Goucher Eats: In defense of carbs

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

Most fad diets piss me off. Maybe it’s a waitress thing, maybe I’ve heard too many people say that they need to eat gluten free, what they really mean is that they don’t want bread on their sandwich. That’s fine, say “I don’t want bread,” because when you say you can’t eat gluten I assume you have Celiac’s Disease and run back to the chefs and demand that they hide the flour and wash their hands four times before touching your food. I think the whole gluten free movement has stemmed from a phobia that erupted about the time of the Atkins diet; it is the fear of carbohydrates. This bothers me on three fronts: the health level, the biological level, and the foodie level. Let’s start with the health level. Not all carbohydrates are bad for you. In fact none are bad for you in moderation. Are refined sugars a super food? No. Are they going to kill you? No, not as long as you aren’t guzzling a two liter of Mountain Dew or eating a bag of that half-priced candy you got the day after Halloween on a daily basis. And what about all of the foods that are both carbohydrates and toted as being healthy? What do you think fruit is? With the possible exception of avocado, it’s 100% carbs. Vegetables? Possibly a little protein in there, but mostly carbs. Which is fine, which is healthy and beautiful and fine. And what about those whole grains Dr. Oz keeps preaching about? Brown rice and quinoa may have more protein than their refined counterparts, but they’re carbohydrates in macromolecule and culinary terms. Which is ok. There’s nothing unhealthy about eating a few carbs or even a lot of carbs.

Which brings me to the second justification I have of my opposition to carbphobia: the biological level, which is namely that you need carbohydrates to survive. Our bodies make energy by breaking down the carbohydrates that we eat in a process called metabolism. Yes you can break down fat and even protein for the same purpose, but the easiest way for your body to get energy is through carbohydrates. Which is why the general consensus is that fifty-five percent of the calories you consume should come from carbohydrates. You need carbs; it’s not a sign of untamed cravings, its purely biological.

This brings me to my final defense of carbohydrates, which is culinary. Carbs are good. They taste good and they make you feel good. What is life without carbs? What is PB&J without bread? What is Thanksgiving without stuffing and potatoes? What is your favorite Italian dish without pasta? What is your midnight Chinese takeout without the side order of sticky white rice? What are Saturday morning cartoons without a big bowl of cereal? If we are honest with ourselves, we all like carbs.They are the epitome of comfort food and eating them makes you feel warm and happy. Which is a good sign that you’re giving your body what it needs because your body DOES need carbs. So when you want that big bowl of pasta or half a bag of cereal or entire baguette, “giving in” is not a bad thing. You need carbs, so don’t hate them- love them, eat them, and while you’re at it, pass the breadbasket.

Goucher Eats: The descent of pumpkin mania

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

can say that, without a doubt, fall is here. What tipped me off? It wasn’t the dropping temperatures, the red and orange beginning to speckle treetops and sidewalks, or the pop-up Halloween stores. No, I was alerted to fall’s presence by the annual descent of pumpkin mania. Spiced and hot beverages are advertised by every major coffee chain and accompanied by any imaginable pastry of the same flavor. Even several weeks ago, a trip to Trader Joe’s revealed an entire display of pumpkin related products, everything from oatmeal and cereal bars, to corn bread and pancake mix, all featuring fall’s favorite orange squash. As someone who keeps a fair amount of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin on hand throughout the year, I’m not complaining. That day I ended up leaving TJ’s with pumpkin flavored coffee, rooibos tea, and something called pumpkin butter that I’ve been smearing liberally on just about anything. While I don’t restrict my consumption of pumpkin-themed products to the fall months, I must say that it’s exciting when the rest of the world joins in. Why do we fall so hard for pumpkin every time the temperature starts to drop? Sure, the canned stuff takes center stage in grocery stores at this time, but it can usually be found in the baking aisle year round (trust me, I’ve been known to make up pumpkin soup in the middle of July).  Part of it, I’m sure, comes from the idea of it being “seasonal” both agriculturally and socially in the way that we’ve assigned certain symbols, activities, and even feelings to specific times of year. And in this social construct, fall looks like piles of leaves, it feels like sweaters and high school football games, it smells like bonfires, and it tastes like pumpkin spice.

Here on campus most of us don’t have a lot of cooking supplies or feel like walking all the way to the end of the hallway to use the communal kitchen. If this is you, but you’d like to make yourself a little piece of the seasonal spirit, I have you covered. This recipe is super simple and pretty delicious if I do say so myself. Canned pumpkin is easy to find and pretty inexpensive. The liquid egg whites (or “egg substitute”) are a mini-fridge staple for me, simply because they’re really versatile and are a lot less messy than their shelled counterparts, but if you have real eggs on hand they should work just fine too. Use 1 whole egg for every ¼ cup of substitute and it should turn out, so without further ado I give you: Microwave Pumpkin Pie Soufflé

Equipment:

A microwave safe bowl or large mug

A fork

A microwave

Ingredients:

1 cup of pumpkin puree

½ Cup of liquid egg whites

Pinch of Salt

Cinnamon to Taste

~Teaspoon Sugar/Sweetener

Instructions:

*Place egg whites in bowl and whisk gently a few times with the fork.

*Add pumpkin and mix until the two are well incorporated with one another.

*Add in spices and mix in well.

*After everything is homogenous, place in the microwave for two minutes.

*Continue to microwave in two-minute increments until completely cooked. It should be “solid,” be sure to check the bottom, where uncooked egg likes to hide. The entire cook time is usually about ten to twelve minutes.

*Once cooked through, remove from microwave and let cool (it will be very hot).

*Once cool enough to eat grab a fork and enjoy!

Goucher Eats: 100 days of fruit

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

Summer; a three-month hiatus from classes and cold, the one thing that gets us through the last month of spring semester, and the only thing we talk about the first month of fall semester. Summer is a story that can be told in a thousand ways: through the places we went, the people we met, or the things we did. But I will tell the story of my summer in fruit.

My summer was blueberry picking with some of my best friends. At a local “pick-your own” orchard near my home a gallon of powder blue, quarter-sized berries will set you back fewer than twenty bucks.  The heat of the sun, the thud of berries against the plastic bucket, and the ease with which the ripest ones tumbled off the vine made for a perfect Friday morning. The blueberry oat cookies made for a perfect Saturday night.

My summer was boxes of ripe strawberries, washed, cut, puréed, and baked into a flawlessly flawed strawberry cake, filled with chocolate ganache and topped with vanilla buttercream and delicately toasted coconut. Made with love for my coworker Marina, who worked a double on her birthday.

My summer was fresh cantaloupe, sitting in all its bright orange glory in gallon buckets, just waiting to be portioned down to quarts. Cold in gloved hands, and sweet in your mouth, the melon was a welcome addition to the hundred-degree kitchen and to a hundred salads of arugula, basil, pancetta, goat cheese, and chive crumb.

My summer was medjool dates, thick and plump, soaked in water and pureed into an impossibly sweet paste. Spread onto whole-wheat dough, sprinkled with raisins, nuts, and the all-important cinnamon. Dates and raisins, rolled up and baked into a perfect swirl, and devoured while still warm.

My summer was the cornucopia of fruit that is the country of Costa Rica. It was fresh pineapple and mango every morning. Sweet and tangy, yellow and bright, their juice making the perfect syrup for pancakes and French toast. Coconut that was pulled off of a tree with a clothes hanger stuck to a pole and cut open with a machete (Costa Rica’s Swiss army knife). Momochinoes, bright red and spiky, look lethal, but beneath a demonic exterior, lurks a sweet fruit reminiscent of a grape. Try just one and you’ll be grateful that vendors sell them on literally every corner. Plantains, ripe or green, cooked anyway, slippery and sweet, or starchy and delicious.

My summer was apples. Apples; devoured during five o’clock lunches, the halfway mark of a double. Apples filling up my shopping basket, weighing down my arm, upon every trip to the grocery store.  Apples, the first thing I sought in the airport on the return trip from Costa Rica. My summer was many things and a lot of fruit. The places I went and the fruit I ate were wonderful, but my favorite place was probably home, and my favorite fruit? Apples.

Goucher Eats: Snacks, snacks, and more snacks

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

After sitting through a four-hour plane ride, a four-hour drive, and a couple of “et cetera” hours in

Various snacks on display in the summer sun (Photo: Kathryn Walker)

Various snacks on display in the summer sun (Photo: Kathryn Walker)

between, my first day of spring break in Utah is filled with a lot of sitting and even more snacks. “Snacks on snacks on snacks,” as one of my brothers pointed out when I sent him a picture of the contents of my backpack.  Loaded-up with snacks, I start the real adventuring/ moving part of my journey as I pull into the driveway of the lodge I am staying at.
Bouncing out of the car and itching to move, to do something with my body other than sit, I dig out my hiking boots from my suitcase and strap them on.  In five seconds, zipzipzip, they are laced up my ankles. I head outside and follow the path of the setting sun over the mountainside.  The sunlight fills and glistens over everything.  I can’t help it – I start smiling to myself. Read more of this post

Eats: The land of pasta & carbs

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

I will always, till my last dying breath, be a Carb Consumer.  I will eat endless bowls of winding noodles, savor the soft insides and warmth of a fresh baguette, dole ladles and ladles of oatmeal into a seemingly endless bowl.  Carbs equal energy, plain and simple, but have also provided me with some of my most favorite memories around the table.  The spaghetti dinners with teammates, the pancakes flipped from my grandma’s stove, the radiating warmth of the boulangers’ baguette under my arm.  Scientifically, there are reasons and nerve endings and endorphins that fuel my carb-cravings; but sentimentally, I just love eating any and all sorts of carbohydrates.
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Goucher Eats: Winter winds and warm thoughts

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

In the depths of this winter arctic tundra, I seem to have switched over to an almost entirely hot-liquid diet: hot tea, hot coffee, hot soup, hot cocoa, hot stews, hot whatever. Most recently, I even tried making “hot” ice cream by pouring some next-to-boiling coffee over top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream (spoiler alert: the ice cream melts). When the winds are a’blowin’ and my fingers freeze almost instantaneously and my nose resembles Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’s, I reach for something that will transform me from a human icicle into a human capable of functioning sans shivers.
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Goucher Eats: The time capsule of a 12 year-old

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

I had quite a fair share of freaking out moments while home for Winter Break: freaking out about school, freaking out about life after school, freaking out about split ends in my hair, freaking out about finding those split ends while at school, and even occasionally, freaking out about freaking out.  Maybe it’s because I’m graduating from college in less than five months.  Or maybe because Winter Break was the most time I’ve spent at home in a long, long time.  Or maybe because access to Nutella and peanut butter was at an all-time low.  But in any case, right in the middle of this, my mom presented me with an ultimatum: “Clean your room or you can’t use the car.”  And because you can’t live in suburbia without a car, and because you can’t go calm your nerves at happy hour in suburbia without a car, I responded with a growl and stomped up to my room.

For the next three hours, I sorted through the heaps of clothes on the floor that had become my temporary laundry basket, the drawers full of “treasures” that consisted of ticket stubs and empty wine bottles, the half-finished art projects that lay scattered across my desk.  Left and right, I was tossing and stuffing tchotchkes into trashbags and liquor boxes.  With Beyonce blasting through my laptop speakers, I worked my way through years and years of accumulated junk without a pause until I came across a time capsule of sorts: an essay titled “My Future: Dreams, Wishes, and Goals By Kathryn Walker.” May 25, 2004.

10 years ago.

An artifact from my brace-face years.

Here are some of the highlights of the Dreams, Wishes, and Goals of my 12 year-old self:

1. The one that made me actually laugh-out-loud: Triple major in English, Asian studies, and Forensic Science.

2. The ones that have actually come true: To travel the world and go to France and the United Kingdom; get a tan without burning myself.

3. The one that made me roll my eyes back into my head: Maybe be valedictorian??????????

4. The one that is too strange to comprehend: Develop a Bostonian accent.

5. The one that made me feel like I was having a conversation with my 12-year old self: Retire to a tropical place that has really good food (beach included).

6. The ones that are ironic and comical and have very slim odds of ever happening: That all the Philadelphia sports teams win national championships and that I go to all the parades. 

7. The ones that made me fairly impressed with my past aspirations: Create a way to help people NOT pollute the environment.

8. The ones that are basically impossible now: Get an endorsement deal with Nike as a star of the US Women’s National Soccer team. 

9. The ones that I’m still chasing after: To travel the world – All of Asia, Russia, Spain, South Africa; learn how to surf.

10. The one that only my 12 year-old self would have ever thought possible: Eat all the good food in the world while being a world renowned author, first Lady President, and a resident of Maine.

And then the conclusion: What will happen if they don’t come true?

Well Future Self, if they’re not coming true, you better get a move on.  

It’s funny to see how all along food, travel, and adventure have fascinated me.  A sign perhaps, for future Post-Goucher Endeavors? Maybe, who knows.  But in any case, here’s to not freaking out anymore, baking roughly five million cookies, graduating college with pizazz and gusto, and then taking some advice from my 12 year-old self: learn how to surf (and maybe learn a lot more along the way).

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