Archive for "food for thought"
November! Thanksgiving! Native American Appreciation Month!
Thanksgiving is, literally, barreling towards us. I am sure you all have your normal foods and traditions, and be it a small dinner with the family, an enormous dinner with all of the cousins and their seven wives, or just a dinner amongst great friends, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time. Though it’s also a very stressful time for law students, it’s nice to have a day to eat wonderful foods, be with the people you love (most of them anyhow) and reflect on all the good things in your life.
Thanksgiving, like the 4th of July, is a true “American” holiday.” No matter your religion or your race, sexual preference or outside beliefs, it’s a day when all of us, as Americans can gather and feast.
Not surprisingly, November is Native American appreciation month. I know that this is a bit cliché perhaps, and maybe you are wondering why we get a month, but it’s a nice opportunity to appreciate this wonderful, mysterious, dying culture. After all, if it weren’t for Native Americans, the pilgrims would probably not have survived their first winter. I am a quarter Kiowa Indian, so this month gives me an extra opportunity to appreciate my culture and learn about the values of my people.
If you have time, there is the Museum of the Native American near Wall Street. It’s free to enter and it’s something you can do when you need a break from the books.
Of course, this column is called “Food for Thought,” not “Culture for Thought,” so in the spirit of Thanksgiving and in appreciation of the Native American I wanted to share my corn pudding recipe. Corn pudding is extra delicious, a bit indulgent and an homage to corn, that truly American crop. Maybe you can impress everyone at the table with your legal jargon, your knowledge of negligence per se and this lovely corn pudding.
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn
2 (14.75 ounce) cans cream-style corn
Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add melted butter, sugar, and milk. Whisk in cornstarch. Stir in corn and creamed corn. Blend well. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish.
Bake for 1 hour.
Where: 97A Hoyt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (map)
In 2010 Mile End, a Montreal Jewish delicatessen, was voted best deli in New York by New Yorker magazine. I’m assuming many of you have been there for lunch or dinner (if you haven’t I would be more than happy to write a review of their lunch entrées), but I did not know this local gem served breakfast. My sister was in town from Ohio and I wanted to take her somewhere impressive, delicious and close. Mile End was my first thought. We got there a little too early for lunch, but then the lovely hostess announced they had breakfast. I wanted to hug her around the waist. The breakfast there is just as lovely as the lunch.
Though the menu is small there is a mix of the strange and familiar so we still had a hard time deciding what to get. We opted for two coffees, smoked meat hash and something called a bagelach. First of all the coffee is, in my opinion, the best coffee around the law school. They French press Stumptown coffee and serve it piping hot in enormous mugs. Honestly, I know that law students are coffee snobs, but this is by far the best in the neighborhood.
Our food came relatively quickly. The hash was an impressive display of over easy eggs, roasted potatoes, onion and lots of smoked meat. It was divinely hearty and delicious. I suppose the best smoked meat in the city equal the best hash. I didn’t even need any salt, pepper or hot sauce. My sister got the bagelach, which is a half-moon shaped pastry. The best way I can describe it is as a cheese Danish, only far tastier. The pastry was incredibly flakey and buttery and the sides of sour cream and fresh peach jam were the perfect compliments.
The décor of Mile End is bright, airy and very hipster Brooklyn. The hostess is always friendly. You can watch your food being prepared as the kitchen is in the same room as the dining area. They even have a walk-up window in case you need your Mile End coffee fix, as I find I do some days. Mile End gets incredibly crowded for lunch, but the breakfast crowd is a little smaller. If you try one place around the law school for breakfast this year, I would really advise you try Mile End. It’s right up the street and beyond delicious.
Where: 80 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (map)
As law students we tend to look for three things when it comes to food: cheap, delicious and close. Teresa’s on Montague satisfies all three of those requirements. Nestled amongst the scattering of restaurants on that busy street, Teresa’s is home to many hearty Polish dishes at a wonderful price.
As this week was cold and rainy, I felt like some hearty food was in order. My boyfriend did a little research and found this gem right up the street from the law school, and since Polish always equals hearty, I knew it was exactly what was needed.
The interior of Teresa’s reminds you of your grandmother’s house. Really. It’s not fancy but very cozy; it feels like it should be in the middle of the old country instead of posh Brooklyn Heights. The staff is friendly, their speech is accented with a Slavic lilt, and we were seated quickly.
The menu is impressive — it ranges from perogies to a whole half of a roast chicken, to blintzes, cream soups and various cabbage dishes. Everything is within the 3-to-20-dollar range, and trust me you get A LOT of food for the price. As the day was dreary I opted for the cabbage soup ($4.95) and 4 boiled perogies (meat, cheese, potato and mushroom/sauerkraut) ($4.95). My dining partner opted for three potato pancakes ($4.95).
The cabbage soup came out first. Look, I know that cabbage soup sounds a bit disgusting, like the kind Charlie Bucket ate before he got to the chocolate factory. This soup, despite its reputation, was very hearty, with cabbage, large chunks of potatoes, bits
The Oxford American dictionary defines “eat” as “put food into the mouth, chew it and swallow it up” (it also offered many other definitions, which are less than appropriate for my column). This is such a simple definition. Eating is so much more than that. It is an experience that involves all senses: you smell the food, you of course taste it, you touch the food with your hands and the vibrant (or not) colors of the food draw your eyes. Eating is one of life’s great pleasures. It draws people together. It can make a bad day good. It allows you to experience culture.
We’re in law school. Somehow, amongst all of the studying, cramming, internships and schmoozing, we’ve lost what it means to eat good food- good not only in taste, but for the body as well. Coffee becomes a food group. Fries at McDonalds are justified as “healthy” because they are fast and are made of potatoes. A bag of chips sneakily consumed at the library constitutes a whole day’s sustenance. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can still enjoy eating. You can still fit into your interview suit after exams.
The area around BLS is FULL of good restaurants, cheap (and sometimes even healthy) food, and exotic food that you may want to experience only once. Just because we are in law school, doesn’t mean we have to lose the “joy of eating.”
You may not know where to start. That’s OK. That’s where I come in. I love food, I know food, and I cook food. My family used to plan our vacations around food (seriously my parents would review all of the restaurants in the area before making the final decision). I am not afraid of strange food. Since you’re going to be reading this fabulous paper to catch up on school news anyways, why not read about food? Maybe some restaurant or bar will catch your eye. Maybe you can make something I’ve made to impress your girlfriend/boyfriend/professor/dog. The point is that being in law school does not mean we have to give up eating food that tastes good and is good for our bodies.
So starting next week, my Food for Thought column will dive into the depths of local restaurants, grocery stores and watering holes around BLS. My goal is to make eating fun again, to make you all realize that fries are probably not a food group. I am really open for ideas as well. So if you know a restaurant or place I should go, let me know.