An Ode to the Great Room

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    By: Hillary Wall

    As graduation approaches faster than JUrgo on his Vespa (so I have a couple months), I’ve been thinking a lot about what I am going to miss most about St. Mary’s.What will I reminisce about in ten years time? Will it be the river or the sunsets? Maybe. Will it be walking barefoot to class or the flantastic uniform of a St. Mary’s student? Probably not. There is one place that has always been there. A place where tots are plentiful the morning after a rough night, a place where you can shamelessly develop a real addiction to cookies and a place where it’s okay to walk out with a spoon and a to-go cup full of mashed potatoes. That magical place, my friends, is the Great Room.

    People are always quick to dismiss the Great Room, blaming a “bad main-line” and no good options. And believe me, I have been right there with you. Though, after a semester of really bad meals, I began to realize that this was not the fault of the Great Room, but my inability create good meals. I decided that I would become good at Great Room, a master of Great Room, if you will. I developed a new way of looking at the Great Room, which came with a side of love and affection for the Great Room. Hopefully through this column, I will be able to impart some of my wisdom on you, so you too can master the art of Great Rooming.
    1. The Great Room is also a verb.
    Like the good honors college student that you are, you’re probably thinking, “good at Great Room? That sentence is grammatically incorrect! Why should I take Great Room advice from someone who doesn’t even use correct grammar?!” In any other context you’d be correct, but not this one. The most important part of mastering the Great Room is the understanding that it is an action that you can master. Great Room-ing is a skill. You can be good at Great Room or you can be bad at Great Room, but you first must accept that you CAN Great Room. After you have accepted this premise, you can then begin mastering the art of Great Room.
    2. Brunch So Hard
    The best place to begin your training is brunch; in order to be good at Great Room you must be good at Brunch. From now on you must vow to always brunch hard with heaps of tots and always do your best in creating the best breakfast sandwich/waffle and ice cream combination at every Brunch. Now I could write an entire novel on the beautifully delicious union of breakfast and lunch, but instead I shall quote one of the best poets of our time, Kanye West: “Brunch so hard, that [tot] cray”. The most important thing to learn is how to create YOUR own personal breakfast sandwich. Like fingerprints, breakfast sandwiches are unique to the creator. This journey of discovery is one you must do alone to truly create a breakfast sandwich that reflects you. This discussion of breakfast sandwiches leads me to my next piece of advice.
    3. You can never go wrong with a sandwich
    With a plethora of bread choices from bagels to ciabatta rolls and the fact that the sandwich line has been on fire lately, your options for sandwiches are practically endless. You can never go wrong with a sandwich. That piece of advice goes beyond the Great Room. It is important though that you think outside the to-go box. Don’t just limit your sandwich ingredients to just the sandwich bar. Add cranberries to your turkey sandwich, put sliced cucumbers on your tuna. You also have the option of making a salad and putting it into a wrap.
    In this section I would take the time to ask each of you reading to take a personal moment of silence in memoriam of the panini presses that we lost to the fire code recently.
    Those scrumptious toasties that you graced us with will never be forgotten.
    Okay, moving on. After becoming awesome at sandwich making you will begin to see the Great Room differently.
    4. Stop looking at the options as options, but as ingredients:
    Granola + craisins + chocolate chips = trail mix.
    Ice Cream + Coke = Coke Float
    This leads me to my next point.
    5. See opportunity in new additions and changes
    Look for opportunity in every new addition to the Great Room. Take for example, addition of the celery to the salad bar. Now I was confused at first, why they would add sliced veggies to a line already devoted to vegetables. Though, with this addition, an awesome opportunity presented itself. Not because I like to eat like supermodel Gisele Bündchen (though I do look remarkably like her), but because celery is a staple to my favorite snack: Ants on a Log. Now for those of us who blacked out from pre-school to 4th grade, Ants on a Log consists of cut celery with peanut butter smeared into the well with raisins put on top; all of these ingredients are there for us in the Great Room. Or if Ants on a Log isn’t your thing, the addition of the hot chocolate machine also meant the addition of the mocha. Half hot chocolate (2/3 if you’re me) and half coffee. Try it. It’s delicious.
    With these tips, dear reader, you are well on your way to become a Great Room master. I hope to see you around the Great Room, with an exquisite breakfast sandwich in hand.

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