Last spring, I recorded my diet three weeks before the Fargo Marathon. Currently, I’m building back towards marathon fitness, and so I decided to undertake another brief food diary. The hardest part about eating a reasonably healthy and diverse diet in college, at least at Columbia, is a paucity of easily accessible fruits and vegetables. Keeping a supply of produce on hand requires careful management of refrigeration space and frequent stops at the supermarket. Essentially, I’m just making excuses for randomly binging on huge bowls of vegetables (instead of spreading out my servings throughout the day) and for not eating the macronutrient proportions ideal for marathon training. Gotta live a little. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: November 2011
On Sunday nights, I like to make a hearty soup or braise that lasts through the week. This lima bean stew puts flesh on flimsy rib bones. After Thanksgiving, try substituting light or dark turkey for the sausage. In fact, any meat will do—this recipe relies on the satiating sapor of sweet, thick beans for its substance. Meat merely provides additional interest. Continue reading
I’m in Chengdu Heaven.
There’s a plate of pig ear chopped in thin chunks, absolutely drenched in chili oil and Sichuan peppercorn and covered with something green that tastes like scallion, and I’m stuffing my face. The chopsticks won’t stop careening from styrofoam plate to mouth; I want to stop and my tongue buzzes but my hands involuntary swipe at more ear, rubbery and crunchy like giant pale rubber bands. “This is some pretty good pig ear,” I say, in between bites, and Chef (who’s worked at all sorts of Michelin starred and otherwise applauded restaurants) just nods, his mouth full of dan dan noodles or tripe slathered in more of that ma la concoction, I can’t really tell because he’s really shoveling it in vigorously and enjoying it. Frankie From Seattle is taking a break from the tripe (which also comes with tongue) and is capable of agreeing with me in no uncertain terms: “The best ear I’ve ever eaten.” Continue reading
Jonathan May, Dartmouth College
Having learned of my passion for food, my new friend asked for my thoughts on the best restaurants in New York City, where I reside. At the time, I was unable to give a definite answer, and my friend was baffled by my inability to do so. As a college student, I am a foodie on a limited budget. I am not fortunate enough to have the kind of wealth that allows me to experience world-renowned establishments like those in Columbus Circle. Without having tried enough restaurants, expensive or affordable, I was uncomfortable giving a hardly thorough opinion that ought to represent my vision and taste. However, I do believe that not all good food is expensive. I know for a fact that there exist hidden gems that offer superior flavor, creativity, effort and sincerity at affordable prices. It is discovering these establishments and sharing them with my friends and audience that continually drives my passion for food writing.
On York Street near the medical school, a whole world of food awaits an undergraduate willing to take a walk. I don’t speak of a fine dining establishment or a legendary diner; instead, a short trek would take a student into a village of food carts and trucks in all sizes and varieties. Njoki Gitahi, a graduate student in the graphic design program at Yale’s School of Art (you can see more of her work at www.njokigitahi.com), visited the colony and came back with beautiful images of a diverse community.
When I was 15, I desperately wanted to be gourmet. I read Michael Ruhlman’s books like fantasy novels, plumbed the depths of MFK Fisher and Waverly Root, and took over the kitchen to prepare elaborate family dinners. Gourmet was my bible, my textbook, my travel guide, my daily devotional; one Thanksgiving, inspired by a Gourmet recipe, I proposed an alternative turkey stuffing, something fancier than my dad’s usual stovetop invention. Met with firm resistance, I surrendered, shamed at my affectations of sophistication and snobbery. “Discerning, not discriminating,” became my mantra after that Thanksgiving fiasco, and I continue to consume high and low without preference or moral judgment.
Besides an interest in pretentious cooking, my 15-year-old-self expressed a fascination with fine dining. After pouring over Ruhlman’s The Soul of a Chef four times, I fell in love with The French Laundry. Ruhlman describes The French Laundry Experience in mystical terms; Thomas Keller figures as a demigod, a Zen master, a new philosopher for the modern cook. I incorporated Keller’s maxims into my daily life; I sought to emulate his “sense of urgency,” to pursue perfection in every movement. A family vacation to San Francisco offered an opportunity for pilgrimage, and my parents agreed to a Yountville day trip with enthusiasm. Continue reading