Thursday, 19 July 2012

COWamongus!

Hello, y’all on a HOT Thursday afternoon! CJ here! Today, our writer says he prefers to be called “GeorgieJoeBrown,” which is quite a mouthful, so maybe, GJB??? He studies Rhetoric, is a fellow “ginger” like me, and I can tell he had fun writing this post for all of you!

GJB here I have to admit, when I was first asked to do short bit for this blog I hadn’t the slightest clue as to where on Texas Tech’s campus I wanted eat at and write about. What started out as a mission to find a unique place to write about has without a doubt turned into an obsession that will last for the rest of my time in Lubbock, TX.

At this point it may be helpful to give a little background on the restaurant itself. COWamongus! opened in February of 2005 thanks to the generosity of a TTU/Food Tech Alumnus and is today housed inside the university’s Animal and Food Science building. What makes it unique in relation to the other dining options on campus? First and foremost, the establishment is run by the Department of Animal Science itself. It has nothing to answer to outside of the university, and is staffed by students. This is a stark contrast to the other options on campus which tend to be fully staffed and operated by an outside corporation.

What makes COWamongus! the true treasure of Texas Tech is far more exciting than merely local operation, however. Plainly put, the answer lies in the food itself. All of the meat that is served at COWamongus! is produced by the university itself. The livestock is raised on Texas Tech’s ranch, processed, and cooked all by Tech students. This is about as wonderfully American as you can get, and to jump the gun a little, the effect on the food is fantastic.

The menu holds a variety of different options. From burgers to hot ham sandwiches and salads to university produced ice cream, the restaurant can silence the hunger pains of anyone’s gut. For my first visit I chose to try something simple enough to give me a grasp on the basic building blocks of restaurant. Thus:


A bacon cheeseburger with tater tots and a coke. American enough to make you hum yankee doodle and delicious enough to make every other dining option want to go back the drawing board. I mean, what’s not to like?

It was hard to turn down this dish when I noticed the majority of everyone else around me indulging themselves in it. The beef was cooked perfectly. Juicy enough to hold the flavor, but firm enough to stop the whole thing from falling apart. And the bacon, oh…the BACON! I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I was awake on account of its being so good. Not a floppy mess, mind you, but crisp and skinny.

To be completely honest, if you’ve looking for the healthy food option, you may be barking up the wrong tree with COWamongus!, though there are a few tidbits you should consider before writing it off completely. First off, this isn’t your normal processed and shipped meat chucked full of preservatives and who knows what else. The beef is brought in fresh daily. The bacon is brought in fresh daily. Frankly, you’re not going to find a much more authentically healthy option anywhere close, unless you’re running a farm and driving cattle in your spare time, of course.

Food-o-meter: I'll give it the best just because it was fantastic.
Mouthfuls: 8-10, depending in how big your mouth is. Add 30 more for the tater tots.
Courses: main
Health: Ummmm… (pretty low…)
Price: $5.00 or £3.18 (much more reasonable than past days, at least)
Guns-up meter: 5/5. This is about as guns up as you can get.

CJ back just to wish y’all a good night, and remind everyone that with all we’ve paid on our meals at school so far this week, we could have fed three kids for about a year through Mary’s Meals. Thanks for your continuing support of VEG’s great cause, and please keep those donations coming. I hope one day the only debate we have about food is whether or not we made healthy choices, because we all have choices to make, and no one has to worry about having food at all.

I’m excited to wrap all this up for you tomorrow, and pass the torch (… seems appropriate since we all know what special event is coming up in sports next week!) to the next guest blogger! I’m excited to begin reading posts by VEG again, too! I know we all miss her! Thanks, y’all!

22 comments:

  1. This should end well. ;^)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Howdy GeorgieJoeBrown, CJ and y'all!

    I will certainly miss my little americanisms.

    COWamongus! seems like a great place to visit on campus and the portion size seems extremely reasonable for the cost. I think that is cheaper than one of those golden M meals here in the UK.

    I chose not to eat meat many many years ago, and I can thank a French chef for that when I was learning my chef skills. One thing I still find intriguing after 20+ years of not eating meat - the smell of smoked bacon.

    Whether healthy or not, you seem to have enjoyed your COWamongus! burger, and I do spot some onion, pickled gherkin lettuce and tomato.

    Great post again, thoroughly enjoyed the read and learning more about the campus and the ranch, keep up the great work and all the best for your studies GJB.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you enjoy Americanisms, I think you may be as amused as I was to learn that (at least in the New Orleans area, I cannot speak for all of the southern states) "y'all" is often used as singular, and "all of y'all" is the plural. Back when I was living in New York no one said, "Y'all" and instead it was, "You guys," and if you were from New Jersey it would be, "Yous guys." It wasn't until I moved that I realized people down here actually do say y'all.

      What is the UK equivalent?

      ~Lindsay

      Delete
  3. Please try not to describe things like this as the epitome of "American-ness." As a citizen of these States, I can't help but feeling embarrassed every time I have read the posts this week.

    That said, there's nothing wrong with hamburgers. I am sure yours was delicious and I certainly applaud the restaurant's model. Now if only they would work on getting some decent bread and proper beverage containers.

    Everyone else: Please visit the United States for yourself! We are a vast, dramatically-varied nation made up of hundreds of cultures, lifestyles, and landscapes. We have vegetables, too, I promise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bjarndyr

      I have to take exception with your embarrassment for the posts this week. There are indeed things that are intrinsically "American", if for no other reason than they have reached a group consensus over many years as exemplifying the American culture as perceived by Americans, themselves. A cheeseburger like the one above is most certainly a symbol of this country. So is 'y'all'.

      Multi-cultural society is fine, and one of the things found when you investigate the source of the things which Americans identify as representative is that they usually have their origins in the contribution of a segment of society once considered immigrant. One of the major problems in America today is the splintering of a national identity.

      Instead of identifying as American first and then whatever designation second, everyone now has to be "whatever"-American. It segments the national identity that once supported success in this country. So while the US is "a vast, dramatically-varied nation made up of hundreds of cultures, lifestyles, and landscapes" (as, I might point out, is every country in the world), we should try not to emphasis the differences and solidify a national personality, of which many of the things mentioned in this week's posts have long been components.

      (Sorry to other readers for a pseudo-political rant where it probably doesn't belong.)

      Delete
    2. I don't see any good reason to be embarrassed about anything that has been written this week. -GJB

      Delete
  4. Gawwwwd I wish I was eating that right now! You sold that restaurant extremely well, GJB. Now I want to take a road trip to Texas Tech just to eat at COWamongus!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the vegetarians are having nightmares tonight.. :)

    But it was really interesting to hear about this sort of research restaurant, good job GJB!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Now you made me want to go to my local 1950s style burger joint, Cheeseburger Eddie's. You made my lunch look very sad. Thank you for the awesome post.

    ~Lindsay

    ReplyDelete
  7. CJ, I appreciate your reminder at the end there--about feeding three children for about a year for just the money spent on typical campus lunches for a week. That's such a huge putting-in-perspective sort of thing! I've enjoyed the very different write-ups. It's been fun to read, and I completely agree with "I hope one day the only debate we have about food is whether or not we made healthy choices, because we all have choices to make, and no one has to worry about having food at all."
    Thanks CJ and GJB.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, I'm having heart palpitations just looking at that...gosh it looks delicious though! I like the idea of knowing exactly where your produce and meat is coming from, and how it is treated. It's usually so difficult to do in America unless you live near farms. I've recently only found a hen farm where I get eggs from knowing that they treat them really well. It just makes eating more pleasurable when you can educate yourself! Nice job on the blog post!

    ReplyDelete
  9. That looks soooo good. I bet there is a huge difference in taste between that meal and the overly processed meat we are usually serve up in the US. Even though hamburger with cheese and bacon is not considered "health food" by any means, like you said, your meal was probably wayyy healthier than regular fast food. It would be interesting to do a comparison of nutrition info.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My sister went to Texas Tech. Boy howdy, it was nice to read your review. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi CJ, Joy and GJB,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts. Your posts brought the campus culture alive and I could imagine the heat, the vast campus, the dining halls, etc. like I lived there. Makes me wish I could go back to studying.

    Also, CJ, it's nice to see that you keep mentioning Mary's Meals and the cost of feeding children which normally might get missed out in the excitement of reading the new posts and getting to know the different lunches.

    Keep blogging and leave us a link if you already have a blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! It's been an adventure! My blog is dramaditations.blogspot.com and you can follow me @RoHuizinga on Twitter, if you'd like.

      CJ

      Delete
  12. Hey GJB,

    as much as I enjoy reading all blog posts, your style of writing is amazing and very entertaining to read! From your style alone one could guess your studying something that has to do with language. :)

    Many greetings from an early morning in Germany

    Alexandra

    ReplyDelete
  13. COWamongus sounds like a great alternative to the other big fast food chains. Okay, it's not the healthiest choice but you know exactly where your food has come from (and know it is somewhere good)! You are also supporting a local, independent business which I think is also extremely commendable!

    ReplyDelete
  14. OK, I'm one of the non-meat eaters having nightmares looking at that! You write really well GJB and the ethos behind the restaurant sounds great; if you choose to eat meat then knowing where it came from and what happened to it before it hit your plate is definitely the way to go (it was interesting to hear VEG's dad on the Radio 4 programme saying it's important for the kids to understand that the animals on the smallholding are not pets and to track the process through to the slaughterhouse). The concept of the meat at COWamongus being brought in daily is interesting though as it creates an impression of something very fresh - I wonder how many people know how long beef is usually hung before it's eaten?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Best meal this week - apart from the coke for the caffeine.

    Really made me want a burger, despite it being only just past breakfast here!

    Locally sourced meat - brilliant.

    As for the veggie trying to scare people about hanging beef. I wonder if they think about the length of time cheese sits before being sold? Much longer than the beef. Hanging improves the taste and texture of the meat. And if you are going to eat meat (I choose to again after 12 years not doing so) locally-sourced and knowing the welfare standards is the way to go.

    Looking forward, as ever, to the next lot of blogging!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't comment on here...just read the posts. Wow, did I have to post on this one though. I want a burger SOOOO bad now!!!! I know there seemed to be a bit of controversy over the food eaten this week. I am in my 30's and attended college in the 1990's here in America. At American universities, the dining options are typically very scarce. The colleges I attended had many fast food joints and the dining halls were only open at specific times making it difficult to find healthy options. While the bloggers this week didn't have a perfect looking plate, it was nice to see how far large universities are coming along. The idea of a restaurant that produces it's own meat, having the option of getting a smoothie, and having a variety of options of foods was all a good thing. At one of the universities I attended, University of Louisville in Kentucky, we were sponsored by Papa Johns and Pepsi so the campus was laden with tons of unhealthy food. My husband even remembers being a freshman stuck on campus without a car or transportation having to have cold unhealthy pizza because of his odd schedule (it has changed too btw!). It's good to see Texas Tech is on the right track!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That was a great post GJB! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Based on your description, I would definitely be tempted to eat that burger if I come across it (even though I rarely eat beef :) )
    Good work! Thanks for sharing your lunch with us.

    ReplyDelete