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Collegetown Kitchen | Lessons from My First Month in My First Kitchen

My “college cooking” expectations quickly confronted reality during my first few weeks back at school this year. Since the last few months of my freshman year, I planned the big move into my first apartment, as well as built my website, the Collegetown Kitchen. I drew from my knowledge as a home cook, my experience working at a bakery and the advice of many trusted cooks to curate the perfect recipe for college cooking success. I wrote lists of pantry-staple ingredients one can’t do without and what to use them for, named every piece of cooking equipment a student might need, explained basic food safety and published over 3o recipes and articles adapted to a minimalist kitchen and a college budget. And then a couple of days after arriving in Ithaca, mono hit.

Katie Zhang / Sun Dining Editor

Salute to Café Jennie

I got my job as a writer for the dining section of The Sun about the same time I got my job working at Cornell Dining’s Cafe Jennie, each about 17 years after developing my love for food. In one, I wrote of my appreciation for Ithaca’s food scene, defined by restaurants, diners and groceries that never cease to surprise and impress as they rival the best of big cities and small towns across the country. In the other, I learned to appreciate both the world of food service and, perhaps above all, my team in that little corner of The Cornell Store.

Atrium Cafe on September 23rd, 2019. (Boris Tsang/Sun Photography Editor)

Atrium Cafe: Off the Beaten Path

If you ask any undergrad here what their favorite campus eatery is, they’ll likely say Terrace, Trillium or Zeus. Each one is delicious in their own right, but let’s be real — making it through the lines at these places is hard work. Even in the late morning, you’ll find long lines filing out of most popular campus eateries. Although no eatery could ever replace my beloved Terrace salad or Zeus soup, I’m getting a bit tired of spending my entire lunch break waiting in these lines, leaving me to discreetly eat my lunch in the back of the lecture. My solution? The Atrium Cafe.

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The Tea: Okenshields Is Underrated

Warmed by the sun’s rays shining through the large windows of Okenshields dining hall, I gently bop my head to the music playing on the overhead speakers as I savor the juicy, earthy taste of sauteed bok choy. As Camilla Cabello tells Shawn Mendes that she loves it when he calls her señorita, the thought hits me: Okenshields is underrated.

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My Summer Romance: Wegmans Edition

Spending the summer in Ithaca to enjoy the only two months of warm weather here is number 31 on the list of 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do. I can proudly say that I’ve accomplished the feat this summer, and did it in a small two bedroom apartment with no AC to boot. The warm weather did little to ease the stuffy heat of the place, which directly faces the sun and held no relief from the most humid and hellish of days, but I like to think I learned a lot more in the tiny kitchen of that apartment because of the temperature. Simple lessons that I should’ve learned a long time ago stuck with me due to the heat, and here are just a few of them.

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Is It a Match-a Made in Heaven? Ranking All the Matcha Tea Lattes in Town

There is one issue, though — with so many options for a matcha latte here on campus, where should you go to spend your money and what places should you avoid? If you are obsessed with matcha lattes already and want to learn which place is the best around, or if you want to try it but don’t know where to start, this is your guide.

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LEEDS | Memories Made Over Meals

Over the past four years I’ve come to learn that food is personal. One person’s “yuck” is another person’s “yum.” One may love veggies while another may despise them. One may not understand how someone could live without meat while another can’t imagine consuming an animal product. One may love the food of their culture, while others might be reminded of a culture they’re trying to distance themselves from. Everyone has their story, but most of it has to do with food.

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Back to the USSR

My parents left everything behind in the Soviet Union for a better life. Their friends, clothes and careers couldn’t follow them aboard Delta flight 217, but poverty did. The picture is bleak, but there is hope. While they trudged to work in 99 cent stores and slept on cockroach-infested floors, they never lost their culture. Despite living in a new country with new customs, my parents were still Russian Jews at heart. I like to think that as they worked towards their American Dream and raised a family, one aspect of culture fueled them, both literally and figuratively — their food.

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Mandarin Season

If this season has one single redeeming quality, it is this: the mandarin.