There are times where you know exactly what you want to have for dinner and exactly the right ingredients to make it. There are also times where you don’t really know what you want for dinner but have the ingredients to make some nice tasty dish that you know how to make.
And then there are times where you have ingredients but no idea how to cook it.
For example, what are you supposed to do with eggplants? The internet offers several recipes for various eggplant dishes, but we’re always missing one or two (or more…) ingredients. So what are we suppose to do? Well, make things up, of course.
As Roommate N once commented, a big component of good cooking is knowing which foods go together. (Roommate N knows how to cook, so this advice can probably be trusted.) For example, putting cinnamon in meat is always a bad idea. If you want to make something vaguely Italian, put in some combination of garlic, basil, tomato, and cheese. Cooking eventually boils down to your own tastes – smell or taste the ingredients you’re using. If they seem like they’d go together, they probably do. If it turns out that they don’t… well, you’ve gained valuable experience.
Protip: Does the food you’re making seem legit? If it seems legit, then it’s good enough.
Because I don’t think stir-fried eggplant would taste good, we decided to bake it instead. We forged around and found some free tomatoes leftover from a recent BBQ, some onions we bought eariler, and free shredded cheese from a junior who didn’t want it anymore. The cheese was chedder and didn’t seem like it would fit the dish (parmesan would’ve probably been more correct), but we didn’t have other cheeses so it can’t be helped.
For safety, I dumped dried basil leaves on top and a copious amount of garlic. Garlic is always a good thing.
And here’s the abomination:
Don’t know about the taste yet, but it* looks* fine…
And now let’s shove it in the oven. We didn’t know what temperature to bake it at, so we just set it to 350 F because supposedly it’s the temperature most things bake at.
And then we waited. Of course, we took the food(?) out every now and then and stabbed it with a knife to see if it’s cooked enough, but the cheese wasn’t really browning and neither was the onion even after waiting for a very long time. Finally we got impatient and took it out to eat. If it’s hot in the inside, it should be fine…
The result was surprisingly legit. The chedder didn’t taste out of place (could be because it wasn’t very high quality chedder to begin with…), and the onions were actually cooked despite looking like they’re still raw. The garlic on top added a nice touch to the flavor.
Final verdict: surprisingly legit/10
Caltech may be a small campus, but it has a large variety of food options. There are three main dining locations on campus — The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Hameetman Center (which houses our beloved Red Door Cafe), and the Broad Café. All on-campus students also have access to open kitchens in their houses, where a dinner special is served everyday and different breakfast options are available. There were countless times this past week that I ate my meal and then remembered that I forgot to take a picture of my food – here’s a brief diary of just some of the meals I had.
As a Caltech student, I obviously have a love for STEM. But for me, that love is incomplete without the bigger picture—the role that STEM can play in helping society. That connection between science and humanity served as the initial motivation for one of my primary passions: organizing for environmental justice.
Now that the 2021 baseball season has come to close, I want to take a little trip down memory lane to the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs. To set the scene, after an exciting wild card game win, the Washington Nationals (my team) began a five game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers win the first and third game of the series, and the Nationals win the second and fourth game, making game five a do-or-die situation. The final game took place at Dodgers Stadium, a mere 20 minute drive from Caltech. I pounced on this opportunity, going to the game with my fellow baseball-fanatic and Caltech student, Arya.
Whenever I tell someone that Caltech has an undergraduate population of less than one thousand people, their first reaction is disbelief. “Really?” they exclaim. “You must know everyone! How can you get a real college experience with so few undergrads?”