Posts Tagged 'Town-Gown'

Go to Town and Find Yourself a Killer Sandwich

Sam Dungan

dsc_6428.jpg

Grilled cheeses, cheese steaks, and chicken Caesar wraps make up a large part of the typical college student’s diet. Last Thursday, I woke up before twelve and decided to try something a little different than the panini sandwiches at Proctor. I had heard of a deli in town that would exceed my normal expectations of a sandwich. I set my sights on the Noonie Deli or “Noonie’s,” as Middlebury students call it. Located in Marbleworks, Noonie’s has an idyllic outside eating area. The falls of Otter Creek add a lovely backdrop. But let’s get on to the important part, the sandwiches.

Not to disappoint my expectations, my California Roast Beef sandwich on honey oat bread came with thinly-sliced roast beef covered with melted cheddar cheese and topped with tomato, green peppers and jalapeños with ranch dressing drizzled over the bread. For those who enjoy a messy, spicy sandwich and don’t mind further reducing the number of trees in Vermont by using obscene amounts of paper napkins, you should definitely consider the California Roast Beef.

Another monster of a sandwich was the Purple’s Pleasure. With a combination of avocado, bacon, turkey, lettuce, tomato, and hot peppers, all on top of wheat bread covered in a garlic-basil mayonnaise, this sandwich offered a different but equally fantastic taste as the California Roast Beef. My friend Abe and I ordered the sandwiches to go and ate outside on picnic tables overlooking the falls. While the décor of the inside is suitable, the joy of eating Noonie’s sandwiches is found while sitting under the sun, enjoying the weather and the view. My lunch, which consisted of a bottle of Orangina and a sandwich, came out to be a little over eight dollars. For a few dollars more, you can choose from a decent selection of organic chips.

Rarely do you ever come across a perfect dining experience, and my lunch at Noonie’s was marred by just a few things. In a restaurant that takes pride in freshly-baked bread and exotic sandwich ingredients, I found it ironic that the meat, cheese, and toppings of hot sandwiches were simply heated in the microwave as if passing through another part of an industrial assembly line. I understand that a restaurant must offer swift service to attend to the needs of customers with a tight schedule. In their haste, the sandwich-makers switched the bread for the two sandwiches that my friend and I ordered.

Even though Noonie’s doesn’t have the service of a five-star restaurant, it is a lot of fun. The bread amazes, and the abundance of toppings allows one to create almost any sandwich. I went again a few weeks later and ordered a roast beef sandwich with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and bacon. Although not the most complicated sandwich, it surpassed the “specials” I had tried previously. What is the take home message? Noonie’s, like any other deli, needs multiple visits; it has plenty of potential and should be tested. Maybe by experimenting a few times with different sandwiches you can find the right one. Who doesn’t like the idea of finding “the perfect sandwich?” So if you are getting tired of Ross pizza or running out of ideas at Proctor’s panini bar, walk down to Marbleworks on a sunny day and enjoy a sandwich from the Noonie Deli. There’s my opinion for you.

Middlebury: A Town, Not Just a College

Audrey Nelson

middtown.jpg

It seems it is not unusual to find a Middlebury student who, over the course of their four years here, hardly ever ventured beyond campus into the actual town of Middlebury. Sure, the occasional dinner with visiting parents forces people to walk to Storm Café, or perhaps the weekly trip to Hannaford’s for Pop-Tarts and Trident, but generally speaking, the average student spends very little time getting to know this Vermont town.

How hard would it be to take a moment each week to connect with the community? Busy as a student’s life may be, the amount of time, money, and effort spent by the town on our college is extraordinary, and the least we could do is take a genuine interest. For example, one could mentor a child, volunteer at a community dinner, or talk to someone who is not a student at least once a day. Why not get to know a truly hearty Vermonter who makes his own syrup, or whose grandson scored in the latest Middlebury Union High School game? To see and to love Middlebury as a whole, and not simply the bits and pieces of it at the top of the hill, means that we appreciate the context from which our college was born.

Middlebury is a town with a history, a town with stories, a town with interesting and real people who have lives and strengths all their own. Volunteer at a local preschool, and you might come to find that a large part of our Middlebury community struggles to financially support its youngest residents. However, if one college student took the time each week to sit down and read to that very same preschool class, we would see that it doesn’t cost a thing to show that you care.

Dining Hall Reflections

Ceara Danaher

For the educated elite, we’re a pretty classless bunch.

We live comfortably here, surrounded by the implements for success and the individuals paid to guide us there. And we do achieve, again and again. The great irony is that in our climb towards the upper echelons of society, we leave decency behind. Plainly, we’ve become rude.

I don’t doubt the ability of a Midd Kid to schmooze and mingle the night away if need be. The Middlebury administration has even incorporated these skills into our education by offering numerous “networking” workshops. But somewhere along the way, perhaps as we practiced forcing chuckles over cocktails, we left something behind.

There is a lack of respect and common courtesy at Middlebury.

For the past two years, I have worked mornings at Ross dining hall alongside the full-time employees. These are individuals who devote the majority of their waking hours to satisfying your hunger. It is important to note that their waking hours are, in fact, on a drastically different schedule than your own.

The majority of morning dining hall employees wake up before the sun rises— around 4 a.m. Some drive nearly an hour to work. Many wake up earlier, in order to prepare lunches for their children, or even an entire dinner, before heading to work. The implications of such an early wake up time are that these people crawl into bed no later than 9 p.m. Imagine attempting to raise children on that schedule— or trying to maintain a marriage when one’s spouse works a typical 9 to 5 shift. Yet, such a schedule is a necessity; our needs must be met.

The difficulties in food preparation are equally monumental. Attempting to prepare dishes in quantities nearing one thousand is a huge undertaking. Complications such as allergies, religious and moral concerns, and nutritious value, are endless. Clean-up is just as atrocious.

The gratitude for these efforts is minimal.

We gather food carelessly, letting cherry tomatoes roll across the floor, and tossing bagels on the counters to use their empty bags. We shove peanut buttery knives into buckets of jelly, thus contaminating them for our classmates with allergies. People have a tendency to break bite-sized chunks out of muffins while passing by. In most cases these are then disposed of— people don’t tend to find crumbling and contaminated food appetizing. When we finish eating, we feel few qualms about leaving our dirty dishes behind next to our fanned-out newspapers.

If our actions are not offensive enough, we solidify our attitudes through use of comment cards. These cards are fair game for criticism and complements. As it stands, appropriately worded suggestions abound, complements are rare, and there is an abundance of harsh criticism.

Some students seem incapable of making a connection between their crude writings and the individuals reading them. One has to ask, would you ever make such crass comments to someone’s face? After your parents prepare dinner at your home, is it standard that you insult them? I have stood and watched crestfallen expressions on employee’s faces as they read card after card of “the meatballs sucked,” and “Friday’s soup tasted like ass.”

These people give their lives to your pleasure and sustenance. They are dedicated, hard-working, and they are real. They have families and they have concerns. In most cases, they are your elders. And when you move away from your cushy dorm to the next incarnation of your plush lifestyle, they will remain in Middlebury, Vermont. They will inevitably earn less than you, work more difficult hours than you, and be less respected than you. Unfortunately, they will also continue to put up with crap from kids like us.

When I put on my apron and baseball hat for three hours on weekday mornings, I am removed from you. I become analogous to the employees behind the counter. Time and time again, I am treated with contempt that I never experience as a student here.

Discourteousness does not affect every member of the student body— not even most. But there is enough to be disturbing. As we move onwards and upwards on our trajectory of success, we cannot lose the values that we were taught as children at the dinner table. “Best behavior” does not only apply when we are in high profile social situations. It needs to exist on a daily basis, without discrimination. Please, be polite.

On the Use of the Word “Townie”

Kate DiMercurio

In the past few weeks across Middlebury’s campus, whether in the dining halls, the dorm rooms, or on Battell Beach, the word “townie” has been making a resurgence. As students take the long trek down to Main Street and cross paths with a stray middle school skateboarder, we are forced to take a closer look at the town-gown divide.

In my pre-Middlebury days, I was a resident in the small town of Bristol, Vermont. At hockey games, my friends and I would sit near the student section, since it was obviously the most exciting and lewd place to be. As we got older and more courageous, we even sat in the student section. Shockingly enough, we were never recognized as “outsiders,” though at times I would hear students next to me referring to other townies with disdain, and remarking that they really should stop polluting the student section. In all of my time as a townie, I never once heard the term used with a positive connotation.

Now that I am free of the townie stigma, I am considered just another one of the Middlebury “locals.” When I meet a new student, it is assumed that I know every single other Vermonter on this campus, because we are, after all, an unusual breed and at some point we must have skied together as children. While I try to make it my business to keep up with the other locals, the fact is, you can’t tell most of us apart from the Colorado Natives or the Massholes. So I ask myself— why do we still feel the need to create so much distance between Middlebury students and Middlebury townies? Why is it that every time the word townie is uttered, my hair stands on end and I feel the need to defend the poor soul to whom it refers?

This has been a topic of conversation among my friends recently, and I think I may have come up with an explanation. No one here denies the fact that we live in the Middlebury College bubble, and many students express a desire to spend more time off campus. Among the town residents to whom I have spoken, many have articulated their desire to see more interaction between the town and the college community. We do, of course, hold some events on campus that are open to the public, such as musical and dramatic performances. But let’s face it— although we may be sharing the same social space, most students are not actually interacting with town residents.

If Midd Kids spent a little bit more time getting to know townies, they would undoubtedly find that they have much more in common with them than they had expected. They would hopefully realize that the little punk that cut them off at the Snow Bowl or ran screaming through the library during exam week is not a good representative of the common townie. This town is home to some incredible artists, athletes, political activists, and aspiring philanthropists— all of these people, and so many more, would be thrilled to know that one of the college students from that mythical stone community on the hill actually cares about who they are and what they think. A Midd Kid out of her bubble is a rare sight in the town of Middlebury. How can these two groups of people know anything about the other if they never see each other?

There are prejudices and biases from members of both the town and the college, but as with any prejudice, you should never pass judgment on the group as a whole if you never truly get to know one of its members. The word “townie” carries more weight than many students on this campus realize, and it is important to give some more thought to the terms we throw around. So please, the next time you let the word fly, consider the fact that the person to whom you are referring is no different from your little brother or your neighbor two doors down.