Whether it’s the warm crackle of freshly baked bread in the morning, an odd yet delicious array of flavors in kitchen-sink soup or the spiced aroma of apple pie, something about food sets the tone of a living space. Community is built around food. Between the limitations of on-campus dining, learning remotely and finding ourselves inside more often than not with disrupted schedules, students are finding beauty and ritual around shared meals.
We asked several students to share their favorite culinary ventures. Below, we’ve compiled their recipes, thoughts, and photos for you to browse or make for yourselves. However, we know there are many more talented chefs and bakers out there, bringing life to your apartment or dorm room with tasty meals. We’d love to hear from you!
If there’s a recipe or experience surrounding food you’d like to have considered for a future article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, enjoy these dishes from your peers.
This is the dish my family is known for. It was a weekly staple growing up and was almost a guaranteed dinner every time we went to my grandma’s house. My grandma has six granddaughters, so browning butter and knowing how to perfectly match the acidity of vinegar with the fat of olive oil were the first things we learned how to do in the kitchen. To this day, whenever my childhood friends come over, they ask for Greek pasta and salad. I don’t know if browned butter pasta is a Greek thing, but my grandma would adamantly say it is. (My family is pretty much the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” kind of Greek, so take that as you will.)
This dish always reminds me of home. When I first arrived at Wheaton, I found myself craving it often. Now that I have a kitchen of my own, I have found myself adopting this as a week-night staple. The smell, taste and sight takes me right back to more wonderful memories than I can count. The whole thing is so simple and comes together quickly. Plus, an easy vinaigrette is always a good thing to know how to do, and learning to brown butter is definitely a skill that can be used to impress your friends.
1 box of pasta
(Any shape of pasta works, but I personally love penne for this dish because it is what my mom has always used, but also because the brown butter gets caught both in the pasta’s ridges and in the tube.)
1/2 stick of salted butter
~1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
~2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
This is a mix-and-match dish where you can add or subtract any kind of topping/sauce you want. It’s not restrictive, so freestyle!
Tteokbeokki (Sticky Rice Cakes)
½ pound ground meat
Green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish oil
2 teaspoons white or black pepper
2 pinches salt
Broth or water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Any more toppings you want: ham, sausage, Spam, ramen noodles, etc.
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons fish oil
Optional: Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
Optional: Red pepper flakes or Gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
Because I’m a remote student this semester, there have been definite highs and lows, but baking has been my constant. This recipe came from my grandpa, who passed away this year. He was an avid baker, and there was never a family occasion where he showed up without a pie. He would make up to five pies a week just to pass around his neighborhood, even as he aged. I’m grateful I was able to humbly attempt his recipe this fall and even use apples from his own tree for the filling. Losing a loved one is hard, especially during a pandemic, but I’m so glad that even one recipe can hold so many precious memories.
1 ¼ cups pastry flour blend or all purpose flour
Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½” pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
3 ½ to 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced; enough to make 8 cups sliced apples
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons boiled cider, optional but tasty
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or ¼ cup pie filling enhancer
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
8 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into pats
(Recipe from King Arthur Baking Company)
Late nights making falafel or mango sticky rice and reflecting on relationships and life-callings. Check-ins over housemate dinners of mapo tofu and rice, laughter on the sofa eating experimental chickpea waffles.
Our kitchen provides a gathering space, a cross-over of schedules and stolen moments to chat, to pause in the business of the week or day or hour, and grow closer to one another. Communing around the same foods from our different homes and cultures and parts of the world lends a space to celebrate differences, open conversations about our contexts, to give and to receive. Food makes our house feel like a home.
Wheaton College, IL