May 4, 2006

Making Sense of Moments

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There are those who eat to live, and those of us who live to eat. I was the strange one in high school who, after being told there was no eating in class unless there was enough food to share, baked cookies for the entire class. My home page is not set to or to Google News, but to When I was accepted at Cornell, I raced to my mom’s Moosewood cookbook to make sure that the “Ithaca” imprinted on the title page was the same as Cornell’s Ithaca. Other universities I visited boasted dingy, paltry dining facilities: particularly in the South, dining halls love to boast menus of fried chicken, fried corn, fried bread, fried fish, and fried green tomatoes. I knew I was going to the right university when I noticed the Princeton Review’s high ratings of Cornell Dining.
Ironically, my first food experience at Cornell did not occur in a dining hall, but at Collegetown Bagels. After spending 20 full minutes pursuing the menu, I decided to order the mysterious “vegetarian bagel,” loaded with veggie cream cheese, topped with a thick slice of tomato, and adorned with gooey muenster cheese. Four years later, it’s still my favorite.
I met one of my three best friends during week one at Cornell after, you guessed it, discussing Ithaca’s restaurants. She was a senior food addict who had never eaten at Moosewood, and I was a freshman who was dying to try it. The rest is history. I had proof that there are others on this campus like me, who “live to eat”-I just needed to find them. After spending the last four years honing the definition of the food-lover, I’ve arrived at a short list of observations. You might be a “foodie” if:
1) You attend lectures for the food
2) You avoid events that don’t include food
3) You took HA 438
4) It’s Saturday, and you’re thinking about the meal you’re going to eat on Wednesday
5) Botched dinner plans result in greater depression than a botched final exam
6) Seventy-five percent of the photos on your camera are food related
7) You collect food magazines like Hugh Huefner collects women
8) You cross-reference at least five different recipes before making a new dish
9) You can’t understand why others at the gym ask you to close your food magazine or change the channel from the Food Network
10) You work out so you can eat more
11) Wasting food is a cardinal sin
12) While your companions are preoccupied with turning their slice-and-bake cookies into body parts, you’re hand-mixing homemade dough
13) You can’t go to the movies without buying popcorn-a tub of popcorn
14) Sharing food requires supreme effort on your part
15) Vending machine candy isn’t good enough for your chocolate fix
16) You clock more hours watching cooking shows than at your on-campus job
17) Your friends travel to foreign countries for tourist, literary, or spiritual experience: you go for the sole purpose of trying a particular restaurant or cuisine
18) It ticks you off to go to a restaurant when you could have prepared the meal better yourself
19) Dessert buffets are heavenly
20) Especially chocolate buffets
21) Dreams take place in colors AND flavors
22) Trying new foods is more thrilling than skydiving
23) Walking across campus in the sub-zero weather only to wait outside in a queue for 45 minutes to attend an annual cultural food event is well worth the effort
24) You don’t merely eat food: you experience food
25) All of your favorite memories involve food, and your future plans revolve around food . . .
At this time of year, seniors spend a lot of time defining how they’re going to remember Cornell. Some rattle off a series of academic moments: favorite classes, psychotic professors, piles of assignments. Others describe social moments: crazy nights during orientation week, drunken hookups, dormitory antics. I think I’ll remember food moments: running around the Ithaca Farmers market in determination to sample from each booth, gaping at the Madelines’ dessert case, sharing black and white cookies with my boyfriend at CTB, discovering the art of chocolate tasting while studying abroad, indulging in a three-hour dinner with my friends in the dining hall. If your memories are also a series of food moments, then you “live to eat”-welcome to the foodie club.

Archived article by Anna Fishman