FROM THE ARCHIVES: Eat, drink and be merry

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Eat, drink and be merry


As another fall semester comes to a close, the holidays rapidly approach. Students and faculty are encouraged to eat, drink and be merry, as well as focus on exams, buy gifts and determine holiday plans.

With the stress and excitement that accompanies the season, it’s no wonder that eating and drinking help many make it through to spring semester.

Hearty meals are a major focus around the winter holidays, and Aztec Press examined what is on our dinner tables from a variety of angles over the years. The student newspaper shared recipes and reviewed restaurants.

An article written in the late 1970s questioned the freshness and vitality of common foods. At the time, several students were conducting a research project on maintaining a safer diet.

A staff writer wrote that food ingredients “are largely battered, heated, frozen or pulverized out… then needled with dozens of other additives.”

The article encouraged readers to check the definitions of ingredients found in many “junk” foods, and to practice a vegetarian diet.

An article in the 1984 Christmas issue peered into the lifestyle of a person with an eating disorder. The story explained that fear and anxiety about eating lavish meals increase as the holidays approach.

The article offered advice, encouraging students with eating disorders to see the holidays as a time to seek help and return to a healthy diet.

Drink recipes have appeared in the Aztec Press, including one for Kahlua printed in 1985, less than a year before Arizona’s legal drinking age was raised from 18 to 21. The recipe increased the proof of the alcohol from the typical 50 proof to above 90 proof.

A 1987 story looked at alcoholism and its similarities to codependency. The article described four common stages of codependency, and provided relationship examples. It also listed five simple steps for independence from destructive lifestyles.

In the late ‘70s, the Aztec Press featured a “mental health quotient” asking readers simple questions about their state of mind. The questions focused on realistic goals, accepting responsibility, feelings of low self-worth and fears of the future.

Articles in the mid-1980s also reported on mental illness.

A 1984 story examined mental health programs offered to refugees living in the state. At the time, Arizona was considered to have some of the best refugee resettlement facilities in the nation. However, Arizona ranked 49th in funding for mental health services.

Aztec Press writer Adam Stevenson wrote in a 1985 issue, “Clinical experience has proven that with proper, consistent treatment most people with mental illness can become productive, self-supporting citizens.”

This time of year often can make the soundest of minds question their sanity, as students deal with the frenzy of holiday shopping and an onslaught of finals and semester projects.

In the 1984 Christmas issue, PCC counselor Cindy Arem shared techniques to help students fend off “student burn-out syndrome,” defined as “a slow, progressive process occurring throughout the academic year and often reaching a climax… just before finals.”

Symptoms include energy depletion, irritability, daydreams, lack of motivation and pessimism. Ignoring the symptoms may result in severe illness, cheating, failing or dropping out of school.

Arem advised students to eat nutritionally, get adequate sleep, include physical exercise and use relaxation techniques on a regular basis.

She also encouraged students to talk to friends, loved ones or a counselor about their problems, to get feedback or simply to vent.

Arem stressed the importance of having time for oneself, noting that long walks and journaling can help relieve stress.

She also warned about the common practice of self-medication through use of drugs and alcohol, explaining that while temporary relief may alleviate stress, self-medication merely masks the underlying problems.

If finances and holiday shopping are sources of stress, advice from a 1979 issue may help. Readers were prompted to cut costs by giving “recycled” gifts found in closets, bookshelves or attics.

The Aztec Press quoted Elin Shoen of Ladies Home Journal: “What you are giving is something of yourself.”

The article also suggested offering services as a babysitter, chauffeur or cook. According to Shoen, home-baked items were “in” that year. Most would agree they still are.

“Be wildly extravagant with cookies,” Shoen said. “Almost anyone can afford to give them away by the thousands.”

A dream lasts as long as you will

And always another replaces the first.
-By Marcy Cagle

“Paper Snowflakes,” taken from a poetry page in a 1987 issue of Aztec Press.

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