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.

Life, It’s a Relatable Thing

Written By: Kaelyn Binder

As we look around at one another it is easy to make assumptions about the individuals we are seeing. No matter where we go, we are surrounded by people that may seem similar to us, yet far from what we view ourselves to be. Surface level assumptions that lead to biased opinions about people we don’t even know. From what they are wearing, to how they walk, or who someone is associating themselves with, we as humans create surface level opinions about the individuals we are surrounded by. However, have you ever considered how you may personally relate to those people who you are so ungraciously depicting? Have you ever attempted to view them past their surface level appearance or general demographics? Although it may be hard to realize at times, every person that walks this earth is more than just the skin they show or the clothes they wear on their backs. We are compiled with stress and worry, we have learned from beautiful mistakes, and we were all created from similar life experiences that in turn molded us into who we are today. Throughout the remainder of this blog post, I would like to ask each of you to dig a little deeper and consider whether or not you can personally relate to these ordinary circumstances and practices that we as humans experience each and every day. Go ahead and make yourselves comfortable, grab some coffee or a beer; because let me tell you something, those two surface level beverages are definitely something that I can relate to.

Stress, It’s a Relatable Thing

    Have you ever been in a public library or a coffee shop and seen an individual who appeared to be on the verge of a mental breakdown? Yeah, that’s called stress, and that is something that we can all relate to. Stress is a mental and physical emotion that every person around you has felt at some point in their lives. Take it from a true college student working two jobs and going to school full time for the past five years. Yes, I said it, FIVE. Not only do I stress about money, school work, and getting things done in a timely manner, I also personally stress about much more minor things that I know each and every one of you can relate to. Even the simplest things in life are easy to stress about. For example, have you ever stressed over waking up late and realizing you snoozed your alarm for the fourth or fifth time? All you can think to yourself “S@*#!  I did it again!” Yep, that is something I can definitely relate to. Or maybe you are stressed because the toast you just made for breakfast is overly burnt and is now inedible.  As a result you end up hangry, leaving the house irritable and agitated. What about when you are in a hurry in the mornings and can’t find the shoes you are wanting to wear even though you have seven other perfectly wearable pairs of shoes waiting to be worn in your closet? As crazy as all of that may seem, the majority of us have all stressed about and can relate to minor instances such as these. So, the next time you see someone who appears to be in distress at your local coffee shop down the road, realize that this stress may have been caused by an instance much more minor that it may appear. Instead of assuming the worst, consider creating a bit of random small talk to simply let the individual know that “Hey, I can relate”.

What is Life?

    Growing up into who I am today I was sent through a series of ‘phases’ that weren’t all that pretty. From my initial tomboy image that I rocked until highshcool to learning how to acquire more lady-like attributes, I still find myself in an awkward phase in life learning how to “adult”. However, aren’t we all struggling with the concept of what ‘adulting’ actually means? I mean, we are sent through a long and drawn out educational career where we are faced with so called core curriculum that is supposed to aid us in our future paths in life. But then again, how are we supposed to relate those core curriculum courses to what we all struggle with today?  I am now a college level student who is about to graduate in May, 2019 and am still struggling to find an understanding of how the Pythagorean Theorem or how learning a song to remember the capital of all fifty states relates to the everyday knowledge that we are all supposed to be familiar with. Individuals my age (stinkin’ millennials) can almost all relate that we don’t have any sort of understanding of how to properly file our tax returns, how to understand the basic car troubles that we all undergo, or how to appropriately treat any health issues we may be experiencing. Call me crazy, however WebMD is still my go-to medical symptom site, and I know my parents are tired of receiving phone calls from me worrying that I may be experiencing a potential stroke. Don’t lie, the majority of you can relate, we all tend to self-diagnose thanks to WebMD. The point that I am trying to make is that no matter what age you are, or where you find yourself at in life, we can all relate that learning how to ‘adult’ is a never ending phase.

(Relat)ionships and Friendships

One thing that I can personally appreciate is that the friendships and relationships I have been a part of are what helped me grow through each of those so called phases. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I was able to fully understand just how important some of those connections that I made truly were. The people we associate ourselves with directly impact what we are going through at that point in time. They are a reflection of not only our tough times, but some of our most prosperous moments as well. Have you ever been apart of a friendship that you thought was fun and adventurous but turns out was damaging and toxic? I know I have, and it was an experience that I have both learned and grown from. What about being a part of a relationship or friendship where you were their emotional support blanket? Although it may be difficult at times, in these circumstances we must understand that we are someone who that specific individual personally felt they could relate to and confide in. Lastly, there are going to be certain people within your life where you feel an instant connection with them. They are the ones who share similar interests and odd habits, such as eating a pickle and peanut butter sandwich; not many people can relate to you on that, but the ones who can are the ones worth waiting for. What I am trying to get you to see is that we make connections to people in life based on what we are going through at that current time. It doesn’t matter if you were able to relate to someone on a deeper level or through the discussion of your sandwich, what truly matters is that at that exact moment, you found a level where you could both relate.

Technology, it’s how we relate.

As our world has become more advanced, technology has created a new avenue that allows us all to connect and relate to other people around the world. For individuals my age, as well as those who are younger than me, it is easy to get caught up in the technology that is quickly shaping our lives. Through the use of social media platforms we are able to connect with people who may have once seemed unimaginable. Whether it be famous actors or athletes, health and fitness enthusiasts, or the numerous array of influencers that fill our social media feed, there is always someone who we are living vicariously through each and every day. We are now given the accessibility to make connections through Instagram or Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter, or perhaps through other blog posts with individuals and groups who we never thought we could connect with before. At times we may get caught up in our overly obsessive scrolling, I too am guilty of that, however we are generally viewing our social media as a way to visually connect and relate to different people. It is crazy to me that through the use of technology and social media we all have a particular individual or group who we have never met, yet we feel we can relate to.

I relate to you, and you relate to me.

    I feel like it is safe to say that there are numerous other ways that I could discuss with you about how we all relate to one another. Whether it be surface level relatability, or deeper internal relations there is always something you can relate about with the person sitting next to you.  If you like Macaroni & Cheese, we can relate. If you wear mixed-matched socks, we can relate. If your family isn’t perfect, we can relate. If you are secretly upset with your body image, trust me we can relate. The list goes on. As this blog post comes to a close and I am writing to you, I keep thinking to myself how and or why I chose to write about relatability. What I have decided, is that not only am I an individual who has told myself numerous times that only I would understand, but I am also an individual who appreciates being the person that others turn to when they feel they are alone. What I would like you all to remember, is that we all are connected to one another in some shape or form. Simply breath, stay calm, and always remember that everyone around you can relate.