Bear’s Den: By Food and Story

College students love food. One of the times of day they look forward to is heading to Bear’s Den or BD, the South 40’s dining hall. A wonderful place with almost any food a student could want to consume –  stir fry, burgers, veggie burgers, grain bowls, cereal, salads, grilled cheese, Kosher meals, pasta, pizza, palak paneer, taco salads…. need I go on?

I, personally, like getting breakfast in BD. While I enjoy my morning egg and avocado toast, it’s not just the warm and tasty food that gets me to wake up in the morning. I enjoy starting my day off with the friendly faces preparing the food in the morning meals.

Freshman year, I had 8 am studio every morning. Which meant I needed to start my day with a solid meal. I would stumble sleepily into BD at 7:30 and drift up to the counter where the various early risers, like those on sports teams or in ROTC, would be chatting with the chefs over the counter.

“Avocado!” They call me.

They always say that even if they can’t remember names they’ll remember orders. True to their word they are whipping up several special meals for people who haven’t even arrived yet, but they knows when they get there. I get my avocado toast and the side of fruit it comes with before I head to class.

Then I’m back to BD for dinner. After I workout in the South 40 gym, I’ll run down to BD for stir fry. That’s where I’ll say “hi” to Tammy. I met Tammy my freshman year. I was having one of those longer days and Tammy asked me how I was. Before I could respond she interrupted and said, “You’ll be alright. You’re alright. You’ve always got to tell yourself you’ll be alright.”

Ever since, I check in with Tammy when I go into BD. I see her sitting at the register when I come in at night, greeted with a friendly face and a great sense of humor. We catch up while I pay for my food. She has my usual order typed up before I even make it to the register but makes sure I change it up every once and a while.

Whether they’re making sure I wash my apple or make sure that apple isn’t my entire lunch, the folks in BD always demonstrate how much they care about us, the students. and we can’t wait to see them. It’s great to go where someone knows you by name – AVOCADO!