- Fresh Start: a week-to-week subscription for $49/box
- $4.90 per serving
- Monthly Challenge: a monthly subscription for $176
- $4.40 per serving
- Healthy Habit: a one-year subscription for $468
- $3.90 per serving
by Richa Chaturvedi ’18
The number one thing I crave at school (besides sleep) is home-cooked food. Don’t get me wrong, HUDS has some clutch items on their menu. But nothing compares to a meal made from scratch with love.
You can find this simple delight at Cabot Culinaries, a student group in Cabot made up of people who really just want to cook and eat some good food. I usually fall in the category of people who show up just for dinner, after all of the cooking is already done. But I decided to take initiative and become an active player in my meals, rather than a passive eater. Cabot Culinaries met this past Saturday to cook an incredible meal: beet, arugula, and goat cheese salad, roasted spiced cauliflower and asparagus, home made gnocchi made two ways (I couldn’t make this up), rhubarb bars, and coconut mousse. Naturally, I was in charge of the easiest dish – the cauliflower and asparagus recipe that my mom texted me, then called to ensure that I understood, then texted again demanding updates because she has a reputation to uphold. I quickly realized that I was in the kitchen with some seriously experienced cooks. One whisked together an amazing balsamic vinaigrette while another actually made gnocchi starting from scratch. Meanwhile, I was struggling to break cauliflower into florets. It’s more physically exhausting than you would think.
Overall, we had about 12 people help cook the meal and over 20 eating. I was so stressed out at the thought of 20 people eating food that I made, but all of that stress fell away with my first bite of salad. Everything was so fresh and delicious and, not to brag, but I didn’t even burn the roasted vegetables. So I would call it a success.
Coming from California, it is sometimes hard to go for long stretches of time without any home-cooked food. Cabot Culinaries helped me get my home-cooked fix and get over my fear for cooking for a lot of people. That being said, it didn’t help me conquer my laziness. I think I’ll rest for now – at least until the next Culinaries comes around.
by Hayoung Chang ’18
Today, I ventured down to the depths of Northwest Labs to attend a Thai food cooking class. Led by a Thai chef, the class was filled with a diverse mix of people including hungry college students like me, grad students, as well as old people. After a swift safety briefing, we familiarized ourselves with the authentic Thai ingredients, utensils, and layout of the cooking lab, a neat and comfortable space.
Following the instructions of our instructor chef as well as the recipe, we got to work. Chopping vegetables and mixing sauces, I was glad to get my hands dirty with some Thai spices. My partners prepared the vermicelli noodles. Mixing it all together, the fresh peppers, hint of spice and succulent noodles combined to create a wonderful dish. I could hardly believe that I had cooked it myself!
Next, we started preparing the curry by warming some coconut milk. The fragrance bubbling up from the pot was enough to make my mouth water. With my stomach growling, we added dollops of spice and sauces, plopped in some tofu, tomatoes and pineapples, and brought the curry to a gentle boil. Once the consistency was just right, we sprinkled some basil to finish it off.
The taste was amazing, to say the least. Perhaps the fact that we had cooked it from scratch had heightened my senses. The curry was just the right amount of spicy, creamy and silky smoothness. The warm and soft tofu complemented the sharp sweetness of the pineapple. Drizzled over jasmine rice, the dish was a huge success.
Overall, I immensely enjoyed the experience. Not only did I learn how to make some great curry, I also learned to appreciate food, and real food. These days, we consume so many processed and pre-cooked foods, that we often forget where food comes from. By partaking in the process of transforming fruit, vegetables and grain to a delightful dish, my eyes were opened to the true nature of food. Perhaps that’s a little too cheesy, but hey, at least I got the best curry recipe under my belt.
by Landy Erlick ’19
Global Health and Nutrition, or SLS19, is part of the Science of the Living Systems general education department. It’s also extremely interesting and edifying. I’ll be honest, I originally enrolled in the course purely to fulfill a requirement. Ever since the very first lecture, however, I have found the subject matter creeping into my daily life, and I think one topic is particularly relevant for your next d-hall venture: micronutrient deficiencies.
Each time you choose white rice over brown rice, cereal over vegetables, and glowing blue PowerAde over a glass of water, not only are you falling prey to “the freshman fifteen” – and every year after that – but you are also increasing your risk of developing micronutrient deficiencies. Though more common in developing countries where access to a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains is limited due to poverty or seasonality, micronutrient deficiencies are present in industrialized, rich nations, too. Most students don’t have the discipline to take multiple supplements every day, so it’s important to reach our necessary vitamin intake by filling those ceramic plates with an array of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, animal protein, cheese, and even some grill-order eggs.
Admittedly, it’s unlikely that a college student in the Northeast will develop scurvy, but the disease is not just limited to pirates sailing the seas in the 1700s. Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or just prefer a daily sundae over a salad, it’s important to observe your eating habits and take notice of the categories in which you’re lacking. Even though it takes a severe micronutrient deficiency to express symptoms like night blindness or anemia, eating well from a young age boasts many benefits, especially in the battle against obesity. In fact, in recent years, over-nutrition has become more prevalent than under-nutrition. That is a daunting statement.
It only takes a few minutes to look into food sources for important vitamins. Google is your friend. Of course, your diet is your choice, moderation is key, and a balanced life is a healthy life. So, eat the slice of pizza at 3 a.m. – you are in college, after all – just also keep in mind that an apple a day really might just keep the doctor away.
by Allison Yan ’19
Every Lunar New Year, I look forward to food. Friends, family, and fun, too, but mostly food.
Even though my parents immigrated to America years ago and proudly claim to have assimilated to American culture, celebrating Lunar New Year with the people we love has always been a staple of our heritage. The Lunar New Year parties are always an amazing festivity, and the potluck style of the dinner guarantees a variety of wonderful dishes to satisfy anyone and everyone’s cravings.
The preparations for these parties are always a labor of love (emphasis on the labor). It is like Thanksgiving dinner preparations, but the Asian version. My mother, a frequent host of the parties, often spends days in advance preparing the house, and the two days leading up to the party meticulously cooking enough dishes to feed a group of at least 60.
Meats of any (and every!) kind are a cornerstone of the dinner. My mother has always been partial to smoked salmon, and is known among her friend group for having the best salmon dish in town, but she, and all of the other wonderful mothers contribute plentiful types of meats. From spicy chicken to pork to pig ears, there’s something for everyone.
The meat dishes are, of course, supplemented by plentiful amounts of vegetables, noodle dishes, and bao zi (Chinese rolls). My parents and their friends take their spicy food seriously, and it’s not uncommon to see pepper or some other spicy-looking sauce liberally tossed on top of most dishes. The lotus and cauliflower and leeks and chicken dishes are favorites of my family’s. Spicy tofu soup is also a staple of every year’s dinner. As someone who unfortunately can’t handle much spicy food, I usually try to mitigate the burning sensations of too much spicy with copious amounts of rice.
I’ve always had a weakness for the dessert options at these parties. The soft sweetness of the red bean cakes and handmade red bean mochi by family friends complement an otherwise very savory and rich meal. Red bean filling is the most unique part of an Asian dessert dish.
There’s one more dish that I haven’t mentioned: the pork dumplings that my family makes. These dumplings are particularly special to me, because my family actually comes together to help mix the filling, knead the dough, and fold up the finished dumpling into their signature bow shapes. It’s almost difficult to eat the dish that so accurately represents the labor and love that goes into creating a Lunar New Year Dinner.
I have always looked forward to celebrating Lunar New Year with my family. The food, of course, is wonderful, but the sense of joy and community of so many people coming together to eat and celebrate is something unique to this special day.
by Emily Brother ’19
Inspired by the instagram chef, Jacques La Merde, who mimicked the plating techniques of haute cuisine using junk food, I attempted to create my own gourmet-looking dishes using the food from Annenberg. Here are a few of the plates that I made:
- Vegetarian Frittata Garnished with Carrots, Greens, and Tabasco Sauce
2. Sausage Links with Quinoa Raising & Black Bean Salad and Barbeque Sauce
3. Vegetarian Chili with Lettuce, Green Pepper Sauce, and Dijon Mustard
4. Pound Cake with Yogurt and Red Wine Vinaigrette
5. Chicken Bake with Lima Beans and Ketchup
6. Carrots, Cucumber, and Corn with Balsamic Vinegar
- Granola and Yogurt with Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly
by Allison Yan ’19
I’m sure every college student misses a genuine, home-cooked meal from time to time. There’s just nothing like the rich, unique flavors from a family favorite dish or a parent’s particular seasoning choices or a combination of both.
My mom is very particular about healthy foods. Her meals almost always contain greens. I used to bemoan the fact that I had to eat my vegetables. But over time, I appreciated her choices more and more. Yes, sometimes that sprinkle of cilantro and sliced eggplant on a protein heavy dish seemed a little excessive, but it was all in good thought. By the time I started high school, my mom’s lovingly cooked vegetables had become an integral part of my diet: the particular crunchiness of her green beans, her affinity for topping everything with a leafy vegetable, and more. No matter whether she was cooking for the family or bringing dishes to Asian potlucks, my mom would always be ready with the healthy dishes.
Being away from her veggies and her cooking makes me realize just how much her vegetables meant to me. Dining hall vegetables just aren’t the same.
Anyhow, if I’m really gaining the freshman 15, I’m definitely blaming it on the fact that I only eat my mom’s vegetables.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.