Goucher Eats: Pieces of perfection

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

One of my favorite things about home is going to work. For the past four summers (and during the school year before I started college), I have worked in a small seafood restaurant, appropriately titled Off the Hook. It has been a really wonderful experience with a lot of great people and out of this world food. Seared Ahi tuna, buttermilk battered calamari, grilled swordfish, white cheddar grits, corn and jalapeno crab bisque, trust me it’s all good; fresh, local seafood at its best. But my favorite thing on the menu isn’t fish; it’s not even an entrée. No, it’s the chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake.

The cake first graced our presence in the winter of my senior year of high school. Walking back to the kitchen with my hands full of plates, I saw my manager and several of the servers gathered around the prep station. “That should be illegal” one of the servers said as I came back out. “What?” I asked as my eyes fell upon the huge caramel covered mass in front of me. “Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake” my manager told me, each word like a prayer. I grabbed a fork.

Words cannot truly describe this dessert. First of all, it’s cheesecake, so it’s rich and creamy but not overly sweet, with a perfect graham cracker crust. Second of all, there are mounds of cookie dough and chocolate chips hiding inside all of that creamy goodness. I’ve found that the perfect bites have all three components; my favorite spot is near the bottom of the crust, with a hunk of cookie dough and chocolate surrounded by creamy cheesecake and tucked into a cave of graham cracker.

And that’s the way I usually get to enjoy it: by the rushed forkful. We cut desserts piece by piece, which means that usually the last bit is too big for one piece but too small for two. We resolve the dilemma by cutting the cake unevenly- the big half destined to be dressed up and served to guests in the dining room, and the smaller half to be descended upon with soup spoons, cocktail forks, and whatever else is clean and can be considered a utensil. It wasn’t until I came home from college for a weekend and my parents and I went out to dinner that I had an entire piece, garnish and all. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, but don’t think that means that I shared it. Oh no, I got over the emotional trauma quickly enough and enjoyed every bite.

Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. A mouthful of a name, but it’s my favorite dessert to recite to diners, and the one I always save for last. It’s also my favorite thing to deliver to a table. Eyes go wide as they catch sight of the cake, topped with a cookie, drizzled with chocolate syrup and sitting on a plate adorned with chocolate and caramel swirls. I smile as I set down the forks and ask if I can bring them anything else. The answer is always no, trust me; there’s nothing your life is lacking when you have chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. When I return to ask how it is, I don’t need to wait for an answer, it’s written on their faces and the empty plate. It’s my favorite thing to force on new employees.

Whenever one of those magical misfit pieces appears on the prep table, I hunt down the newbies and make sure the other vultures save them a bite. And that bite tastes perfect every time. Whether it’s eaten off of a plate or a cocktail fork, eaten while sitting down or while walking from dish room to dining room, whether it’s the first time you tasted it or the hundredth, that bite is heaven.

Goucher Eats: “When in Season”

Jessica Gude

Features Co-Editor

There are few foods that my family restricts to certain times of the year. My father has been known to whip a box of Thin Mints out of the freezer in the middle of July, and I keep a sizable collection of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin year round. Sure, we have the traditional meals that go with certain holidays or seasons, but it isn’t like turkey in mid-April is out of the question. However, our open-minded flexibility has its limits and that line is drawn at corn on the cob. I know it sounds silly, but trust me, in Sussex County, Delaware, corn in a big deal.

My father is a stickler for quality corn on the cob. Don’t even think about buying the frozen stuff or even the cellophane wrapped packages in the produce aisle. No, he wants to see it in the husk. And even when the crates show up in the first few weeks of June, he eyes them wearily. “That’s Carolina corn,” he says matter-of-factly, despite the “local” sign tacked next to the price tag, “ours won’t be ready for weeks.” And he’s right. The fields we pass on the way home have stalks barely a foot high. “Knee high by the Fourth of July” is the adage (given we get enough rain of course), so we won’t get really local corn until a few weeks after that.

But soon enough, the roadside stands pop up with local heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, and an abundance of corn. We finally get our hands on those ears, it is clear why we wait. The corn available for Memorial Day is pathetic, with small kernels and big gaps, like a second grader’s mouth, with rows that are half baby teeth and half expectant holes. The corn that comes later (and after a good deal of patience) is so worth the wait. The entire cob is well populated with huge, sweet kernels that burst when you bite into them. Sunday, the one day I have off each week, has been ordained “summer meal” night and is always accompanied by a plate of freshly shucked corn. On the weeks when I worked all seven days, I would arrive home and bound up the porch steps at the sight of stray corn silks littering the ground.Sure enough,sitting in the bottom drawer of the fridge, are the two ears  they saved for me.

The few short weeks where we can get the best local corn, make up for the months that we can’t. I’ve come to realize that this is what makes corn on the cob (and any food worth having) special. Yes, it tastes like summer and days at the beach and nights catching fireflies, but it also reminds me that some things are only worth doing if you can do them well. It reminds me that despite what many pessimists tell you, it is still possible to buy food from the farmers who grew it. It makes me realize that the best things aren’t the things you can have everyday and that the things you love the most are usually the simplest.

Goucher Eats: Senior eats finale

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

This is my belated thank you letter, the one that extends hundreds of miles and

Kathryn Walker ‘14 and her brothers outside Stimson Hall after moving in Freshman year (Photo: Courtesy of Kathryn Walker)

Kathryn Walker ‘14 and her brothers outside Stimson Hall after moving in Freshman year (Photo: Courtesy of Kathryn Walker)

oceans wide, the one that I should have written to so many people for so many things, the one that never came in the mail or still lies unwritten on my desk.  For the things big and small, heroic or ordinary, important or inconsequential.  For the people, moments, and places that have swept me off my feet and shaken my small corner of the world.  As the Dictionary of Obsolete Sorrows so aptly describes, a memory, a lifetime, “are not just the moments, not the grand gestures or the catered ceremonies, not the poised person smiling in photos, they’re the invisible things. The minutes, the cheap raw material of ordinary time.”
Four years ago, my family – both parents and all three brothers in tow – dropped me off at Goucher in the sweltering Baltimore heat for my first cross-country pre-season, my first real Goucher memory.  After four hours of unpacking, sweating, and bickering, I waved them off with a factitiously haughty, “I’ll see you at Thanksgiving – maybe.”  Five minutes later, I was lying on my bed staring at the cracks in the ceiling and wishing with all my heart that my family would hear my silent thoughts and come back for me and take me home.  I came to the conclusion that if this was what college would be like – silent, lonely, sweaty – then these next four years were going to suck.
Read more of this post

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.
Read more of this post

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.
Read more of this post

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).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 681 other followers