food became a passion.

  • Creativity

Watching and learning from many chefs whether it be from television, online shows, cookbooks, or travel writing, I grew to understand the depth and complexity that cooking can offer. So many people restrict themselves without knowing it, underselling themselves to their own abilities. Much of cooking isn’t very hard, it takes a great deal of organization (mise en place) and timing, the rest is getting to experiment and test yourself.

While to most people it may feel daunting being in a kitchen, it takes just a basic understanding of the principles until you can get to a position of comfortability. I encourage you to just take a look in your spice rack, spend a few more minutes at the supermarket looking at what produce and proteins are available. There’s an infinite amount of possibilities at your disposal and it just takes you stepping out of your comfort zone.

  • Making Mistakes

Part of the joy of cooking is learning from your own mishaps. I can’t count how many times I’ve planned dinners and expected shock and awe from my peers, only for myself to ruin just about every element. Overcooked steak, mushy vegetables, burnt sauces, dry/salty/bland/etc. It’s the one thing that shoulkd encourage you to try harder, because one of my biggest flaws is giving up on myself when I refuse to grow from my mistakes–like anything else, it takes practice.

  • Technical Aspects

When you begin to learn at your own pace, you’ll find yourself improving without even realizing it. Branching out and attempting different cuisines lends its own set of talents to other types of food. There are many interchangeable techniques from french cooking, to mexcian, indian, italian, asian, etc. that will make you mroe confident and ambitious. Along with the techniques you learn, you get better at timing, temping food, knowing flavor profiles, what goes well with another element, should the dishes have complementary or contrasting flavors?

You’ll find that the more you understand the basics, the more adventurous your palate will be. Not to mention how much smarter you will feel when you have a brilliant idea of what to add to a dish, something unexpected, but it feels that you’re making a complete dish.

  • Making Memories

All of the above I’ve mentioned are great reasons why cooking is such a fantastic hobby, and whether you like or not, you have to be mindful of what you put in your body. But ultimately the reason I left culinary only halfway through the program and why I love cooking more than anything perhaps other than music is because of the joy I recieve in making others happy. Being able to spend time with friends and family in a fun, casual setting and creating something that other people love is all the gratitude you need.

I’m not saying every meal has to be extraordinary, but so many meals can be simple and great with just a little effort. Being known amongst my friends as the “chef” of the group is something I take pride in, because as all people know, others have talents you don’t, and having something you excel in is rewarding and warm inside. You feel a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that you’ve done something you’re proud of. There’s not quite a feeling as spending time with your loved ones and sharing intimate memories, and something as simple as sharing a meal can bring people together in a way that makes you appreciate life and those close to you.

US Men’s Soccer: The View from Rock Bottom

US Men’s Soccer: The View From Rock Bottom

By: Trever Spoja

            Trinidad and Tobago. A Twin Island nation located in the Caribbean with a population of roughly 1.4 million people that 90% of U.S. citizens couldn’t even find on a map kept the United States Men’s National Team from qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. The USA, a nation of 325 million and widely considered the sports powerhouse of the world was unable to even draw the lowly Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National team who had only mustered 1 win in the CONCACAF group stage. The worst part of it all though? The majority of the United States weren’t even aware we had missed qualification for the World Cup until it arrived. Some of the population found themselves searching the World Cup schedule, frantically Googling when they could tune in to watch their country compete against the soccer powerhouses of the world and cheer for a miraculous upset. Many though, didn’t even care. They may have heard from a friend, or a sports Twitter account that U.S.M.N.T disgracefully didn’t qualify and didn’t bat an eye. This is where our problem begins but most definitely is not where the blame lies.

            The U.S. is globally known for their superior athletes and being highly competitive if not dominant in major sports except for a select few, most notably, soccer (baseball is the only other sport that can be argued that we are not head and shoulders above the rest). Actually, let me correct myself. Men’s soccer. Our women’s team is cream of the crop globally and has medaled in every World Cup in the history of the Women’s World Cup and won 3. So how in the world, with the U.S. being so dominant in basketball, football (although widely considered an American sport), and even the Olympics where only China consistently rivals us, can we be so bad at soccer? Well it begins here, growing up in the USA as an aspiring athlete I dreamed of play in the NBA, the NFL, and the MLB. This is exemplified by a tweet that I found this past year by ESPN who talked about the U.S. Sports Equinox, when the 4 major sports in America all play on the same day. The NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL all have a game played on one day and ESPN went crazy. HOCKEY, god damn hockey is considered a major sport league before the piss poor MLS is.

This is the status quo for the majority of American athletes and is why this is where our downfall begins. The rest of the world, especially Europe lives and breathes soccer. Our best athletes go on to play in the NBA and NFL where they can make millions in their first year. When people think of American athletes, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Odell Becham, and Tom Brady are usually the first that come to mind. Michael Bradley? Absolutely not. Josey Altidore? Hell nah. Tim Howard may be an AFTERTHOUGHT for a select few after his heroic performance against Belgium in 2014 but you see my point?

            You go to Europe or South America and ask them who their best or even favorite athlete is, they’re likely to name a soccer player like Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe, or insert countries best soccer player here. That’s the difference in the culture that begins to set apart the powerhouses like Germany, France, Spain, Argentina, and the countless other countries that are tiers above the embarrassing United States. Imagine, just for a second, if our best athletes played soccer. If LeBron James, Russel Westbrook, Odell Beckham, Alvin Kamara, and more of our other worldly athletes grew up with the passion and work ethic they have for their sport but for soccer. I think we’d have a damn good team. If they grew up in a soccer loving environment I can only imagine the potential they would have but here lies the deeper problem. Many of them wouldn’t have the opportunity to reach the realms of their soccer potential because the youth soccer system in the U.S. is a pay to play soccer country.

            With our current system it is virtually impossible for our underprivileged youth to crack into the sphere of “elite” soccer in our country. It costs thousands of dollars for these kids to join these high-level clubs and travel across the country in order to play the highest level of competition. This is drastically different from other countries models that make soccer readily available for their promising youth. The saddest part of it all? Many of our best athletes in the U.S. come from below poverty line homes. LeBron grew up in single parent home with very little income that had no chance of paying the steep registration fees these youth clubs require. By no means does this say that this is why LeBron did not play soccer but this is very much the case with other families. Great athletes that want to play soccer are not easy to come by in our nation and by keeping this system in place we are only limiting our already limited options.

            Here’s the bright side. We’ve hit rock bottom but now there’s nowhere to go but up. We are realizing that our current trajectory is not the path we want to be on and we have an opportunity to change it. Culture is difficult to change but with the promise of our up and coming youth who are refining and improving overseas there is an opportunity for greatness. The U.S. will be joint hosting the World Cup come 2026 and if we can field the competitive team we are capable of and put out a quality performance there is a hope to inspire the next generation to want to be apart of greatness in a sphere that we never have seen. Many things need to change but we must keep the American spirit and struggle until we see our goals achieved.

Top 5 Disrespectful Dunks of All Time

By: Isaac Camel

Dunking is one of the, if not the most electrifying play in basketball. There is something different about dunking that doesn’t correlate with the smoothness basketball, and that’s why I think it is amazing. There is a different type of dunk that occurs when the person dunking loses all respect for the person in front of him and tries to embarrass the defender. These are my favorite types of dunk. In the post I will count down my personal top 5 Disrespectful Dunks of all Time.

5.            The first dunk on this list comes from Michael Jordan’s right-hand man Mr. Scottie Pippen. In the match up between the Chicago Bulls and their Eastern Conference rivals Scottie Pippen goes up and slams it all over 7’1” Patrick Ewing who was known to be a huge physical presence in the post. The dunk alone wasn’t that disrespectful by itself. What put this dunk on the list is what he did after. Pushes Patrick Ewing down and steps over him, which is the ultimate sign of disrespect.

4.            The next dunk comes from Lebron James who almost ended Jason Terry’s career in the blink of an eye. A Boston Celtic turnover starts a chain of events that will leave Jason Terry’s career tainted for a long time. Jason Terry decides to get back on defense to try to defend the key (Big Mistake). The Miami Heat throw together a double ally-op for Lebron James flying right down the middle, Jason Terry want to jump to contest the dunk but he jumps late and only makes it about halfway up Lebron’s body. Terry falls down and gets a foul called on him, and to add insult to injury Lebron Stares at him on the ground.

3.            Number three on this list comes to us from Dwayne Wade. 6’4” Dwayne Wade challenges 6’11” Anderson Varejao and wins. This is one of those dunks that kind of catches you off guard. But when it happens you can’t help but get excited.

2.            The runner up on this list is when Shawn Kemp posterizes Alton Lister. Kemp who is known for dunking on people showed off his talents when he dunked this one. But what puts this so high on my list is the act that Kemp does afterwards. He gives Lister the double point to rub in the fact that he just dunked on him.

1.            The number one most disrespectful dunk of all time in my opinion is when Shaquille O’Neal ruined Chris Dudley’s night. All of the previous dunks on this list was when the defender had to help and make a quick decision to jump. This one on the other hand is different because Dudley is guarding O’Neal the entire time. He simply gets overpowered and looks like a child trying to play defense. Then Shaq gives Dudley a little push to make him fall down which pushes Dudley over the top. But in the end, this dunk will always get shown on anyone’s list of top dunks.

Top 5 Most Poisonous Human Foods for Dogs

By: Jake Briski

            Dogs are very selfless animals that love their owners more than they love themselves. Unfortunately we can’t share everything with them even though we wish we could. There are many dangerous human foods that can cause minor and major issues with your dog. I myself have two dogs that I treat like family and know how fun it is to share my food with them. Even though I do my best to be careful about what I give them, there have been a few instances where they have gotten into something they cant have. I have researched the top 5 foods that create harm to your favorite furry friend. Many of these foods cause a dog’s body to change certain substances within the food to a toxin after its metabolized. These toxins can then trigger cardiac arrest, low blood sugar and organs to start shutting down. The severity of these issues is based on weight, type of dog, and amount consumed so always contact your vet if you think your dog has consumed any of these foods.

1.  Raisins/ Grapes

            Even a small amount of Raisins or grapes can cause the kidneys to start shutting down.  Raisins are more poisonous than grapes since the drying process creates an increase in the level of the toxic substance. When consumed, this substance, once metabolized, attacks the kidneys in rapidly. Unfortunately I have had a terrifying situation with my dogs eating raisins. They both got into a half eaten granola bar that included raisins.  At first I didn’t think much about it until I started researching toxic food for dogs. Raisins were always high on the list, which made me panic. I ended up calling the local emergency pet hospital for advice. I didn’t know which of the dogs or if both had gotten some of the granola bar. I have one medium dog (Buddy) and one small dog Bella so it’s possible that the large dog didn’t share any of the granola bar. Either way I was advised to induce vomiting to look for the raisins and even after that to call our vet the next day to get a blood test done. To induce vomiting hydrogen peroxide is used based on the dog’s body weight. Even if symptoms are noticeable, kidney damage could already be taking place. With the help of a vet this damage can somewhat be reversed so that the kidneys don’t completely shut down.  Thankfully neither of my dogs had harmful levels of the substance in their system. This was a huge relief but now I know how dangerous raisins can be.

2. Snacks with Xylitol

            Many snacks and dental products include this dangerous substance called Xylitol. The most commonly known product with this ingredient is chewing gum. Others include cereals, sugar-free candy, peanut butter, and fruit snacks. Some people may be wondering about peanut butter being on that list but it’s true. Many manufacturers use this toxic ingredient to sweeten their peanut butter flavor. Make sure you check the labels because there are many options that are in fact a healthy and tasty treat for dogs. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver damage.  I know this blog is about dogs but this substance, in particular, is more dangerous to our feline friends so be careful with all pets.

3. Macadamia Nuts

            Many nuts are ok for dogs to have but this one specifically is very dangerous. A substance in the macadamia causes damage to a dog’s nervous system, which could be permanent. This one, unlike the others, seems to be less researched since we don’t know exactly what happens and why this nut causes so much damage. This is a very good reason to simply keep this snack far away from dogs and other fur friends.

4. Onions

            There is a substance in onions and onion powder that when consumed by a dog causes a decreased ability for the red blood cells to carry oxygen. This triggers a process of red blood cells breaking down which could cause anemia. If anemia becomes acute a blood transfusion may be needed to help replace the bad blood cells. Being a dog owner I know that they are little vacuums so make sure when cutting onions that bits and pieces don’t end up on the floor for your dog to get.

5. Chocolate

            This one seems obvious but I feel it’s worth mentioning. The darker the chocolate the more toxic it is to dogs. It creates a toxic substance that raises heart rate and can even lead to cardiac arrest. Very small amounts may give your dog an upset stomach and diarrhea. Even though milk chocolate is diluted of this substance, dogs shouldn’t have any type of chocolate regardless of its type.

            I didn’t mention the symptoms that come along with eating these foods but many of them include vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, seizures and lethargy. If your dog ever seems out of the ordinary always consult you veterinarian to make sure things are ok. If left untreated many of these toxic foods can cause permanent damage and even death.