25 November 2010


I don't need reminding. I am fully aware that it's Thanksgiving, or Turkey day, or "The day I'm supposed to rest so that I can get up in 5 hours to go to buy a camera... at a $10 discount".

However, I don't need Hallmark to tell me that I'm supposed to be thankful once a year. I am thankful a lot more than that... and I don't need a dead hot turkey to tell me that.
It's funny, because my mum said, "oh yeah we're gonna buy some turkey tomorrow because we have enough food in the fridge for today's dinner". "Enough food" is a vast understatement, though, because my family likes to keep the fridge full. I'm not really sure why.

So, anyway, today I noticed a container, in which there were 2.5 cookies.
2.5 gigantic cookies.
2.5 cookies the size of...well, a slice of bread. Except, however, that they have three times the calories. Or 4, depending on whether one buys the cheap white bread.
Looks like a normal cookie, right? [Nice ratio of chocolate to cookie, by the way]
Those are not mini bagels. Those are the bagels from Costco.
Princeton sure knows how to feed HS kids... [my brother got this from a tournament at Princeton last week].

24 November 2010


How can two dorm rooms feed a whole college dorm house [~100 people? More?] with $80? It's the same question that many families ask themselves; how does one feed a family of 3-5 with, say, $20/week?
The answer? Bleached, refined flour bread, just-add-water-cake-mix with a lot of fat, eggs, and, well, more eggs. Oh, and Tater tots and potatoes. And, apparently, pumpkin pie fits the bill too.

How can two dorm rooms feed a whole college dorm house [~100 people? More?] with $80? It's the same question that many families ask themselves; how does one feed a family of 3-5 with, say, $20/week?
The answer? Bleached, refined flour bread, just-add-water-cake-mix with a lot of fat, eggs, and, well, more eggs. Oh, and Tater tots and potatoes. And, apparently, pumpkin pie fits the bill too.
Did you notice the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables? I really think that if society sold items based on caloric value, we'd have a much healthier society. Plus, we'd make more use of our land, and processing wouldn't delete nutrients from foods [think corn -> corn flakes saturated with sugar].
Cheap muffin mix - just add half a cup of water. $1.39. We bought 8 packs of them.
Tater tots - the other dorm room bought two packs of these.
The cake. No, the blueberries do not count as a proper serving of fruit. Oh, and we used 7 dozen eggs. Just saying.
Other dorm room made biscotti.

We ran out of egg... so we had one loaf [$1.09] of cheap white bread for French toast, and we used half of the other loaf for buttered bread.
More biscotti...

We also made toasted potato cubes [breakfast potatoes]... and a lot of scrambled eggs.
It is apparently a feat to have food remaining after 10 minutes of Brunch. It is an even larger feat to have 3 plates of food [one pie, a lot of cake, and some toast] remaining, 40 minutes after Brunch.
Is it positive or negative? From an energy perspective, it is absolutely more worth it to have fed people vegetable pancakes, or veggies with dip, or fruit. However, from a price perspective...

I do not think that I feel... proud of the fact that we just served really really unhealthy food [except for the eggs] to our dorm house.
However, had we bought fewer high quality vegetables, our brunch would've been cow poop [literally... since crops get manure, if one's into some sort of sustainable farming]. No one would've liked it.
This is why we have fast food chains.

19 November 2010

Macaroni and Cheese...on a Pizza.

The world is changing. There used to be a time where pizza, macaroni, and cheese were discrete. We then had pizza with cheese and macaroni and cheese.
And now I have encountered the sum of all parts. A macaroni and cheese pizza.
Yes, it's in a bowl because I had eaten cereal beforehand. The macaroni and cheese was ridiculously buttery, which was kind of a deterrent because it tasted more like buttery oily pasta on pizza dough. In other words, it didn't really taste cheesy or umami :(. Recently, I've realised that a lot of the dough at Commons is some mix of whole wheat and white flour, which makes the dough extremely... elasticky. It almost has a plastic sheen to it. I'd say it's the high gluten content that whole wheat flours tend to have [due to less refinement? If you look at nutrition labels, the 100% whole wheat flour-made breads usually have 5-6g protein per 120 Cal, wheras white bread... doesn't have many. 1-2g? 3? Anyway, this was at Hill... and it was most definitely white flour.

17 November 2010

Psychology Dinner Weeks Ago...

There was a psychology dinner a few weeks ago and I completely forgot to blog about it. The dinner was supposed to inspire us and make us want to major in psychology. The speaker, however, was extremely biased. She advocated against double majoring, stating that psychology is the most important subject in the world since it infiltrated every subject. Well, I would say that Biology is more important, because it studies LIVING THINGS whereas psychology only studies animal behavior [arguably, only human behavior, because psychologists always try to extrapolate animal data so that it can explain HUMAN behavior. However, then people may say that chemistry is what makes the world run since it explains THINGS, and the physicists will then claim that physics actually explains both THINGS AND NON-THINGS [a.k.a. tangible and untangible, including all those theoretical quantum stuffs] instead of just THINGS or merely LIVING THINGS. However, the mathematicians claim that maths runs everything, because physics relies on mathematics. This is an idea from XKCD.
Anyway. I got kind of irked because she had no right to tell me to singly major, so I think I lost some respect for her. She's a psychologist so she should have an inkling on how to manipulate us so that we'd leave falling in love with psychology.
Anyway, I'm here to talk about Indian food, not psychology, so I'm just gonna say that I couldn't eat half the stuff due to the chicken chunk infestations. I actually thought the spinach was with paneer cheese but it turns out it was chicken chunks...
However, the chickpeas were quite nice, as were the vegetables with paneer cheese. I don't really know why I'm so fond of curry yet not so inclined to eat spicy Chinese food. Perhaps the curry, due to the addition of tons of fat, is mellowed out, whereas Chinese spicy food is a full-out firecracker.
This is some doughnutty cake thing that was saturated in sugar syrup. It was extremely soggy and quite uniform in taste, so I'm not sure why I liked it. I believe it was deep fried before being drenched in sugar syrup, because it had that oily taste to it. Perhaps that's why I liked it.

The naan was extremely oily so I didn't really enjoy that part; generally I prefer savoury floury carbs to remain low in fat [breads, my mum's tortillas etc.]

16 November 2010

Vegetable Pocket Pie!

This vegetable pocket pie really makes me feel comforted on a cold rainy day. Unfortunately, we haven't had many cold rainy days... they've just been rainy. Either way, it's quite nice to try new food; I've never had a pocket pie, let alone a pocket pie made with whole wheat flour. So now it's buttery empty carbs... WITH FIBRE!
The filling was curry vegetables, which was quite spicy so I needed to drink a lot of milk. I read somewhere that the reason we taste stuff as spicy is that capsaicin [Well, capsaicin in chillies. I'm not sure what chemical it is in pepper or curry or bengay...not that we consume bengay] is a molecule that, when attached to a receptor, sends a message to the brain. The brain interprets the message as "heat" which is why we feel heat.
This doesn't explain why there is physical heat, though. Also, do we have curry molecule receptors? Pepper molecule receptors? Do we have receptors for every molecule of food [e.g. every molecule that elicits some taste?] We probably don't, since there are so many flavours in the world. We all know of the 5 tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. What about spicy? What is THAT classified as? Is spicy stuff just classified as "heat"? However, heat is energy. Where did we get the energy from? The molecule of food? So, why aren't chillies warm? They could totally be hand warmers in the winter!!

Tastes good... with milk... which again asks the question, why dairy? Why does that alleviate heat? Does that mean chili ice cream isn't legit?

15 November 2010

Ice Cream and Pie.

Five years ago, when I saw no error or consequences in organic foods, my science teacher did the unthinkable. He created a science project in which one group would argue for ORGANIC food, and one group would argue for GM food. I was in the group for GM food, and I was utterly speechless. My narrow mind believed that there was NO SUCH THING as a negative side to organic farming. It was like telling me that I didn't exist. I'm not sure what I said in the debate [probably something with a lot of eye rolling], but I remember that one of my group members said "Well...GM food makes food taste good. Like, carrots actually taste like CARROTS".

This is something I thought of today when I got back from the Eco-Reps meeting. What defines the taste of food? I'm currently eating tempeh. I think a piece of tempeh tastes like tempeh [I'm still relatively new to eating it], but how would I describe it to TJ? TJ tried tempeh for the first time today, and I was trying to get her to eat it. I said that "it tastes kinda fishy... and nutty..." but tempeh does NOT taste fishy or nutty. Today, the tempeh in my sandwich tastes like cattle slices. But that may be because I associate mustard with cattle slices. I mean, the first time I tried tempeh, it tasted like fish, but that maybe have been due to the sauce [tomato? I don't think I've ever had tomato sauce with fish before, though...].
Last Friday I ate a lot of ice cream and pie. This only happens when I eat meals with people [which is why, perhaps, I should start being a hermit]. I'd never had egg nog ice cream before [actually, I've never had egg nog. I've had egg nog soymilk, though], so I asked what it tasted like. "It tastes like egg nog", TJ replied.
So, if egg nog ice cream tastes like egg nog, why is there such thing as egg nog ice cream? Egg nog is some gelatinous type custard, right? So is ice cream... except colder. So, I guess the question is also about texture, and not just about taste.
However, someone decided to come along and say that people don't enjoy food as much if they eat it in the dark. I personally disagree, but I personally think/obsess over food more than the "general population".
Anyway, I think I started digressing.
If carrots do taste better after modification [after all, GM corn is sweeter and juicier], then what is the negative side? A loss of nutrients, perhaps, but evolutionarily speaking, haven't we evolved so that we can get our nutrients through foods? Why would we pick bland carrots over flavourful carrots? We wouldn't. But, the bland carrots are the ones that have more nutrients...according to various sources that tell me that organic farming is healthier for both myself and the environment. I suppose a counter-argument would be that humans like to eat sweet stuff because of the calories which we needed, way back when people ate once every few days instead of once every few hours. But what about texture? One can't generalise on that; we like moist, soft apple pie filling, but we dislike squishy peaches and overripe bananas [which, by the way, are also very. Very. Sweet.]... but they have similar macronutrient profiles [SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR!!!]

So, my Goldfish cracker obsession for the past two weeks still hasn't receded.

14 November 2010

Food Injustice

UPDATE: So, I apparently got 3rd place out of 40 photos. The photo that got 3rd place is the one with the plastic spoon, knife and fork, the broken coffee cup, and the piece of bread - the third picture. 3rd place means I don't get any prizes but I get my photo displayed on college green on Wednesday from 11-3 I think... so check it out :)

The Civic House at Penn with Moral Voices had a photo competition about food injustice. I tried not to waste any food in the making of these photos... [mostly wasted spinach and lettuce...:(]
As a side note, I wonder why there was a "Dinner for Hunger Awareness" via Unicef at Penn. Why host a buffet dinner to kids who are able to obtain food? Sure, each person is paying for this dinner, but why not pay to experience fufu or Plumpy'nut? Then, the people to whom the money is going [excluding the amount that goes to Unicef workers and advertising...] will get to experience the buffet dinner so ubiquitous in our lives [instead of just obtaining more fufu or something]
It looks like the letter Y. As in, "Why?"
Yeah, they're supposed to be mismatched...
Pure injustice right there. Why is a segment of fruit so much more expensive than a pastry? What if the world sold and bought food based on caloric value? Implications... would be ridiculous.
Salad leaves...
Oh the puns. It's such a mouldy cliche metaphor...
It just so happens I obtained an apple [that I was ACTUALLY going to eat...] with a hole in it from a worm or insect or bacteria or something...

13 November 2010

International Dinner!

My dorm house holds an International Dinner each year, which isn't super international, but is chill nevertheless. There was Chinese, French, Spanish, Mediterranean, and Swiss food. I stayed far far away from Chinese food...because I don't like commercial Chinese food in the U.S. The "French" food was baguette with fondue, although technically speaking [according to my Swiss friend, who's an exchange student], fondue is actually Swiss. He made some swiss potato cheese thing which I didn't get to try :(. Also, he said that you're supposed to make the fondue first, and THEN stick it in the fondue warmer thing, to keep it liquidy. I'm not going to comment any further, because, when found by the Penn Internet Police [hey, they probably exist], I'm going to get suspended for criticising a professor's personality [or, my grade's going to go down].
Anyway, the cheese cubes basically sat in wine in the fondue-maker, because that's not how you make fondue.
This is some Spanish omelette, some corn or flour fried tortilla thing [It. Was. Drenched. In. Oil]. Soooo delicious though!
Mediterranean rice with pita. This pita was the thinnest pita I've never seen in my life... it was wafer thin. Interesthin'. Haha.

I'm not sure what ethnicity this cake was supposed to represent, but the chocolate truffle was extremely soft and ganachey, so I'm guessing it's French. It seemed to be really fresh, actually...Nothing hard and oily, like lower-grade truffles. This cake is definitely not American because it was a small slice by American standards [Think, 1/3 of the size of an American "slice of cake"]. It was extremely moist and gooey, and very dense. It didn't taste like bitter cocoa chocolate, but it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet either. It was almost pudding-like, and most definitely not a brownie. I would say there were plenty of eggs in this cake.
This is amazing... from the Mediterranean table: an almond stuffed into a fig! Amazing!
Not in photos: I had some potato [really nice spices] and dulce de leche [not to my liking] from the Spanish table, and I also didn't try the gazpacho :( since I didn't bring a cup. It's BYOUtensils/vessels!

12 November 2010

3 Dinners!

Somehow, my normal dinner at Commons ended up, in three hours, being a triple dinner. I went to a career info session, where there was food from Greek Lady. I then went to French House and my professor, who hadn't had dinner yet, decided to take us all to Tandoor India Restaurant for dinner. Whoot...
The Greek Lady sandwiches made me realise that I indeed haven't been eating many sandwiches lately, and that I indeed LOVE and miss sandwiches. So, for the past week [This was the 4th], I've been eating at least one sandwich per day. Sometimes, one sandwich per meal. It is delicious.
So, I was full by the time we went to Tandoor, so I just tried some stuff...dude, this was at least $10 and I felt bad for not eating a lot... but I was actually full. The naan bread was AMAZING though, as was the potato and vegetable samosa. The spinach with cheese was also great, but the cube of dessert [I'm not really sure what it is, and it's kinda hard to see due to the flash of the camera] was really gross. I think it's just that my taste buds don't like it...
We all then had some mango lassis, which I initially disliked because I could taste the grains of sugar. After a while, though, it got more tolerable, although I didn't feel hungry, which is perhaps why this review is quite negative. I just think that fresh mangoes, mango ice cream, or even mango pudding tastes better. I don't like having grainy pieces of sugar in my drinks... and this drink was supersaturated with sugar. For those who like sugary foods, this is for you :D!

11 November 2010

National Apple Day?

Apparently, the 4th of November was National Apple Harvest Day...
I don't believe it is. I just think that commons had a surplus of apples. Either way, everyone literally clamoured to grab chunks of baked apple goods... It was sickening [and I was part of it]. I overheard one of the workers remarking that the consumers were piling their plates with these apple-y goods so fast that they had to keep bringing new pies and cakes out. Again, consumerism demonstrates our inherently greedy personality. I didn't try the apple crumble cake or the pie. I also just mooched off TJ for some apple muffin and doughnut [she didn't finish them, anyway]. In the end, all I actually got for myself was a mini cake, some fritter and a coffeecake.
The coffeecake was extremely moist.
Crumble that I didn't eat.
Amazing AMAZING moist apple cake... with very few chunks of actual apple. The icing was amazingly gooey. I was not aware that this sort of viscous-ness existed. However, on the apple scale I'd give it a mere 20%...
The muffin was just a standard muffin, with an apple-ness of maybe 7%. I only have this picture because the reflection on the table is really pretty. I've never realised how reflective the table is...
Apple cake. Appleness? 40%. The chunks of apple are actually visible and the top was nicely crusted with cinnamony-appleness.
Contrast that to the fritter..

Tasteless doughnut...apple cider doughnut, perhaps, but an apple rating of zero %.
The fritter has an apple rating of 1%. It was fried dough. Coated with sugar icing. There were a few cubes of apple, but this reminds me of the time when I was 6 [or 10?], and my parents' friend bought my brother and I a cake with whipped cream sandwiched inside. After unsandwiching the layers, however, all I found was a thin outline of whipped cream on the perimeter of the bottom cake layer. Hm.

05 November 2010

Homecoming 30 October 2010

Those buns were advertised as warm. They were not warm, due to the wind. It was quite amusing. They also were super sticky [honey!], but too airy and uniform.
I know that this is a week late, but I've been really busy with studying, visiting BV, and doing homework, and somehow getting in 5-6 hours of sleep in per night. It's finally Friday, and although I do have a lot of homework to do, I'm going to update because this event I went to last Saturday was pretty amazing.
This was the Weiss Pavilion opening ceremony, and there were a lot of alumni there to see it since it was homecoming weekend. One day, I will protest the toast throwing tradition thingy...
The only reason I went was so that I could get a drawstring bag. The first 100 people, apparently, got drawstring bags. I also got a mint tin with mints and the Penn logo, which is pretty sick!!
There was also a lot of food. It was ridiculous. I have to say that the chocolate filled and sweet potato filled croissants were the best. The baked goods were cold, due to the freezing, windy weather, but they all tasted delicious and textured nevertheless.
They actually looked like savoury croissants, and I did want something savoury since everything else was loaded with sweetness. I did eat some quiche, before I realised there were cured pig chunks inside [ham].
This was a greek yoghurt, fruit and granola parfait. The blueberries and strawberries were used for the Penn colours, according to a girl I met at the opening. It was pretty awkward actually; at first, we just looked at each other, unsure of whether to talk or not. So then I said hi. And then we had a conversation, so that was interesting. I forgot her name though... oh well. I'll probably see her again, as I have with a bunch of other people who I thought I'd forgotten/they'd forgotten me.
I dislike hot apple cider. The fact that it's warm and sour kind of disgusts me. Cold apple cider, or frozen apple cider, on the other hand, is amazing. Note the cheerleaders in the glass. I should get better at photography.
This was a French toast chunk supersaturated with maple syrup. The whipped cream was amazingly fluffy and fat. It was literally a LOT of sugar...Maybe if I tried hard enough, I could've heard sugar crystals crunching...