Monotony in the dining hall is now a thing of the past, thanks to two culinary entrepreneurs in Pforzheimer House.
Lauren M. Wolchok ’07 and Maureen “Reenie” Moen ’07 put together a 17-page cookbook of different recipes that can be prepared using food commonly found in House dining halls. The recipes range from strawberry parfait to pizza bagels and mac and cheese.
On Wednesday, a stack of the first editions of the Pfoho Cookbook was placed by the checker’s desk in the Phofo dining hall, and they’ve been flying off the racks. Wolchok and Moen printed 150 copies of the cookbook, and by the beginning of dinner on Thursday only 10 remained.
The inspiration for the cookbook was a waffle recipe from one of Wolchok’s friends, created by mixing various spices into waffle batter. Wolchok found the recipe to be very popular, and during Sunday brunch, she “would make a waffle and split it with the entire table.”
Moen agreed that “the waffles are what started it”—people began asking how to make what the cookbook calls the “World’s Tastiest Waffles.”
To put together the book, Moen said, the two e-mailed the Phofo open list, asking for “inventive dining hall cuisine.”
Moen elaborated that they were looking for recipes that used food commonly found in the dining halls so that “a lot of this stuff you can make every night.”
Steve Sandblom, the general manager of Pforzheimer and Cabot dining halls, was very supportive of the book.
“It’s nice to see people being creative” with the food in the dining halls, Sandblom said.
He added that he liked making a low-fat old-fashioned Coke sundae with frozen yogurt every once in a while, a recipe he found to be a very tasty creation of his own. The cookbook impressed him enough that he said he would “definitely” send a copy to the director of residential dining.
Students, too, expressed enthusiasm for the book. Patrick S. Kelly ‘05, who contributed recipes for Brownie Sundaes and Slightly-Better-Sketchy-Meatloaf, said that the cookbook showed that “we have the ability to make good food out of what we’ve got” by taking advantage of what is provided in the dining halls. He added that the book shows how many different options students have, and he said he hopes it will cut down on “some people bitching to the dining hall staff if they don’t like something.”
One recipe that appears to have earned universal popularity is the “fishwich.” This sandwich is a self-explanatory take-off on the popular chickwich but uses fried flounder in place of the chicken patty. In addition to the fish, the recipe calls for many toppings, including jalapenos, pickles, and tartar sauce.
Alex Fortes ’07 said that it seemed a little complicated to make, but the final product sounded delicious and “reminded him of fish tacos back home.” Sandblom and Wolchok also expressed their fondness for the fishwich.
With 17 pages of recipes, Wolchok and Moen are looking ahead to the next step. They plan to put the book online soon and next year they hope to receive UC funding to try to add more to their collection. They hope that sometime next year students in every dining hall will be able to create their own culinary masterpieces.