What do your teeth, brain, mood and gut all have in common? Unsurprisingly, it turns out one answer is almost everything. They are, after all, interconnected and essential aspects of your body and life. The other, often overlooked answer, however, is food. The COVID pandemic put into perspective how little control we have over certain parts of our health, but quarantine was sobering, proving we don’t have to be “an inert chunk of randomly assembled molecules drifting wherever the universe blows” us. In fact, the decisions we make about our food give us resounding leverage over our health.
As college students across the nation impatiently await announcements from universities regarding the status of the coming fall semester, many of us are searching for productive and meaningful ways to spend our free time now that classes have ended. With internships, summer research and academic programs cancelled, some of us are trying to readjust to living in our hometowns with parents and siblings, away from the friends, professors and resources we’ve come to rely on at Cornell. As we navigate this new reality, many students are staying connected with peers through podcasting, music-making and Youtubing, innovating new ways to engage with others in the absence of physical space. A few weeks ago, I learned about a free platform called Schefs that aims to connect students from different universities and facilitate interesting discussions about a wide range of topics, from pop music to quantum mechanics, all through a shared passion for food. Co-founded by two college students, Pedro Damasceno and Lola Lafia of Columbia University, Schefs started out as a way for like-minded people from schools across the nation to come together on their campuses and share a themed meal.
Every Fourth of July, Americans are bombarded with advertisements about red and white products — it almost feels patriotic to spend money. Oftentimes, these companies advertise food sales — five dollar watermelon or hot dogs on a stars-and-stripes background — and imply that these items have some inherent patriotic identity. All-American men eat meat, a Costco ad might urge you. Most of us don’t truly believe that we are performing our civic duty when we buy a hot dog; however, there was a time in American history when one’s diet was directly tied to their love and devotion — or lack thereof — to America. To understand American patriotism as it relates to food, we must go back to British Colonialism in the early 1600s.
What does sand in the winter and not being able to find parking in front of your house have in common? They’re both indicators that you live in a beach town. Summer 2020 is undoubtedly one for the books. From lost internships to canceled vacations, everyone is feeling the effects of coronavirus in some way or another. These feelings are felt all the more deeply in a beach town.
The sound of two different alarms pierces the quiet calm atmosphere of an early Mother’s Day morning, followed by distinct thumps and rustling as my dad and I quickly scramble to shut them off and drag my brother out of bed. All of us slowly creep down the stairs, trying not to disturb my mom’s well-deserved slumber as she slept, for once, without an alarm, knowing she wouldn’t have to wake up early and prepare breakfast as it was our turn now. Two hours later, we’ve set the porch table with fancy cutlery that rarely gets to taste a drop of food as it sits on display 364 out of 365 days a year, and with vibrant red roses plucked from the bushes in our front yard. On the gold-rimmed porcelain plate, we delicately place a heart shaped slice of homemade banana bread, still warm from the embrace of the oven and smelling sweet of raisins and maple syrup, accompanied by a colorful array of fresh and juicy fruits. From a gold-rimmed porcelain cup, emanates the nutty smell of cardamom and the earthy aroma of ginger stemming from my dad’s special chai recipe that he had passed down to me.
While walking up the stairs in my house, I saw my brother Mike’s door was propped open. I popped my head in to see how he was doing. Talking with him, we happened upon the topic of illness. “My throat has been so sore that it hurts even to swallow. I wouldn’t mind the cough otherwise.”
Two weeks ago, I came across a video on Twitter called #RecipesForThePeople. It was a cooking video posted by José Andrés, a Spanish-American chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters. In this six minute clip, Andrés and his daughters made angel hair pasta and tomato sauce as they sang and danced their way through Hamilton. The internet went crazy — from, “I did not think I could love José Andrés more. I was wrong.
This week, I was lucky enough to interview Max Aronson, a recent Cornell graduate from 2019. Graduating from the School of Hotel Administration with a concentration in Beverage Management, he is now an assistant server at Eleven Madison Park — a fine dining restaurant located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. Eleven Madison Park is ranked third among The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2016 and is known for their taste and presentation. Let’s take a look at how Max is doing today. 1.
For the first time that day, I scuttled down the few steps outside of my apartment building. It was already 2:00 p.m., and I took the opportunity to stretch my arms and move my body. A typical April day in quarantined upstate New York, mid-forties and cloudy with sporadic rain showers. I took a seat on a wooden bench on the sidewalk. With the corner of my eye, I spotted a jar hugging the leg of the bench.
In a world afflicted by plagues and devoid of autonomy, the ancient Israelites enslaved in Egypt longed for little more than fundamental safety and freedom from suffering. Today, whether you have lost your job, feel unsafe in your home or are eating Matzah of your own volition, your pain is also valid. What makes this Passover different from all other Passovers? For one, many seders have saved a seat for a special new guest (and no, I’m not talking about Elijah). This year, Zoom joined the party, enabling extended families to safely come together from across the street or across the globe.