The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

EC Eats

Family dinner takes on a whole new meaning

As a second-year, I’ve learned a lot in my time so far at UW-Eau Claire. That knowledge has come from classes, family phone calls and most importantly the friends I’ve made. 

Our conversations vary in topic of interest and location. None of us are very similar to one another, but we’ve managed to find a way to connect. Something that had aided in our bonds: food.

In my first year at school, I spent the majority of my time eating at Hilltop and Davies. My dorm room never saw food more complicated than a microwave meal or ramen. Now that I live in Chancellor’s Hall, I take every opportunity I get to cook what I call “real food.” 

Living with my friends makes it fun, too. As a group, we’re not the most affectionate. But cooking for one another is a way for us to spend time together, to say how we feel and to hear about our days. Family dinners, that’s what I like to call them.

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Sometimes our family dinners are planned out. We make it known to the others that we plan on cooking for them on a specific day of the week. Other times, we will spontaneously inform the others that they don’t need to cook that night.

We don’t have a weekly schedule and it’s never guaranteed that we will ever get anything from one another. We also never pressure one another into thinking that they have to compensate for the free meal with one of their own. We just like doing it for one another.

Last week, for example, I made tacos and wanted to share them. My roommate Cora heard my announcement earlier in the week and decided to put it on our whiteboard like the important announcement it was. 

It was a highly anticipated event, at least on my end. I pulled out all the stops: cheese, lettuce, black beans, sour cream and avocados. I felt proud of my spread, and was even happier to see people’s gratitude. 

The week happened to be a tough one for a couple of us, so to see the relief and appreciation on some of my friends’ faces made all of the stress in my own schedule a little less taxing.

But our connections through meals don’t solely come from the act of cooking and feeding one another. Even something as simple as eating at the same time is something I look forward to. We all have busy schedules, and I hardly see them during the school day. Dinner keeps us involved in one another’s lives.

We listen to one another, and always make sure to check on one another when we feel like something is going wrong. 

I’ve learned so much from these girls. I never knew I could make and keep such wonderful friends as an adult. They have taught me how to open up to people, how to try new things and that I don’t have to adjust myself and my personality to fit comfortably in the lives of other people.

So to Elise, Lizzy, Cora and Lauren (if she feels like making the long trek down the hallway): What’s for dinner?

Braun can be reached at [email protected].

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