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eG Foodblog: Malawry - 34 hungry college girls


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Greatly enjoying your blog too--and definitely having flashbacks to my own college/grad school days, when I wasn't fed anywhere near as well as you feed your girls, Malawry.

I especially recall one dish the college cafeteria tried out in an effort to please the vegetarian students, with the rather unsettling name Polynesian Meatless Balls. After the food service staff got tired of all the kidding they received on that one, they rechristened the dish Polynesian Meat-like Balls. After further kidding, the food service folks just gave up on that entree altogether. 'Twould appear that people "eat" with their ears as well as their eyes. :biggrin:

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I'm amazed and impressed that you're making stock for their soups! They seem to be getting much higher quality food than I would have expected. And you still have excess budget and could be doing even more, if you could clone yourself? Wow.

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Those Polynesian hoohahs sound a little scary, Mizducky. That being said, I do provide a vegetarian entree at dinner every night, and sometimes it's a challenge to come up with something interesting that they'll like. They're generally not very into beans, but I think it's a shame for me to give them most of their protein from dairy and eggs--beans are so fiber- and nutrient-rich. I occasionally offer tofu, especially for Asian-style meals, and also sometimes chunked up in a pot pie or breaded and pan-fried with a BBQ sauce. They'll eat it every now and then. They looooove the coconut-chickpea curry (with coconut milk making up the bulk of the liquid).

Abra, I can't fathom not making my own stock. Beth learned pretty quickly after I started my job that I like to do a lot of things the old-fashioned way, and she stopped pushing prefab foods on me as a result. Then one day her boss came in with her and was interested in why I was ordering whole chickens. When I told him they were for stock, he started going off on all the great "stock products" Sysco carries. Poor Beth was trying to look supportive of her boss trying to make a sale and me tuning him out at the same time. :rolleyes:

I don't know why I have so much budget left. I'm trying to get in better products for them, and I was lobbying for a soda machine but I don't think they want one at this point. (They can buy soda for 50 cents from a can-dispensing machine in the basement, but I wanted to install a fountain.) I am a little hamstrung by my lack of fridge space--if there was more room, I could offer more fresh juices and fruits. I get $36k a semester. Right now, there's about $46k left in the budget. :shock:

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Oatmeal with Trader Joe's golden berry blend and more coffee to start the day. I went to bed at 8:30pm last night, I was so exhausted. A good thing too, because today will be a major challenge for me. There's a fraternity coming over for dinner, and then there's a fondue party later tonight that I'm furnishing. This means about 100 hungry college students, followed by about 60 sugar-buzzed college girls. Oy.

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I am savoring this blog. Sincerely. And with relish. You are a fine writer, Malawry.

I'm curious about your observations of the appetites and eating behavior of the girls in general, since eating disorders manifest big-time in college-aged women. Do you see any of the girls struggling with this issue? Is there a heightened awareness or sensitivity regarding a girl's chronic meal skipping or bingeing and/or purging in an intimate environment like that?

Edited by Verjuice (log)
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Just caught up with your blog and I have a couple of suggestions, jic you didn't think of them already. You mentioned one of your ovens doesn't work properly and that the university provides maintenance to the kitchen. Can you not get them to get it functioning?

No meat slicer? You have excess budget, can you purchase equipment with it?

Cleaning the grease trap... Pledge chore? :laugh:

Han Ah Reum... Does yours have one of those rice cake making machines? They are really good, thought you might like to suppliment the girls' chips with some bags of that.

Boboli - Do they come frozen? They can be stored at room temperature for quite a while if not. I don't see why you need to have them taking up room in your freezer, since you must go through them at a brisk rate. A case a month, more?

Back to equipment purchases... Do the girls have access to a microwave and or toaster oven when you aren't there? You could make the Boboli pizzas a "do it yourself" item, like the salad bar. Speaking of the salad bar... Fruit salad, carrot and celery sticks. The croutons don't need to be in the chilled section, do they?

Back to excess budget... Perhaps a luxury ingredient dinner once a month, like lobster, crab, or rack of lamb? Something to expand their palates and increase the prestige of the house.

Sounds like your house if very lucky to have you.

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Rachel, I was thinking seafood, too! Seems like it would be a nice luxury item.

Assuming everyone eats fish, that is. One never knows. My best friend wouldn't touch the stuff until well into her 20s (and now loves it.)

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Oatmeal with Trader Joe's golden berry blend and more coffee to start the day. I went to bed at 8:30pm last night, I was so exhausted. A good thing too, because today will be a major challenge for me. There's a fraternity coming over for dinner, and then there's a fondue party later tonight that I'm furnishing. This means about 100 hungry college students, followed by about 60 sugar-buzzed college girls. Oy.

That berry blend is a favorite at my house - the kids like it on their oatmeal with some maple syrup. Trader Joe's nuts and dried fruits are great quality at a great price. Which TJ do you go to?

Good luck with the party. I wish I could come help out.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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With some of your excess budget, perhaps you can have some live crawfish shipped in for a crawfish boil. Mmm, crawfish. :wub: Heck, since there's plenty of extra budget, have one of the south Louisiana caterers who provide on site service come to you and boil them, too (or Mayhaw Man). :raz:

Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

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You should feel proud of yourself for being so frugal in regards to food costs...but I've always operated under "use it or lose it" budgets and I know how stressful it can be when you feel pressured to spend your money or face up to seeing it go bye-bye.

Could you do a series of fancy dinners for the girls towards the end of the semester and go whole-hog on ingredients? Maybe serve some very fresh seafood, steaks, etc. Maybe the girls could come up with some events worthy of fancy meals, or depending on the number of graduating seniors, they could have a series of dinners honoring two or three seniors at a time.

Or is your house allowed to give pledges gifts when they complete the pledge period? Maybe you could put together some nice food gift baskets for them.

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What about some expensive mushrooms, such as morels? I'm guessing the young women won't go crazy for foie gras. :laugh:

But seriously, you can get some really high-quality conserves imported from France, some really good imported cheese -- but that all depends on what the women you serve want. Have you asked them for suggestions or some items they might consider more high-end?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'm guessing that as college students, high end or expensive isn't what they are looking for. They'd probably be more interested in brand name foods - Captain Crunch instead of SWEET CORN CRISPS or Starbucks Coffee instead of COFFEE.

Bill Russell

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More for you to ponder...

I wonder if the extra you have in your budget isn't because you buy the chickens and make the stock? OK, so it seems more expensive, but you get so much more with the chickens. Stock, and chicken. Me thinks it would be more expensive to buy stock and chicken meat?

International night. You mentioned this is a favorite. Do you think you have introduced them to new things? Or merely provided a diversion?

I'm loving your blog, and am more and more appreciative of the fact that I only cook for 5.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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After leaving home and going to the gym, I realized I forgot a key ingredient for today’s lunch. The special today is roast beef sandwiches with horseradish mayo. I had some prepared horseradish at home that I planned to bring in, but I forgot it. So I had to leave the gym a little early and head to Shopper’s Food Warehouse, the nearest supermarket to ZTA. I normally detest Shopper’s—it’s the area’s big budget-style supermarket chain, and the customer service and product quality reflect the low costs. But this particular Shopper’s is actually quite nice, and it’s jumbo-sized with tons of services like an olive bar, in-house baked goods and a pharmacy. While I was there, I picked up some bananas and some skewers. The Sysco bananas arrive green and don’t stop at yellow as they fade to black, and the bananas I picked up at Costco on Sunday were long gone by the time I left work yesterday. The skewers were for tonight—I don’t know what kind of arrangements they have made for tonight’s fondue party, but I am sure the sorority doesn’t have fondue forks. They used skewers instead of fondue forks the last time they did a fondue party, but I can’t count on them to remember to get skewers on their own. So I bought some while I was out.

There’s a Starbucks in the same shopping center as the Shopper’s Food Warehouse, so I stopped by and picked up a pathetic cup of over-roasted decaf coffee. I oughta know better, but that place sings some kind of siren song or something and I find myself stopping in.

I got to work right at 10am—the latest I appear there, except for Fridays. My boss set out dinner for the girls last night several hours after I departed, and then at the end of the night she broke down the salad bar for me. She put the tongs, ladles, and a couple of empty canisters in the sink and loaded everything else into the fridge. So I had to set up my three-part sink first thing and wash those dishes before I could get the salad bar going. I think I had the salad bar completely set up at 10:45am. At that time, I defrosted more chicken stock to make extra chicken noodle soup, started baking some previously-made cookie dough off for tonight, and set up my mise-en-place (MEP) for the short-order service.

I like to make my cookies pretty small. That way, you can eat more of them. :rolleyes:

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Here’s the mise I require for the standard short-order menu. This is in addition to any mise for specials:

Diced onion. Diced red bell pepper. Sliced mushrooms. Shredded cheddar. Shredded mozzarella. Pizza sauce. Sliced pepperoni. Breads: white, wheat, burger buns, dog buns. Sliced cheeses: American, provolone, Swiss. I set out the following items for self-service: Salsa. Sour cream. Sliced pickles. Mayonnaise. Big leaves of lettuce. Sliced tomato. Artfully-arranged sliced deli meats. Boboli shells, cooked chicken breasts, Boca burgers, Gardenburgers, and the vegetarian “chicken” stay in the freezer. I repack the hot dogs into Ziploc bags of 10 and keep one in the fridge at a time, the rest in the freezer. Eggs are also kept in the fridge.

Because today is such a busy day, today’s lunch special is of the “condiment for an existing item” variety (roast beef sandwiches with horseradish mayo). The mayo is simply prepared horseradish and black pepper stirred into prepared mayo. Takes me 5 seconds to prep.

I started writing the above at 11:30am. In between writing, I served the following to girls:

Two chicken breast sandwiches, a chicken breast on a plate without bread, a hot dog without the bun, two fried eggs with American, a vegetarian “chicken” sandwich, a horseradish-beef sandwich on toasted wheat, a grilled chicken wrap with lettuce and tomato, a single bowl of chicken-noodle soup. I took the Bobolis off the menu today because I need to be able to use my ovens for cookies and starting tonight’s dinner—one girl already came by and left dissatisfied because she couldn’t have pizza. (She came back later for a hot dog.)

1:45pm:

What a busy afternoon. I started making my late plates when I wrapped up what I wrote above, but I didn’t have time to finish them until almost 1:15pm. About 15 girls came downstairs for lunch right at the same time, and another 7 or so came down just as I was putting out those 15 orders. I told one ruefully, “When it rains, it pours.” Meanwhile, my Sysco driver Wayne showed up with this week’s order, so I was checking quality and trying to put the cold stuff away in between making all those lunch orders. Whenever Wayne shows up, I start wondering what the hell I was thinking ordering all this stuff and where on earth I’m going to stow it. Somehow, I always manage to make space somewhere. I put out a lot of things for the girls like fresh fruit as soon as it comes in, partly to spare myself from having to fit it in the fridge.

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Can you believe I fit all that in my fridge?

I got all the cookies done (Wayne swiped a sugar cookie) and wrapped up all the late plates. Finally, 1:30 rolled around and I was able to break down my lunch stuff. I immediately began assembling the eggplant parmigiana for tonight while I cooked food for my own lunch—I normally take a break around 1:45pm.

I said something earlier about “mailing it in” sometimes. Today is definitely one of those days. I have a fraternity coming by for dinner at 5:30 tonight, which means all the girls (including pledges and others who don’t live in the house) plus about 25 boys. I am preparing food for 110 or so, but expect closer to 80 people tonight. When that many people come over, I have to compromise some on food quality. So I buy prebreaded eggplant and precooked, prebreaded chicken breasts. It’s the only way!

I did make dessert from scratch at least: assorted cookies. When I am cooking for this many people I know at least a week in advance, and I can start work well in advance of the day they come over. I prepare dessert twice a week for the girls. So last week, I made enormous batches of sugar cookies and then chocolate-chip cookies another time. I baked off enough for that night each time, and then I froze the rest of the dough. Last Friday, I set up my mise-en-place for oatmeal cookies (measured everything out into baggies), and then on Sunday I made the dough and baked them off. (I also baked off half of the reserved chocolate chip cookie dough on Sunday.) Today I pulled out the rest of the chocolate-chip dough and the sugar cookie dough and baked those off. I finished getting dessert together around 1pm. There’s a big basket, spray-painted silver, that I like to line with napkins and fill with cookies when I do a big assortment like this. (I also use the basket for breakfast breads, or regular breads if I do a lunch sandwich buffet for some reason.) It gives a sense of plentitude, I think.

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After dinner, at 7pm, I am providing chocolate fondue with various dippers. I bought a lot of fruit, plus some pound cake, pretzels and marshmallows. I made the fondue mix yesterday, so I only have to melt it down and set up trays of dippers. Hopefully that will be fairly simple…

I am done eating lunch now (it’s 2pm). I prepared a Hebrew National hot dog with lots of kraut, some Swiss cheese and a little bit of homemade 1000 Island dressing—sort of a Reuben dog. Later I’ll take another short break and eat a small salad. But for now, I really have to get back to work. My mental list of jobs to complete will just dog me until I hack it down to manageable size, so breaks aren’t that relaxing right now. (Which is why this was a short one.)

(5:45pm) I must have been smoking crack when I suggested I’d have time to take a break and eat a salad. No such luck. At this point the fraternity is here, all the boys have food, and about half the girls have food too. (When they have boys over, they usually let the boys get their food first. This typically results in half the boys rejoining the queue to chat up girls and get more food.) I set up a buffet line for dinner since it seemed the fastest way to serve 100 kids.

Tonight’s menu, for posterity:

Chicken or eggplant parmigiana

Linguine with red sauce

Garlic bread

Green beans

Assorted cookies: sugar/chocolate chip/oatmeal

After my too-brief break this afternoon, I got cracking on dinner. I set up 4 disposable hotel pans with layered chicken, sauce and cheese and tossed them in the oven. I put a huge pot of water on the stove and started the hour-long process of getting it to come to the boil. Then I started putting garlic butter in between the pre-cut slices of Italian bread I got from Ottenberg’s yesterday. I make the world’s simplest garlic butter: I just buzz cloves of garlic in the Cuisinart with Kosher salt, and then I add room-temp butter and run the machine for 5 or 6 minutes. Voila, garlic butter!

While I was making more butter for the garlic bread, the carpenter for Fraternity Row came by. I’d never met him before, but he said he’d heard of me. He replaced my door handle with one that includes a deadbolt. His name is Frank. Nice guy. Says his wife loves garlic bread.

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(The rest of this, I’m writing from home at 8pmish.)

After I had all the bread ready, I cooked a bunch of frozen green beans in my now-boiling water (to which I’d added a hefty shot of Kosher salt). I use frozen green beans mostly because I can’t stand trimming beans, and because haricots verts are not sold by Sysco (and those are the only beans I think are worthwhile fresh). Then I dumped the water, rinsed and refilled the pot, and put it back on the stove to come back to a boil. This second pot of water was used for boiling the linguine; the pasta sauce just came from a can and was heated in a pot on the stove.

While I waited for the pasta water to boil, I assembled the trays of dippers for the fondue tonight. I cut up some pineapple and cantaloupe, sliced pound cake from Costco into chunks, and arranged pretzels and marshmallows on four trays.

Around this time, Stewart came by to drop off a check for me. Stewart is the chef for the sorority next door, and he’s become a good friend of mine. I called him to ask about the check earlier, and when I said hi he responded, “Hey! What’s for dinner?” We’re always asking each other what we’re cooking, to glean menu ideas and compare notes. I told him my brief tale of woe: fraternity over for dinner, fondue party, head up my ass so far I haven’t seen anything but poop for hours. (It really wasn’t all that bad in retrospect, but my back is sore and it was a loooong day.)

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I mentioned a gourmet food supplier earlier. When I was asked to do this fondue party, I balked because I didn’t have enough chocolate to make the fondue. I don’t order enough from the gourmet food supplier (Gourmeco) to get an order sent free, so I place orders with them twice a year and drive out to pick my goodies up. They’re all the way out in Sterling, VA (near Dulles Airport), and they keep regular business hours, so I can only go there when I’m not working for the day—during a break, in other words. Sysco only sells bar chocolate, and it has their label on it, which doesn’t bode well IMO. So I buy Noel chocolate in pistole form (64% dark) from Gourmeco at the start of the semester and use it for brownies, chocolate sauce, and whatever other needs I have. Fondue uses a buttload of chocolate when you’re making it for 60 people though, and I only had about 3lbs of chocolate left. So I had to place a special order, and bite the bullet and pay $25 for delivery. Ouch! I didn’t really need anything besides the chocolate, but I picked up a couple of goodies which I’ll use later this week, and Stewart ordered some treats for his girls too. (This is why Stewart needed to give me a check.) I could have bought block chocolate and chopped it, but the very thought exhausts me. I hate chopping chocolate, I will go way out of my way to get pistoles so I won’t have to deal with it.

Anyway, seeing Stewart always cheers me up. He called my fondue dippers “pretty.” When I asked if I could take his picture he wanted to pose with a pineapple. He’s such a great guy—I really value his friendship.

By the time Stewart went back to his kitchen, I was so busy I wasn’t thinking much. Cooking can get rather rhythmic after a while. It’s meditative—I just know what needs to happen when, and I don’t have to think about it. Chicken parm came out of the oven, and eggplant parm and garlic bread went in. I moved a table close to the kitchen and set it up for buffet service. The cookies got arranged in their basket. Extra lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber got cut up and the salad bar was refreshed. Pasta was boiled, sauce was heated, and they were combined. I changed into a jacket (I normally wear a t-shirt, chef pants and a bistro apron at work, but I keep clean chef jackets around for “formal wear.”) I rolled the bus cart where dirty dishes are deposited into my kitchen because I planned to serve on paper (I don’t have enough dishes for 80 people), so the cart was an unnecessary eyesore. I finished setting everything out at 5:20 and started washing dishes. The boys appeared at 5:30 sharp.

Some of the guys seemed really interested in who I was, what my kitchen was like, and what I did there. They apparently don’t have a kitchen in their house, and there’s no big meal service. Some of them pay to use the catering company that used to run my house’s food service, and the rest of them eat out all the time. One guy told me that they had sinks like mine, but “they’re always full of shit.” (I told him I’d freak out if that was my sink. “Who took a dump in my sink?”) Another thanked me for the green beans and the salad bar: “Wow, like I never eat vegetables!” They were enthusiastic about the food, especially the cookies, and some asked if they could come eat with me again. (I told them to be nice to the sisters and we’d see.)

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There was plenty of food—enough that the guys took some extra chicken parm back to their house with them. While they ate, I warmed up the fondue in a bain-marie. The sisters purchased two $9 mini-crockpots from Target to use for fondue tonight, so I unpacked them and washed them out. Then I made the late plates from dinner, broke down the salad bar, and slowly packed and put away everything from dinner. I washed all my dishes and scrubbed down the salad bar. I set a small pot of water to boil on the stove and used the hot water to fill the empty crockpots. Then I dumped out the hot water, wiped the interiors dry, and filled the pots with hot fondue. I pulled out all the trays of dippers and sent girls upstairs with all the fondue goodies. And then I finished cleaning things up and happily locked my new deadbolt on the way out.

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Right now I’m feeling really glad I went to bed at 8:30pm last night. Phew!

Edited to add photos.

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Wow. I can't imaginen preparing food for 34, much less for 80.

As others have said, this brings back college memories for me. The first two years, I lived in the dorm and ate the cafeteria food. The last two, I lived in my sorority house. We were a small house (8-10 residents) and our kitchen was no more than a standard (OK, quasi-pathetic) residential kitchen, and we did all our own cooking. We had designated shelves in the fridge and pantry, though many of us relied on frozen meals much of the time. Once a week, we did have our chapter meeting and volunteers would cook dinner, at the most for 35 to 40 of us, at the least, about 20.

So to hear about your setup (and your girls' setup) sounds like living in the lap of luxury by comparison!

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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I'm curious about your observations of the appetites and eating behavior of the girls in general, since eating disorders manifest big-time in college-aged women. Do you see any of the girls struggling with this issue? Is there a heightened awareness or sensitivity regarding a girl's chronic meal skipping or bingeing and/or purging in an intimate environment like that?

Thanks for the compliments, Verjuice. I don't really see many of the girls struggling with eating disorders. Some of them do struggle with their weight, but they seem to have a healthy approach to weight management. They often go to the gym together in groups of two or three, and they ask my advice on eating healthily. I don't see a lot of neurosis, but I suspect the girls I don't see so often have more problems in their approach to food. These sisters are generally proud of being down-to-earth though. I once overheard one saying something about it being weird that several of them served on some eating disorders task force, yet none of them seem to have an eating disorder. It could be hard to hide anorexia or bulimia, considering that everybody has at least one roommate except for the president--the way to do it would be to stay away from the house. The bathrooms are shared, except for a single bathroom in the basement and another on the ground level. I've never heard anybody yarking in the basement bathroom.

You mentioned one of your ovens doesn't work properly and that the university provides maintenance to the kitchen. Can you not get them to get it functioning?

No meat slicer? You have excess budget, can you purchase equipment with it?

Cleaning the grease trap... Pledge chore? :laugh:

Han Ah Reum... Does yours have one of those rice cake making machines? They are really good, thought you might like to suppliment the girls' chips with some bags of that.

Boboli - Do they come frozen? They can be stored at room temperature for quite a while if not. I don't see why you need to have them taking up room in your freezer, since you must go through them at a brisk rate. A case a month, more?

Back to equipment purchases... Do the girls have access to a microwave and or toaster oven when you aren't there? You could make the Boboli pizzas a "do it yourself" item, like the salad bar. Speaking of the salad bar... Fruit salad, carrot and celery sticks. The croutons don't need to be in the chilled section, do they?

Back to excess budget... Perhaps a luxury ingredient dinner once a month, like lobster, crab, or rack of lamb?

Ovens: I've tried calling them about it. It's apparently not a huge priority to get it fixed.

I cannot purchase major equipment like a meat slicer with the food budget. If I could, we'd have two more residential-style fridges, one for the girls and one for me. They do have access to a toaster oven and a microwave. Bobolis are just better if I make them on the pizza stone, and it's usually not a problem to use one oven for that during lunch. (Today was the only day I've taken them off the menu since I added them in January.) Boboli shells come frozen and say "KEEP FROZEN" on the box, so I'm following directions.

I have been adding more luxe foods to their diet in recent weeks, as you shall see later this week. But it's still a far cry from eating up the budget. Frankly they'd rather eat chicken most of the time!

Trader Joe's nuts and dried fruits are great quality at a great price.  Which TJ do you go to?

I love TJ's too, and buy a lot there for home use. I usually go to the one in Rockville, and go eat lunch at A&J (dim sum) while I'm in the neighborhood. There's one opening in Silver Spring soon, though, and once that opens I'll have a lot less reason to hit the Rockville Pike.

You should feel proud of yourself for being so frugal in regards to food costs...but I've always operated under "use it or lose it" budgets and I know how stressful it can be when you feel pressured to spend your money or face up to seeing it go bye-bye.

Could you do a series of fancy dinners for the girls towards the end of the semester and go whole-hog on ingredients? Maybe serve some very fresh seafood, steaks, etc. Maybe the girls could come up with some events worthy of fancy meals, or depending on the number of graduating seniors, they could have a series of dinners honoring two or three seniors at a time.

Or is your house allowed to give pledges gifts when they complete the pledge period? Maybe you could put together some nice food gift baskets for them.

I do feel proud of myself, Designchick. And it's not a total loss if I don't spend all the money. But I'd like to spend more of it. These are some fabulous ideas, and I will see if I can do anything with them.

What about some expensive mushrooms, such as morels? I'm guessing the young women won't go crazy for foie gras. :laugh:

But seriously, you can get some really high-quality conserves imported from France, some really good imported cheese -- but that all depends on what the women you serve want. Have you asked them for suggestions or some items they might consider more high-end?

They don't really care for luxury ingredients. Honestly. Their suggestions are along the lines of "more fruit," which I'm trying to do for them. They rarely even ask for steak.

I'm guessing that as college students, high end or expensive isn't what they are looking for.  They'd probably be more interested in brand name foods - Captain Crunch instead of SWEET CORN CRISPS or Starbucks Coffee instead of COFFEE.

Most of the prepared foods they get are brand-name, including all their cereals and snackies. I think they prefer that, and I don't mind doing it for them.

More for you to ponder...

I wonder if the extra you have in your budget isn't because you buy the chickens and make the stock?  OK, so it seems more expensive, but you get so much more with the chickens.  Stock, and chicken.  Me thinks it would be more expensive to buy stock and chicken meat?

International night.  You mentioned this is a favorite.  Do you think you have introduced them to new things?  Or merely provided a diversion?

I don't understand your first question, Snowangel. I don't know if it's more or less expensive to buy stock and chicken meat. (It's probably cheaper if you factor in my labor.) I am a frugal person by nature--I detest food waste, and try to make the most out of every purchase. Chickens for stock seems like a no-brainer.

I have indeed introduced the girls to many new foods, some of which have become favorites that they request often. Yes, ethnic meals are a diversion from the ordinary for me, but most of the girls are genuinely curious eaters and willing to sample something different. Some things they ask for include tomato beurre blanc, pan-fried tilapia, pad thai, coconut-chickpea curry, yogurt-marinated charred chicken, pierogies, choucroute. They also love my real mashed potatoes, and they still ask about the fried chicken I made one time last semester. (I promised to make it again, after Spring Break and preferably after Lent is over so everybody can enjoy it.)

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So I had to place a special order, and bite the bullet and pay $25 for delivery. Ouch!

Repeat after me: It's ok to spend money. It's ok to spend money. It's ok to spend money.

Seriously, I know how you feel. I hate spending the boss's money without thinking I got the absolute best price. I find your blog really interesting. Thanks for sharing your week.

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A couple of people have commented how it's too bad the girls can't use the kitchen, but lack of interest is probably also a pretty big factor.

Ditto what Lexy said. I lived in the dorms for one year (the grossest little kitchen with just a dirty, dirty microwave, a sink and cabinets we weren't allowed to store stuff in). Then a sorority for one, an apartment for one and a nice, normal house for senior year.

I really had zero interest in cooking for the first three years; my final year was much more civilized, however one of my four roommates in the house did 60% of the cooking--fortunately she was generous!

But while I did live in the sorority house, our eating was way below the level of Malawry's efforts, I'm certain. Our chef Don was more concerned with saying gross, suggestive stuff to the women of the house than with planning interesting and/or nutritious meals. I can still picture him in all of his creepiness. :blink: That mustache...

Also, if I had to guess, I'd say 10% of the live-ins were affected by eating disorders (so not fun).

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What about some expensive mushrooms, such as morels? I'm guessing the young women won't go crazy for foie gras. :laugh:

But seriously, you can get some really high-quality conserves imported from France, some really good imported cheese -- but that all depends on what the women you serve want. Have you asked them for suggestions or some items they might consider more high-end?

BAH! wrong attitude! this is why we always get served stinkin' grilled cheese! (no offense to yummy grilled cheese, but young women, like everybody else in the universe like to be exposed to GOOD THINGS. new, old, funny looking, non name brand, please don't underestimate us for being young or women. sometimes we surprise.

I'm guessing that as college students, high end or expensive isn't what they are looking for.  They'd probably be more interested in brand name foods - Captain Crunch instead of SWEET CORN CRISPS or Starbucks Coffee instead of COFFEE.

I think considering your lucky budget and you obvious food skills, perhaps you take it upon yourself Malawry, to gently expand the bounderies and horizons for you less fortunate sisters and raise the bar for "college" food. you seem to do quite a bit by scratch and the food sounds lovely, really quite nice, but i think the girls would really surprise you (and others) if given the chance to try new stuff. bring on the morels, oysters, truffles, micro greens etc! perhaps it flops and they eat hotdogs for the rest of the semester...but just imagine the girl who orders carpaccio for lunch... :wub:

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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So I had to place a special order, and bite the bullet and pay $25 for delivery. Ouch!

Repeat after me: It's ok to spend money. It's ok to spend money. It's ok to spend money.[...]

Besides, remind yourself how far you are under budget.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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In addition to being extremely averse to food waste, I am averse to spending money just for the sake of spending money. So yeah, the $25 delivery charge from Gourmeco bugged me. But the only way around it was to order much much more than I needed. So I bit the bullet. I'm not flogging myself about it or anything, don't worry. Sometimes I am frugal to a fault though--I finally allowed myself to buy a fine-mesh chinois this semester because I was so sick of cloudy stocks. I should have bought that ages ago!

You know, all these high-end food concepts are amazing ideas. There are two major problems with them:

1. It's very hard for me to source these things. I basically have to go buy them myself on my own uncompensated time, and get reimbursed. I just don't have hundreds of dollars laying about for oysters and microgreens to float the sorority on a regular basis.

2. These girls want simple foods for the most part. They're busy studying, participating in extracurricular activities, organizing stuff for the sorority. They don't want to be confronted with the truly outrageous at dinnertime, they just want a satisfying meal. They'll stretch out some, sure, but I don't think foie and truffles would fly very well. When you cook for others, you always have to consider your audience after all. They didn't hire me to run a fine-dining operation.

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