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Welcome to Food for Thought

Anne Dalke's picture
Welcome to the course forum area for Food for Thought, a College Seminar at Bryn Mawr. This is an interestingly different kind of place for writing, and may take some getting used to, but we hope you'll come to value it as much as students in other courses have.

The first thing to keep in mind is that its not a place for "formal writing" or "finished thoughts." It's a place for thoughts-in-progress, for what you're thinking (whether you know it or not) on your way to what you think next. Imagine that you're not worrying about "writing" but instead that you're just talking to some people you've met. This is a "conversation" place, a place to find out what you're thinking yourself, and what other people are thinking, so you can help them think and they can help you think. The idea is that your "thoughts in progress" can help others with their thinking, and theirs can help you with yours.

So who are you writing for? Primarily for yourself, and for others in both sections of our course. But also for the world. This is a "public" forum, so people anywhere on the web might look in. That's the second thing to keep in mind here. You're writing for yourself, for others in the class, AND for others you might or might not know. So, your thoughts in progress can contribute to the thoughts in progress of LOTS of people. The web is giving increasing reality to the idea that there can actually evolve a world community, and you're part of helping to bring that about.

We're glad to have you along, and hope you value/enjoy sharing the an exploration of food for thought. To get started, introduce yourself here by telling us a story about one of your favorite foods.
Serendip Visitor's picture

Favorite food


My name is Rebecca Militello and I am also in Professor Brodfuehrer's seminar. Choosing a favorite food is somewhat difficult because I am always changing my mind about what my favorite food actually is. Though, at the moment I would have to say that my favorite food would be mangoes. Good mangoes are hard to find, especially living in upstate New York, but the good ones are absolutely delicious...especially when they are used to make refreshing mango smoothies on hot summer days!

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My name is Rebecca Militello and I am also in Professor Brodfuehrer's seminar. Choosing a favorite food is somewhat difficult because I am always changing my mind about what my favorite food actually is. Though, at the moment I would have to say that my favorite food would be mangoes. Good mangoes are hard to find, especially living in upstate New York, but the good ones are absolutely delicious... especially when they are used to make refreshing mango smoothies on hot summer days!

Shayna S's picture

Favorite Food? Lemons!

Hello! I am Shayna Schwartz from Professor Brodfuehrer's seminar. As my classmates are already familiar with, I have picked lemons as my favorite food. Living in Southern California has the advantage of allowing a personal lemon tree that produces juicy, sweet, and large lemons two to three times a year. Fresh lemonade is very soothing on a typical San Diego day and a compliment to any meal. Lemons can add more variety to typically bland or singularly flavored fish, vegetables, and drinks that a kosher kitchen tends to produce. As a kid, I always sucked on lemons because I loved the contradiction of sweet tartness (though my dentist hated what they did to my teeth).

jpfeiffer's picture

My favorite food

My favorite food would probably have to be blueberries. My mother works near a blueberry farm, and each spring she comes home with a ton of blueberries. We have at least ten pounds a week, and my mom makes a plethora of dishes from them.

Anything from blueberry cobbler to blueberry smoothies, I absolutely love eating anything with blueberries. Working in a health food store, I also knw that they are full of antioxidants, so I guess that's another benefit to me loving them!

kscire's picture

The Organic "Industry"

I can honestly say that I wasn't terribly shocked when reading the propaganda employed by some businesses to sell their products. I also found reading this section pretty ironic since I had just stepped foot in a Whole Foods for the first time less than a week ago (and loved it). At home I like to shop at the Common Market or Mom's but usually my family just goes to Giant Eagle because they get fuel perks and a decent selection. I question how big of a movement the "organic movement" is currently because I know a lot of people who are "old school" and have a lot of contempt for untraditional food and food sources. Even if there is only a small push towards less pre-packaged convenience foods and locally grown produce I think that it's a big step in the right direction.
Eliza Brennan-Pratt's picture

Sweet Confusion

Without a doubt, I have become increasingly confused about the everyday food choices I make. I am a lover of Whole Foods, and the name conjures up a variety of delicious foods in my mind, from produce to desserts and everything in between. Simply by buying groceries at Whole Foods, I now realize that I was operating under a false sense of security. I thought, “food here must be healthier and of better quality than the food I buy at Stop and Shop.” To some extent that might be true, but I never knew how caught up I was in the “farmer pastoral” marketing technique that large organic companies want me to eat up. Sure, my food is grown without pesticides but “spraying approved organic agents” and detrimental heavy tilling still exist. What most disillusioned me was the true treatment of free range, organic chickens. I always pictured my chickens to be roaming a small field in the sun while periodically stopping to enjoy their chicken feed. Now I have a very different image of crowded chickens with hardly any outdoor space at all.

Not only was my idea of what “organic” means truly outdated, but also I was unaware of the big business side of the food industry. A part of me wants to cringe at my apparent naiveté, but I would guess that I’m not alone in this. The saying, “ignorance is bliss” truly applied to my previous thinking, yet despite the conflicting ideas and opinions racing around in my head, I feel happy for knowing. Just as a difficult math concept might hit me, I will be bogged down by confusion, but inevitably I trust that I’ll find some sense in all of this. The goal is that eventually I’ll make food decisions not on my incorrect assumptions but on actual fact. For the pleasure that hopefully waits, I’m willing to endure the confusion

Aparajita Bhattacharyya's picture

All of us are buffeted by

All of us are buffeted by the ebb and flow of the food fads which are an inescapable part of our times. Few of us go beyond them to try and understand the motives (not always altruistic) and implications (not unfailingly beneficial) of these "flavours of the day". Michael Pollan does.

Drawing on his formidable powers of investigative journalism, Pollan argues his profound insights with passion and eloquence. His prose, though occasionally heavy for an infant on the path to literary erudition like me, is often exquisite - when he talks, for example, of the 'collective spasms' which afflict our times, the restoration of the 'blamelessness of steak', the 'moral stain' on bread and pasta bankrupting bakeries , 'the koala's culinary preferences (which) are hardwired in its genes' , 'the cornucopia of the American supermarket (which) has thrown us back on a bewildering food landscape' , the lack of 'a steadying culture of food' , paying 'the full karmic price of a meal' , or 'the intricate dance of domestication'.

We agree with Pollan that the confusion and anxiety surrounding what to eat is rooted in the rootlessness of a relatively new nation formed of many immigrant populations who have lost touch with their native wisdom , and exacerbated by the double-edged sword of omnivory which ' offers the pleasures of variety ' and ' allows humans to successfully inhabit virtually every terrestrial environment on the planet ' but brings a lot of stress with it ', notwithstanding our big and intricate brains and expert help from investigative journalists and nutritionists .

We accept Pollan's argument that our place in the food chain has changed us just as we have modified the food chains we depend on . We must be grateful to Michael Pollan for reminding us that with greater power comes greater responsibility ; and that our position at the top of the food pyramid demands that we eat responsibly .

- Aparajita Bhattacharyya

Marisa La Piana 's picture

Big Organic

I found this chapter especially interesting, because my family does shop at Whole Foods pretty often. It is scary how similar the conventional industrial process is to the organic food process which has become indutrialized. The biggest differences are that the animals are fed organic corn and soy feed while the plants are sprayed with pesticides that are derived from plants. It was shocking to hear that most of the organic companies became organic to develop an economic niche as opposed to coming from small-farm ideals. I am from the East Bay in northern California in a town very near to Berkeley so the idea of the "greening" of the counterculture and learning about the hippies in people's park was very interesting. The USDA is very lineant in what they call "healthy" and "organic". This is evident in the fact that they permit some food additives and synthetic chemicals in organic food. Another sad fact that stood out in my mind was the inefficiency of the food industry. An example is the organic salad. They said that to grow, chill, wash, package and tranport a box of organic salad take 57 claories of fossil fuel energy for every calorie of food. Finally, a theme that striked me was the danger of the oversimplification of nature.

Anne Dalke's picture

wanting to know more

I thoroughly enjoyed the beginnings of our conversations together this week; thanks to all who came and participated. I've liked reading about the wide variety in our favorite foods in this forum, and liked even more beginning to explore the implications of our likings in conversation together.

It also occurs to me that--so far--Peter and I make pretty good complement, as guides to this discussion, with me always pushing towards the philosophical, he to the experimental. While I was asking my section about the boundaries of knowledge on Thursday, he was encouraging his to have a lick of corn syrup, a taste of cornstarch. If we can keep these two ends of the discussion connected--from concrete to abstract and back again--it sounds like the beginnings of intellectual work to me!

In Dalton 2 on Thursday, we described our reactions to Pollan's (contrary?) claims that “whatever native wisdom we may once have possessed about eating has been replaced by confusion and anxiety," and that “to eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake…affords satisfaction…the kinds of pleasure that are only deepened by knowing." We wrote for a while about our own experiences of “knowing more”--has it led us to anxiety or to pleasure?

Afterwards, trying to graph our responses, this is what we came up with:

Don't know how legible this will be to anyone who wasn't there, but bottom line is...we're all over the map (both as a group and individually) in terms of our relationship to "wanting to know more. On the one hand, we experience dissatisfaction, confusion, disgust and a fear of risk; on the other, there's adventure, excitement, satisfaction, gratitude and a sense of responsibility...

Very interested to see where we go from here...



Eliza Brennan-Pratt's picture

Chocolate & Strawberries

Hey everyone! I’m eliza ☺ In my mind, strawberries and chocolate definitely triumph over all other foods. I’ve never been drawn to French fries, potato chips, or burgers but I have an insatiable sweet tooth. But in my opinion, I’m not the one to blame because I think it’s in the genes. With my aunt, Carla, who makes her own chocolates and gives them in abundance as gifts, what else would I expect? My love of chocolate became clear at the age of three when I received a massive chocolate Easter egg. It was probably about 9 am and my family was busily preparing breakfast when they realized that little Eliza had suddenly gone missing. After a short yet frenzied search, I was caught devouring my chocolate under the kitchen table, with it smeared all over my mouth. I love dark chocolate and the darker the better. Anything other than chocolate cake is unacceptable for me to eat and I never have been able to understand the fascination with vanilla ice cream.

In western mass, Carla also had a tremendously large garden with a stunning variety of fruits and vegetables. Every fourth of July, Carla made homemade strawberry shortcake with hot biscuits, whipped cream, and lots and lots of freshly picked strawberries from the garden. I would bet that her delicious dessert made me the strawberry addict that I am today. Nowadays, my mom, dad, and I are fruitaholics constantly replenishing the stash in the fridge. We’ve been known to consume the biggest carton of strawberries you can buy at the supermarket in 2 or 3 days. They are just too sweet, juicy, and mouthwatering to pass up.

Michelle Smith's picture

Cavatelli and Broccoli

Hello! I'm Michelle. It's taken a lot of thinking to come up with a food I might even attempt to call my favorite; I have a lot of foods I enjoy eating, of course, but "favorite" seems to conjure up some feelings of finality, and I can assure you there isn't a single food that I can claim as my all-time favorite. But if I consider some other feelings -- associations with memories and family -- I'd have to say my favorite is my father's Cavatelli and Broccoli.

The cavatelli pasta is rolled on the edges, not very long but fat around the middle, thick and warm, the texture is almost like gnocchi but not as rich. He steams the broccoli first and then places it in an iron griddle, crisping butter, Parmesan cheese, and garlic to the florets perfectly. He smokes fresh, hot sausage on the grill outside, slicing each link into thick coins and tossing these into a large pot with the pasta and broccoli. Finally, a good helping of fresh basil and garlic is added to the ingredients and left to sit for a short while, letting the flavors mix and grow richer. Served hot with fresh grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese, this dish could make my mouth water any day of the week. There isn't a smell or taste I associate with my father more than his cavatelli and broccoli.

cantaloupe's picture

stuffed cabbage

Hey everyone, I'm Courtney from New Hampshire.  I grew up in a small town all my life.  The town is mostly apple orchards; people theoretically come from all over the place to buy our apples.  Anyhow, my favorite food isn't an apple because I have had way too many apple dishes in my life.


I actually love all food except maybe cucumbers.  My favorite food changes probably daily, but I will go with the same dish I said in class: stuffed cabbage.  My mom is completely Polish; it was actually her first language.  My grandma still prays in Polish and also makes amazing Polish food.  Sadly, she now has Alzheimer’s disease and is slowly forgetting everything.  She also has blood sugar problems, very poor hearing and desperately needs a knee replacement.  As a result of all these problems, she mostly sits in her own world.  My mom and I visited her and my grandpa over the summer in Detroit to help out with things.  My grandma was doing pretty badly, but one night she suddenly started making stuffed cabbage.  She got out all the ingredients and started making the recipe like nobody's business.  My mom tried to help her, but she kept on telling my mom that she was rolling the cabbage incorrectly.  Stuffed cabbage is just cabbage leaves stuffed with ground beef and white rice topped with tomato sauce.  Anyhow, despite everybody's doubts, the dish came out great and we ate a ton of it.  It just really made me happy that someone like my grandma could still enjoy the small pleasures in life such as Polish cooking.  So, while stuffed cabbage may not be my ultimate dish, I really like it because of the way my grandma can still make it.

mmg's picture

Anything Fishy!

I have grown up loving food. I had never been much of a fussy eater – I remember my mother proudly testifying to that. So until I was 15 and I stayed at home, I did not really know what my ‘favorite food’ was. I liked anything that did justice to my gustatory sensibilities. (I have on occasion feigned stomach ache on knowing that the cook’s culinary skills are questionable). Anyhow, on turning 16, I went away to boarding school and it was after I went there that I realised what my favourite food was (not pasta, as I had earlier thought). It was my mother’s homemade fish and rice. I am Bengali, so I have grown up on all kinds of Bengali dishes. Yet, as I moved away to residential school and survived on cafeteria food, it was fish and rice that made my mouth water (and still does!)

One of my favourite kinds of Bengali fish is tilapia. Until I was eight, I would not eat lunch unless I was given tilapia curry with rice. Same dish, same mealtime story (Little red riding hood). This summer, I redeveloped my love for tilapia when I stayed at home and was continually fed with my choice of food. The tilapia is fried and then dipped into the ingredients of the curry after which the curry is made. My mother uses different techniques to cook this – either mustard paste, or ginger garlic paste, or a ‘clear’ curry with tomato paste and cumin seeds. That mixed with rice is my ultimate food – food that literally makes me happy. At home we eat with hand, and I firmly believe that doing so (mixing the rice and the fish curry with our fingers) adds to the taste and enjoyment of the meal.

yhongo's picture

Ice Cream Lovers

Hi everyone! My name is Yuri Hongo and I'm from Tenafly, New Jersey. My town isn't really known much other than the fact that it has an unnecessary amount of nail salons and bagel stores. Coming from a town where a bagel store is on every corner of the street, I do in fact love bagels. However, my favorite food (or more dessert in this case) is ice cream. My town is surrounded by delicious ice cream stores, that making a run to an ice cream store even late at night has become a part of my daily schedule. There are a limitless number of flavors, but my favorite is "cookies 'n cream" from a homemade ice cream place or "chocolate devotion" from Coldstones. I am, after all, one of those people who pick a dessert from the menu before choosing a meal. As cheesy as this may sound, ice cream has always brought comfort and happiness to me and my friends! 

 As a side note, I am Japanese and often asked whether or not I like sushi. The answer to that question is: no, I unfortunately do not. The only sushi I eat are cucumber rolls and shrimp tempura rolls. After visiting Japan for a few weeks this summer, I have grown to love tempura!  

aybala50's picture

Food Food Food!!!

Hi everyone! I'm Aybala as I already mentioned in class. My favorite food has to be kebab's not only because they are delicious, but also because they remind me of home. I grew up in Adana, Turkey and lived there most of my life. My father owns a restaurant and it became a family tradition to eat lunch there, with him, every saturday. So, every saturday I would go over to my dad's restaurant and eat a kebab. It wasn't until I moved here did I realize how much I loved the spicy taste and smell of the kebab wrapped in delicious and fresh out of the oven pita bread. Now that I don't get to eat it too often it became my favorite food. I think that any favorite anything in this world has to have meaning behind it, even food! 
Michelle Chen's picture

My favorite food!

It's really difficult for me to choose a favorite food because I love food so much. Being in a very Chinese oriented family and celebrating many of the traditional holidays, I eat a lot of different types of food because generally each holiday is related to a specific food. For example, the Moon Festival is coming up and during that holiday I eat mooncake. Therefore, upon choosing my favorite food, I decided to choose one thing from one of my favorite types of foods which is fruit. I love all fruits because they're very easy to eat and make a wonderful snack in the middle of the day. In class, I chose passionfruit as my favorite food because it is a fruit that I rarely eat and I miss it. When I was in Taiwan, I had it just about every single day. It is rather sour and the edible seeds add a flavorful crunch. Most people eat as a measure of survival, but I think eating brings people together and it's something that should be enjoyed every bite of the way.

Shoshi's picture

I come from California

I come from California which, as many people have already said, has a large variety of different foods ranging from Mexican, to Italian, or Mediterrean. I picked these three examples mainly because those are my three favorite food "genres" as my mom would say.
Growing up, I was VERY picky about what I would eat and I actually ate the same thing, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, every day at lunch starting in first grade, all the way to fifth grade.
Up until about a year ago, I was still picky and did not like trying new foods...then I tried Mexican food. When I was younger, I always thought that Mexican food looked kinda gross, so I never ate it. But when I tried it a year ago, I fell in love with it. I realized I loved Mexican food and I had been missing out on it all these years. Then I started to think, what else have I been missing all these years? So I started trying new things, and to answer the question, I do not yet know what my favorite food is, but I am going to find out!

hwiencek's picture

favorite food!

Whenever we have leftover pasta (which we do fairly often as it's an easy meal for my mom) in our refrigerator at home I can never resist adding a big spoonful of hummus and some cheddar cheese and warming it all up in the microwave until it's all melted and gooey.  I mix it all up until the hummus and cheese covers all the pasta.  It looks pretty unappetizing but the smell of the garlic and the cheese is really delicious.  I never really make this meal on the first run of the pasta, it's almost always with leftover pasta...and believe me I pounce at that pasta when it's there!  I'm not even that sure how I found this meal, I think my mom tried it one day (without the cheese) and mentioned it, so I tried it.  But, my mom apparently didn't like it as much as I did because she has never done it again, and I do it pretty much weekly.  It is so comfortingly warm and tasty.  And I miss it terribly here at Bryn Mawr!
swhitt's picture

Favorite food(s)

I'm into food. I like to grow it, smell it, smush it, create with it, play with it, consume it. Certain foods are special, usually because of the social interactions to which I connect them. As a child I would spend a week or two each summer on my Grandparents' farm.  A particulary fond memory is that of picking green tomatoes with my Grandmother, who would then fry them in a mix of cornmeal and cumin (she puts cumin in everything; this is one of the dishes in which it really works).  Naturally, I've since been unable to recreate this particular mix of slightly sour fruit and carefree summer day.  Comfort foods remain a favorite, though, the most recent of which is mango sticky rice.  A friend introduced me to this wonder when I spent a couple of weeks recouping in her home after a particulary rough year. The night I arrived, Kris magically produced an amazing mound of chewy rice drenched with intensely sweet mango syrup. I think it had traces of lavender in it (although I could be embellishing my memory).  She now makes it as a late night snack whenever I visit and this sensory experience -- the sugary smell, the almost white draped in vivid orange, the warm dense liquidy bite -- tells me I home, I am safe, I am cared for.'s picture

My Momma's Thai Soup

I live in a 3 story town house and I can always smell spicy aroma of my favorite food all the way from my top floor room. My favorite food is my mother's Thai Soup. I think she found the recipe from the Washington Post so I can't give her credit for creating although she does like to add her own twists. It can be made with either chicken or tofu (for the vegetarians). I'm always able to tell if the broth is from scratch or the box. Then my mom adds a can of coconut milk, some fresh squeezed lime juice, and thai chiles. The number chiles depends on how excruciating you want the experience to be. Then she stirs in the rice (usually white). Lastly comes the split peas. The peas are only cooked for a few minutes so that they remain crunchy. I stand by the belief that this soup can cure all ails. I promise it will bring tears to your eyes, literally.

jfahl's picture

Red or Green?

    As the days begin to shorten, all around New Mexico bags of chilli are being picked and prepped for roasting. Albuquerque is transformed by the hatch roast. Roasters are brought out onto the streets and slowly turned as the rich fiery smell escapes into air and hangs in the atmosphere as a reminder that fall is fast approaching. Chilli is not only a staple of a New Mexican diet but part of our cultural identity. So much so that our official state question, "Red or Green?" asks which chilli you prefer.

    Green Chilli has a spicy sharp taste whereas Red has a much more smokey taste, which is better for darker meats like beef and pork. Regardless of mood or really even the type of food I eat, chilli is always the perfect compliment. I associate it with some of my happiest memories of home. So while I recognize that the seasons are changing, it is getting colder and darker, without the smell of chilli in the air it just doesn't feel like fall.

jfahl's picture

Red or Green?

    As the days begin to shorten, all around New Mexico bags of chilli are being picked and prepped for roasting. Albuquerque is transformed by the hatch roast. Roasters are brought out onto the streets and slowly turned as the rich fiery smell escapes into air and hangs in the atmosphere as a reminder that fall is fast approaching. Chilli is not only a staple of a New Mexican diet but part of our cultural identity. So much so that our official state question, "Red or Green?" asks which chilli you prefer.

    Green Chilli has a spicy sharp taste whereas Red has a much more smokey taste, which is better for darker meats like beef and pork. Regardless of mood or really even the type of food I eat, chilli is always the perfect compliment. I associate it with some of my happiest memories of home. So while I recognize that the seasons are changing, it is getting colder and darker, without the smell of chilli in the air it just doesn't feel like fall.

Natalie Mackow's picture

Chicken Noodle soup.

Some of my earliest memories are of my family visits with my Grandparents. I remember vividly their cozy house, the warm and inviting living room in which we watched game shows, the comfort of their hugs. These visits, especially in the winter, were sometimes accented by the flavor of my Nana's chicken noodle soup. I'm not sure how she made it, though I think she cooked the broth from scratch, but it was delicious. The final product consisted of tasty broth and tiny square noodles and I called it "Nana's Square Soup".

Years later, Chicken noodle soup is still one of my favorite concoctions. My Mom makes it from scratch, boiling the chicken and celery and carrots and whatnot in a large pot and filling the entire house with the aroma of hot, tasty soup. She doesn't make it with square noodles, in fact I don't think I've had soup with Square noodles since my Nana used to make it for me, but it still fills me up with happy memories.

emily's picture

Food Lover.

I said in class that my favorite food is eggplant parm, but I honestly don't think I can commit to any food the grand title of My Favorite Food. I said eggplant parm in class because that is what I was craving at the moment, although it definitely is a favorite dish of mine. In my opinion, almost anything can be good if it is made with a combination of cheese and tomatoes. But what makes eggplant parm stand out so far above the rest of these dishes in my mind is really the texture. One cannot find the the mushy melty texture of eggplant parm in any other tomatoe-cheese combo dishes, such as certain pastas and chicken. There are also many fruits, vegetables, and assorted desserts which compete with eggplant parm for this high rank. I cannot think of any food more refreshing than a nice apple. The crisp body and flavor of the apple can top off any meal and always leaves me satisfied. I also enjoy berries very much. Berries are treated sort of as a delicacy in my household. This is because they are rather expensive in comparison to other fruits, so my mom would not buy them as much, and because everybody in my family loves them. Don't even get me started on my favorite type of berry...I could never decide! But what I do know is I love the juicy, sweet yet tart experience that berries provide for me. Skipping the vegetable section, or else I would never get to my other homework, I have to say that desserts are definitely up there on my list of favorite foods. Honestly, what is better than good chocolate? My favorite combination of sweet flavors is probably chocolate and coconut. The only thing that will get me to eat in Haffner Dining Hall this year will be the oatmeal-chocolate chip-coconut-macadamia nut cookies. A take on the ever popular dessert known as the seven layer bar, or as I like to call them heaven layer bar, which are also a favorite of mine!
eolecki's picture

My Favorite Food

Hi, my name is Elizabeth Olecki.  My favorite food at the moment is pad se ewe.  It is a Thai dish that has thick noodles with carrots and broccoli and chicken in a sweet soy sauce.  I am from central Ohio, which as you can probably imagine is not so diverse. This means ethnic foods are pretty rare.  I actually had pad se ewe for the first time last summer in Washington D.C. while I was serving as a Congressional Page.  I was a bit hesitant when some people decided to go get Thai food because I had never had it, but I went anyways and discovered my new favorite food.  As I see more and more of the surrounding area I really appreciate the variety of ethnic restaurants and am anxious to try more new things.      
Katie Merrill's picture

My favorite food

My favorite food is sushi. There is something about sticky rice and seaweed paper that can't be beat. As for my favorite kind of sushi it's hard to say, but as of lately I like tuna and masago the most.
I think the reason I like sushi so much is because it gives me the opportunity to try something out of the ordinary and experiment with different tastes. I love trying new rolls stuffed with various types of raw fish; I'll basically try anything once (which is not always a good thing!) In addition to the actual sushi, the things that come with it like the ginger and wasabi and the edemame you get before the meal make the whole "sushi experience" more interesting and enjoyable- not to mention the soy sauce, which is a must!

-Katie Merrill

Ann Kaltwasser's picture

I'd make an awful vampire.

Hey, my name's Ann Kaltwasser (CULT-WAH-SIR). As I said in class, I LOVE GARLIC. Juicy, delicious, chewy, crunchy garlic. I love it in guacamole. Garlic complements virtually every meat, but it's the best way to add to something that's been tenderized. Brascole is one of the best Italian foods my mom makes. You take beef or veal (I'll have to ask her) and pound it with a textured hammer. Then you roll the meat in olive oil and coat it with parmesean cheese. It gets even better, because the garlic is next! Once it's all in there, you wrap the meat and pin it to keep it in a rolled shape. I think you brown it first, and then it sits in delicious, garlicy pasta sauce forever to make it all flaky and tender. Biting into brascole is like biting into an amazing, garlic-and-cheese-filled beef surprise. Your breath is horrendous afterwards, but it's worth it.
Garlic is also a perfect ingredient for veal goulash, which I have no cultural connection to, but still tastes amazing. Except sometimes the intense spices make it hard to ender the garlic. It's good in meatballs, veal and chicken saltimbocca, garlic bread, with onions for added stench and flavor, stir-fry combos, and I guess fish, too, but my diet doesn't venture under the sea.
As you can see, tender, spicy meat is a favorite of mine, but it reaches extreme levels of heavenly deliciuousness when you add the magic ingredient: GARLIC!

(I brush my teeth a lot, I swear.)

lraphael's picture

chicken pad thai

Ever since I can remember my family has made sure that dinner was a time where we all sat down and ate together. There has always been a few problems and the first is that no one is really good at cooking. The other is that my household is full of allergies and therefore my family is forced to have bland dinners. My father is allergic to gluten, onions, garlic, mostly all spices, chocolate, and recently he thinks milk. In return I have grown to hate spices even simple black pepper. Usually it is too complicated and too expensive to create a wonderful gluten free meal that everyone likes so we go out to eat a lot. Chicken pad thai has recently become my favorite food within the past four years because of the amazing textures of softness and crunchiness combined. The flavors just pop for me and while some may taste my spice-less pad thai and call it bland or boring, to me it is a wonderful change to the usual plain chicken and brown rice at home and I just LOVE IT! 

 Leigh Raphael 

michelle han's picture

Hi, I am a huuuge fan of

Hi, I am a huuuge fan of comfort food. Maybe because it offers a sense of immediate gratification, without sacrificing taste, I find macaroni and cheese to be especially satisfying and nourishing. It might lack the flavor, quality, and perhaps nutrition of other sophisticated foods, however, I must point out that macaroni and cheese can be quite taste-less and bland if not correctly prepared. Unfortunately, it is a meal that generally appeals to young children, and not adults, but that alone is not enough to change my mind. I love curling up with a bowl of macaroni and cheese. :)

ihe's picture

beef carpaccio

My favorite dish is probably beef carpaccio with arugula, parmesan and balsamic vinegar. My dad loves to eat out, and try the different types of cuisine in the city. He would always order it and soon i got into the habit of ordering it too.

This dish is presented like a piece of art work. The thin sliofces of beef placed in a circular flower like shape, and in the middle is the sprinkled arugula and parmesan. The balsamic vinegar is then drawn on, to decorate the dish and make it tastierrrr. :D:D 

Its awesome and healthy!

lwacker's picture

Yum Yum Yum!

Hey everyone. I guess this would be hard to perfectly recreate in the dining halls but I’ll tryand simulate the creation of my favorite treat here so you could attempt to putsomething like it together.

I’ve found thatthe simplest most accessible source of comfort I know to heal a broken heart orto celebrate a personal victory is the moment one sinks there teeth into ahearty Wolferman’s English muffin heaped high with delectable toppings.However, before doing so, one must first prep the English muffin correctly.It’s best served lightly toasted, if possible to a golden-brown crisp. Peanutbutter should be room temperature when spread on the English muffin followed bya generous sprinkling of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Then back in the toastergoes the massive treat for a little chocolate melting time. The very lasttouch, before devouring this delicious dessert, is the addition of a sprinklingof coconut shavings for good measure.

I know it soundslike a totally ridiculous concoction but it is totally scrumptious and worthtrying!

-Lee Wacker



Aparajita Bhattacharyya's picture

A FISHY TAIL! My ancestors


My ancestors came from Bengal - a delta fissured by a profusion of rivers and their tributaries.Fish is naturally an essential and irreplaceable part of the diet in this part of the world and Hilsa ('Ilish' in Bengali) is the crown jewel.I am a true Bengali in that my anytime anywhere favorite food is Hilsa.

Hilsa is nutritious - it is an oily fish which is rich in essential (omega 3) fatty acids. It also has a divine aroma, flaky texture and a sweetish taste, all of which combine to elevate Hilsa to the pinnacle of the Bengali's gastronomic aspirations.It is not surprising that the Bengali considers Hilsa to be a food fit to be offered to the Gods.And little Bengali girls learn a popular nursery rhyme which sings about how a beloved new daughter-in-law cooked a gravy with Hilsa!

I love Hilsa prepared in any way - steamed, smoked, baked in young plantain leaves, fried, in a mustard or curd gravy, with eggplant, ladyfinger or gourd or little cones of sun-dried lentil paste or condiments like cumin or onion seeds.The tail is the prized slice, offered to special guests though even the oil in which Hilsa is fried is sublime mixed with hot rice and a little salt and revved up with bites of fresh green chilly. Hilsa roe is also a popular side dish with lentils and rice or just by itself as a cocktail snack.

Like with all good things in life, there are, literally, bones to pick with Hilsa, which is crisscrossed by numerous bones. Enter resourceful chefs who serve deboned Hilsa. Kudos as well to the enterprising souls who substitute the shad fish (typically found off the east coast of North America and with a flavor and consistency similar to that of Hilsa) in Bengali cuisine in the US. It is prophetic that the word "shad" means "a wonderful taste" in Bengali!

- Aparajita Bhattacharyya

Stephanie Kim's picture

Food for Thought

Hi- it's a little nerdy for me to start this already, but I don't think I'll get around it later so I'll just finish it off:)

I'm originally from California, but ethnically I'm Korean so I've been able to experience a lot of different kinds of food, not to mention spices. Although I do miss the occasional Korean dish, I must say that my favorite food is mango.

I was voted out of my graduating class 'most likely to win a eating contest', so I find it pretty ironic I settled for a fruit instead of a overwhelming dish. I voted on mango because of how it can vary (firm, squishy, etc) but in the end, they all taste good eitherway. They're arguably seasonal, but it's always great waiting around for them. I think my favorite reason is that it isn't as fattening as snacking on chips at midnight and that they still taste amazing eaten raw, juiced, blended, or frozen.

Anonymous's picture

My favorite food

My favorite food is definitely pesto. Pesto by itself isn't a dish, composed of olive oil and chopped basil leaves it's a sauce, a condiment, and an enhancing agent. It can turn your most basic foods, for example pasta and chicken, into fabulous meals. In my experience, pesto has the availability to transform seemingly dangerous foods into delectable treats.
When I was ten years old, I was offered escargot at a restaurant in Paris. I responded as you would expect most ten year olds to, with a wrinkled nose and a definitive no. Despite my reluctance to try the escargot, my parents ordered it anyway. As the waitress neared our table, the familiar aroma filled my nose. Without a thought, I put aside my prejudice against the slimy snail, forked one, and ate it. I enjoyed it immensely. Since this experience, I've had an unwavering faith in my favorite pesto, to always be delicious.

Yellow's picture


I've always loved pasta. Like a pair of jeans, it can be dressed up or dressed down. It's also relatively simple to make. My favorite variety is those long, thin noodles that are somewhat round, not flat, and go easily onto a fork. The sauce is buttery, not oily, and the herbs are fresh. My family plants tomatoes, basil, some corn, flowers, strawberries and blue berries in our small garden. But my favorite plants are the herbs. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage all decorate the buttery, garlicky pasta. It is flavorful without being too rich. It is fresh, homemade, and summery. And the best part is that I can and DO make it for myself.





On a completely unrelated note, I also love sushi.

Anonymous's picture

Favorite Food

Hi Everyone! My name is Marisa La Piana. As I said in class, I grew up in the Bay Area in Nothern California where we have a variety of different restaurants that offer food from around the world. I am Sicilian on my paternal side and so at home we enjoy a healthy dose of simple carbohydrates- pasta, bread, pizza and more pasta, bread and pizza. Personaly, I was a vegetarian for 7 years and now eat chicken, turkey and some kinds of fish- my favorite is salmon! I guess I have just never really been a meat person. Being from California, I love fruit and we have an amazing assortment to choose from! Grapes are one of my favorites. I also make smoothies with low fat yogurt and fruit. I spent the past year on a gap year traveling around Central and South America. Rice and beans became my comfort food in Costa Rica! Bolivian food is not my favorite but it was interesting to see what people ate and where. Some communtiies up in the high Andes only really have access to potatos and alpaca. The typical dish in La Paz has a soup as the first course and then rice, cabbage, tomatos and meat or chicken as the second course. One thing I did enjoy was the Andean power-grain quinoa, it is delicious and gives you lots of energy.

Anne Dalke's picture

Metaphor enrichment

Just to enrich our first feast....
here's a record of the metaphors for the classroom which were offered up in Dalton 2 today. In all of them, the college became the "holding structure" for what we will be doing together, but there were many different ideas and visions for just what that might be, as well as quite a variety of thoughts about where the agency and energy and shape of the classroom comes from....

classroom students teacher
adventure adventurers map
dinner party guests host other dinner parties
baby family head of family
everyone the baby comes in contact with
blank canvas
paint brush easel
a new home
furniture rug/floor roof
library books librarian tripod (internet server for 3 colleges)
cold room
heat thermostat weather
characters plot/conflict library
worms mama bird
presenters convener conference host
dark basement
friends hanging out t.v. or couch other rooms in the house
fountain drops of water
spurty thing
collage pieces glue base
snowball ice particles what holds it together

original snowball


Anonymous's picture

Favorite Food

My favorite food definitely has to be chicken tenders. The availability and familiarity of the food makes it easy to like. I used to have a really unhealthy lifestyle that included going out to eat frequently and consuming bad foods. Chicken tenders gave me a middle of the road point to improve my overall lifestyle. While they're definitely not the healthiest option they allow you to order them without encountering disapproving glances around the table. Chicken tenders are just "normal" enough.

-Katie S.

Anne Dalke's picture

Ultimate Comfort

I've been teaching @ Bryn Mawr for 26 years, and every one of those years I've offered a first-year writing course. But this is the first one called "Food for Thought," and the first one where I've been thinking analytically about the food I like, and what the psychological, economic and political implications of those likings might be. I'm not nervous, but I am very intrigued to see what we'll find out together.

I'm from a very large southern family of farmers who raise a good portion of their own food--including beef and pork--and who love to get together to plant and weed and harvest and cook and eat. One of my favorite childhood memories is picking up potatoes with all my cousins--I still remember the warm soil under my bare feet, and the fun of following the plow and finding the potatoes. This was the epitome of my family's ethic: work-as-productive pleasure. (Then there was the reward of a trip to the drug store and a lemon phosphate afterwards.)

A current favorite food is something we call "squash bread"--it's a sort of spoon bread made with yellow squash. In July and August, when the garden is producing more squash than even this huge family can figure what to do with, we eat a LOT of squash bread. It's soft and sweet and warm: the ultimate comfort food.

pbrodfue's picture

Welcome and my favorite food

Hi. I would also like to welcome you to Food for Thought. I am starting my 19th year in the biology department, but this is my 1st year teaching in the college seminar program. This is both exciting and a bit scary. It is exciting because I find the topic fascinating, and because of the course structure / format. I am a bit nervous about teaching the course because it is so different from other types of teaching I have done at the college. I have not felt this nervous about teaching a course since my first year! But I am not sure that that is a bad thing!

When I was a kid, my favorite food was lasagna. My grandmother, who was Italian, often made lasagna for our family Sunday dinners. I use to think her lasagna was great, until I moved away from home and started cooking. My wife, Madge (BMC ’81), and I love to cook, and we have developed into pretty good cooks. She loves to find new recipes and I love working together preparing the dishes. Once I started cooking, I quickly realized that my grandmother was not a good cook. Her food was bland. Maybe that is why I liked it as a kid? My grandmother’s food was bland because she did not use a lot of spices, especially garlic. Why wouldn’t my grandmother, a child of Italian immigrants, use garlic? I think it has a lot to due with her parents trying to assimilate into America.