From the Farmer to the Foodie

by Landy Erlick ’19

If you don’t have a class near the Science Center on Tuesdays, you might be missing out on some sweet and savory treats. The Harvard University Farmer’s Market sets up shop from noon to 6 pm, and it only runs through the end of October, so if you’re looking for fresh fruit, soft bread, or green vegetables, it’s best to come sooner rather than later.

brightly colored pumpkins and cornberries and fruit bundles

Walking under the big tent, there are several rows of delicious and varied cuisine. From the delectable choices at Taza Chocolate to the garden-fresh flavors of Ward’s Berry Farm and the enticingly spicy Alex’s Ugly Sauce, it’s practically a guarantee that you won’t leave disappointed. There’s even a spot to buy lobsters!

Fish & Donuts!

Most of the vendors are cash only, and as a result it’s best to be prepared with something other than a credit card in hand. Prices aren’t too high, but it definitely costs a little extra for items that are freshly made or just picked.  While sweet corn is worth $0.75 an ear, containers of raspberries and grapes are around $5.00. The highly-coveted donuts from Union Square are $3 a piece, and at that price the highly desired flavors like Belgian Chocolate and Maple Bacon tend to sell out fairly quickly. Overall, staying within budget might be hard with so many tempting tidbits around.

vanilla bean donut from Union Square
Vanilla Bean Donut (Union Square)

The open space and bright colors help to maintain a welcoming environment, unlike some farmer’s markets which can be slightly overwhelming if you arrive without a game plan. If it’s your first time exploring the plaza or you don’t need any food in particular, it’s a great idea to walk the rows and be inspired. Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to get a free sample of cheesecake or peaches!

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chocolate chip brioche roll

Before the snow comes, and sweet, juicy fruits become a treasured rarity, be sure to stock up on some cartons for your microfridge. Or, if you’re like me and can’t ignore any form of bread or pastry, try a chocolate brioche roll (above)! It’s the perfect size – big enough to share, but small enough to keep all to yourself without feeling guilty. Fruit, vegetables, baked goods, and other items vary each Tuesday, so make it a weekly trip.

Challah for Hunger: Baking to Give Back

By Dana Ferrante ’17

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At 9am on a Thursday, I was a little surprised to see five Harvard students grinning as they stretched and turned (and stretched and turned again), a batch of sticky bread dough. This gooey mass, after it has risen and been braided, will become the sweet bread Challah, a traditional bread served at Shabbat dinner, or the Friday evening meal of the Jewish day of rest.

But the bread is not for them –save for a few furtive bites.

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Headed by sophomore Amanda Jowell, Harvard’s Challah for Hunger mixes, bakes, and sells freshly baked Challah every Thursday evening at Hillel starting at around 6pm. The proceeds all go to MAZON, an advocacy group that works to bring nutritious food to the hungry in both the United States and Israel. And so far, so good: within the first four weeks of selling, Challah for Hunger has already raised more than $500.

The original organization founded about a decade ago, Challah for Hunger now exists on over 70 different campuses across the US, Canada, Australia and England. Jowell got the idea to bring CfH to Harvard after her twin sister started an outpost of the group on Stanford’s campus. Supported by Hillel, Jowell was able get the supplies and manpower together, and is now even able to offer different flavors of bread in addition to completely kosher Challah.

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As someone who had never heard of the bread before, I had to ask: why Challah? The answer is quite simple. At Shabbat dinner, Challah is something expected, as the dinner usually begins with a blessing over two Challah loaves. In this way, the goal of CfH is to come together as a community to aid those who ultimately cannot take Challah on their dinner table for granted.

DSC_0101Making bread from scratch is a pretty serious time commitment (especially for a Harvard student), so it is only through community that the Challah makes it into the oven each week.

 

The Challah making process consists of four main parts: 1) mixing/kneading, 2) rising, 3) braiding, and finally, 4) baking. Following the procedure Jowell had already perfected by the second week of production, the process begins at 9am when about five to six Harvard students get their hands dirty combining the ingredients and kneading the dough.

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Step two, rising, occurs throughout the day, letting the yeast metabolize as many sugars as possible, while the students attempt to digest their professor’s lectures. It is essential to let the dough rise for a significant amount of time, as it maximizes the amount of carbon dioxide and alcohol released into the dough (i.e. the dough magically triples in size). At 4:30pm, a new round of students comes to braid the dough DSC_0073

and then slather the loaves in egg wash,

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essential for achieving the coveted caramel brown on top of the loaves.

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Finally, the Challah goes into the oven, and is still warm when it is sold to the line of people already lined up and waiting for the bread to arrive.

At just $5 a loaf, the braided beauties are sold out within minutes. Just one bite into these pillows of soft, sweet dough, and you’ll know why.

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Guilt-Free Cupcakes: Coming Soon to Lamont Café

By Dana Ferrante ’17

There’s nothing like going from HUDS café to HUDS café and realizing that each one, as you feared, is serving the same assortment of lackluster pastries. With the integration of Hi-Rise Bread Company items on its menu, the reopening of the Barker Café seemed promising, yet the jury is still out on whether or not the Barker Café is really worth one’s precious Board Plus.

For these, and many more reasons, I am excited to announce: there’s a new pastry on campus. Better yet, pastries.

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The Holistic’s Orange Chia Muffin with Chocolate Ganache

It’s called Feel Good Cake, and it comes in two equally tempting flavors: Chocolate and Orange Chia. Not your average cupcakes, these creations are completely guilt-free, meaning no matter if you’re gluten free, paleo, vegan, or just generally concerned about what you put into your body, you can enjoy the cupcakes without a second thought. Despite the common misconception that healthy versions of desserts never live up to original recipes, these muffins are rich, moist, and full of real flavor. Best of all, they are convenient, and will soon be available in Lamont Café, Cabot Café and Sebastian’s Café at the School of Public Health.

The masterminds behind these muffins are none other than two Harvard students. A little over a year ago, juniors Alice Han and Nina Hooper launched their company, The Holistic, in Harvard’s Innovation Lab, and have been perfecting their recipes ever since. Substituting avocado and ground chickpeas for the traditional butter and flour, Han and Hooper are committed to using organic, nutrient-dense ingredients in all of their products. Instead of sugar, the muffins are sweetened with agave nectar, meaning they are free from refined sugars, and have a lower glycemic index than normal cupcakes. In this way, Han explains, The Holistic products are also a good transition food for those with diabetes as they try to cut out foods that will raise their blood sugar too quickly. And the icing on the cake? A creamy chocolate ganache made from avocado, agave and cocoa.

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The Holistic’s Chocolate Muffin with Chocolate Ganache

Aside from being super-foodies, the duo has traveled around the world, most recently with a portable oven and suitcases packed with more ingredients than clothes, sharing their creations with people all over. Han explains, “we wanted to see how people reacted to our product,” while also trying to figure out “what makes people feel good about the food they eat.” Whether it was Dubai or Finland, Australia or Japan, Han says they spent a lot of time learning how other cultures eat healthfully and alternatively to the stereotypical American diet, with the hope of incorporating this knowledge into their future recipes.

Last year, The Holistic competed in the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Innovation Competition, making it to the second to last round with their guilt-less treats. They were also recently featured in Boston Magazine and hope to present their product to the regional division of Whole Foods later on in the semester.  In the meantime, The Holistic continues to offer catering for on campus events.

As previously mentioned, The Holistic recently approached HUDS about stocking their products, and the muffins will soon be sold in Lamont Café as part of a trial run. Based on their reception, HUDS could begin offering them at more locations on campus — now that would be a sweet deal.

Shopping for Food: Food-Related Courses Running this Spring

By Dana Ferrante ’17 & Marina DeFrates ’17

Shopping week is often a perilous time of year. The night before it begins, you have the perfect plan figured out: 4 (or 5) classes, no Friday sections, and a nice long lunch each afternoon. Then midway through the week, you’re on the phone with your parents telling them you just cannot get it together for this semester. “Mom, I’m just going to dropout.” Classic.

Choosing can be tough, which is why the Crimson Crave has put together a list of food-related courses for your shopping list. Tough just got tougher…and chocolatier and cheesier.

Check out the lists below for courses running this spring and fall!

Spring 2015:

  • AFRAMER 119x: Chocolate, Culture and the Politics of Food
  • ANTHRO 1727: Sensory Korea
  • ENG-SCI 24: Flavor Molecules of Food Fermentation: Exploration and Inquiry
  • ESPP11: Sustainable Development
  • ESPP 90t: Environmental Health: Your World and Your Life at Risk
  • FRSEMR 32m: Food for Thought: Culinary Culture in Spain and Latin America
  • ITAL 105: From the Book to the Kitchen Table
  • OEB 52: Biology of Plants
  • RELIGION 1046: Introduction to Religion and Ecology
  • SCI-LIVSYS 19: Nutrition and Global Health
  • SCI-LIVSYS 16: Human Evolution and Human Health

Fall 2015

  • ANTHRO 2712: Ethnographies of Food
  • ANTHRO 1040: Origins of the Food We Eat
  • ANTHRO 2618: The Body in the Age of Obesity
  • E&M REASON-22: Nutrition and Health: Myths, Paradigms and Science
  • French 127: Talking about food
  • HEB 1411: Evolution and Adaption of the Human Diet
  • SCI-PHYUNV 27: Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science