After two years of planning, development and hard work, Anabel’s Grocery had its grand opening in Anabel Taylor Hall at the end of last semester. A student-run grocery store designed to combat food insecurity on campus, Anabel’s aims to offer nutritious, affordable food to the Cornell community while also offering advice and classes on cooking and healthy eating. Following their grand opening last May, Anabel’s reopened to the public for the Fall semester this week.
I spoke with Project Coordinator Alexandra Donovan ’18 about what’s new at Anabel’s this semester. While there was some community engagement in the past, she told me that this Fall Anabel’s aims to increase that as much as possible. She also added that this semester there will be increased “emphasis on tailoring our product mix to student response, sharing recipes that are built around our products, buying seasonally to offer the best prices and partnering with local business and student organizations [such as Dilmun Hill Student Farm] to provide better access to their products.”
During its soft opening last May, Anabel’s encouraged students to fill out feedback forms to indicate any additional products or changes they’d like to see. Based on this feedback, said Donovan, “We’ve taken an even closer look at our pricing — we’ve done more price comparisons and incorporated specific responses about prices. We’ve also increased our selection of grab and go items and aimed to make them healthier: hummus, nuts, easy-to-grab fruit and soon we plan to have prepared foods from Manndible and Fork & Gavel.” In addition, Anabel’s is also featuring more meat products than were previously offered.
According to the director of programming, Nicholas Karavolias ’18, one of the most exciting initiatives this semester is the focus on seasonality. Anabel’s is sourcing some of their products from Dilmun Hill Student Farm, a student-run farm located on campus. Anabel’s is currently featuring bok choy and winter squash — which, despite its name, is actually harvested in summer and fall — from Dilmun. Neither of these are ingredients that I typically cook with, so I wanted to prove to other easily intimidated students and to myself that it’s possible to make easy, healthy and seasonal recipes with unfamiliar ingredients. I also wanted to test out whether it truly is possible to get all the ingredients you would need to cook your weekly meals from Anabel’s at an affordable price. In the spirit of seasonal cooking, I collaborated with Karavolias to develop a winter squash recipe made entirely from ingredients that can be purchased from Anabel’s.
Roasted Cheesy-Garlic Veggie Delight
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 – 45 minutes
Ingredients (and Anabel’s pricing)
2 winter squash, sliced thick ($0.75 per pound)
2 large tomatoes, sliced thick ($1.00 per pound)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half ($1.40 per pint)
3 tablespoons olive oil ($7.02 per bottle)
4 cloves garlic, minced ($3.22 per pound)
1/2 cup shredded cheese mix ($2.39 per bag)
1 pinch pepper ($1.17 per unit)
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl mix garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper together.
3. Place squash, large tomatoes and grape tomatoes in a large bowl. Pour olive oil mixture on top and toss vegetables until well coated. Arrange vegetables onto the baking sheet and sprinkle cheese throughout. Roast in oven until cheese is golden brown, between 25 and 30 minutes.
1. In a bowl fresh from the oven
2. On a freshly toasted baguette
3. On top of a sautéed chicken breast
Try your best to cut all the vegetables uniformly — that way everything cooks through evenly!
This dish turned out to be colorful, easy to make and full of vegetables that I usually skip when cooking for myself (sorry Mom). It’s also easy to adapt to your own preferences in terms of what you can pair it with: It’s a filling meal all on its own, but it’s also easy to get creative and serve it on top of or alongside other foods, such as any of the meats now available at Anabel’s. The total price for the entire meal, which serves four, comes out to be around $13.93 from Anabel’s if you don’t already have staples (like olive oil and pepper) at home. At Wegman’s, the same ingredients come out to be around $22.11.
I was excited when Anabel’s first opened its doors last semester, and I’m excited for its return now. You can’t beat its convenience and accessibility — it’s located right on campus! — and its prices are competitive with all other Ithaca grocery stores, especially the ones within walking distance from campus. Anabel’s is open Tuesday through Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and, in keeping with its mission for food education, plans to continue featuring simple recipes based on featured ingredients. Stop in after class, do your weekly shopping, pick up this and other recipes, buy some winter squash and bok choy without being afraid of how to cook it and continue filling out feedback forms so Anabel’s knows what initiatives to try next!