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Elephant in the Room: Eating Alone

My roommate is out for the night. Most of my friends are busy. Hodgdon is closed. I need food. What does that mean? I have to eat at the cafeteria.

Alone.

Of course, there are other options, but all of them require money. I’d rather not let a prepaid meal go to waste. But eating alone is a daunting task. Maybe I’ll run into people I know and eat with them. Maybe the cafeteria will be empty. Maybe this will be the day they introduce takeout containers. Unfortunately, none of the possibilities happen. Dewick is jam-packed. I have to find a table beforehand. Somehow, I only find a large round table to eat at. Great.

Perusing the night’s options, I can’t help but think of how to make “eating alone” less stressful. However, that doesn’t work, and I end up piling up my plates with mashed potatoes and stuffing. I fill a cup with cranberry juice and a slight tap of grape juice. I also find myself getting a plateful of craisin nut bars.

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What April Showers Bring: Spring Produce in New England

New England is never particularly kind to the seasonal cook this time of year. Even well beyond the official demarcation of the season when New Yorkers are awash in ramps and the first abundance of asparagus floods the Californian markets, we too often face not-so-gentle reminders of winter in the  frosty mornings and sudden cold snaps that can make it hard to conjure up the same enthusiastic culinary response.

Yet however late spring really arrives, what it brings here is worth waiting for. Perhaps we owe some credit to the cold weather, since it makes the growing season shorter and more fertile and leaves us with some truly fantastic produce in the spring and summer months. Here’s what we think you should look for:

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Food Memoirs

If you’re someone that likes to cook and eat good food, chances are your other leisure activities will reflect that as well. Maybe you visit new cities with the intention of visiting a new restaurant, or your idea of a fun weekend outing is going to a chocolate tasting. One of my favorite things to do is read food novels and memoirs. Sometimes recipes are sprinkled into the chapters, but the focus is on the experience of cooking and learning about food. Food and cooking can evoke a whole range of emotions, so there’s guaranteed to be a book out there that appeals to any type of food-enthusiast. There’s dozens of food novels and memoirs that have been published in the past few decades, but here are a few of my favorites.

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Smoothie Season

Now that the temperature has consistently been hitting 60 degrees, I couldn’t help but write about smoothies. Warm weather and cold beverages – enough said.

The virtues of smoothies: easy to make, easy to eat, easy on the wallet, easy to get creative. Read more

Matzah Madness

March Madness is coming to a close, now it’s time for Matzah Madness! It’s that time of year again when some of us start to overload on carbs because we won’t be able to eat them for a whole eight dayss. Yes, Passover has come upon us Jews, and this eight-day long holiday (Hannukah’s not the only holiday that goes on for eight days, unfortunately) has its own set of dietary laws that come along with it. For these eight long days (not the eight crazy nights Adam Sandler sings about), we must avoid grains like wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt that “have not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after first coming into contact with water.” And most Ashkenazi Jews also avoid rice, corn, peanuts, and beans because, apparently, they resemble grains a great deal and no one wants to accidentally eat a grain during Passover. Rules aside, Passover is a great holiday deeply ingrained in food (no pun intended), as most Jewish holidays are. I’m not going to get into the details here, but I’ll throw in some traditional Passover foods for those of you who can eat grains for the next eight days and may want to learn something new. Read more

Guide to Inman Square

We’ve had a record-busting winter this year, and the mountains of snow and sheets of ice across the state have crystalized as reasonable excuses to stay indoors and on campus. But as the mercury inches back to happier levels, “Go out and play!” the departing winter winds say. But where to and what for? Read more

Guide to Scandinavian Bakeries

Aside from cream cheese Danishes , I think it’s fair to say that the average American college student isn’t exposed all that often to the wonderful world of Scandinavian bakeries. It’s a shame, since the breads, pastries, and desserts from Sweden, Norway and Denmark are just as drool-worthy as French chocolate croissants and Italian cannoli.

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