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MSG is making its revival. Formally known as monosodium glutamate, MSG is an additive, like salt or sugar, that is used as a food seasoning. Famous chefs like J. Kenji López-Alt and David Chang praise MSG for its unique umami flavor and encourage home cooks to try it. Samrit Nosrat, author of the bestselling cookbook “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” claims that MSG is the “best $2 you can spend at the grocery store,” and I couldn’t agree more.
While living somewhere as remote as Hanover has its pros and cons, there’s one thing for certain: you’ll never want for mushrooms. Whether you are vegetarian or not, mushroom risotto has a rich umami flavor that meat simply cannot beat. The mushrooms give this dish depth, and the creaminess from the starchy rice and fatty cheese creates a luscious sauce that surrounds each grain of rice. I will say, this dish is a labor of love; it requires standing at the stove for a good half hour, constantly stirring and ladling in hot broth. However, the end result is a dish that is simultaneously decadent and impressive. It’s perfect for when you need some comfort food or when friends come over.
Students often demean Dartmouth Dining Services for its quality, but DDS is undeniably convenient and reliable. However, the pandemic has increased the number of students living off campus while restricting DDS to students in dorms. No longer can off-campus students, like myself, walk to the dining hall after a long day of classes. We are out in the real world to fend — and cook — for ourselves.
Cooking Korean food can be intimidating, especially for a beginner cook. Not only can it be difficult to identify the ingredients necessary for a particular recipe, but figuring out how to use each one can also be intimidating. For those looking for an accessible dish to start with, soondubu jjigae is a great introduction to Korean flavors and ingredients and is especially satisfying at this time of year. While it’s still relatively cold out, I love sipping on this warm and spicy broth and feeling satiated after a meal — without feeling overstuffed. When fresh spring vegetables are not yet available, I often resort to pantry staples to cook my favorite Korean dish, and I urge any beginner cook to explore this dish as well.
Over the years, the idea of “Friendsgiving” — a Thanksgiving meal with friends — has become wildly popular, especially among college students. It’s a great excuse to host a dinner party, catch up with friends and share good food and drink. I have fond memories from my first two years at Dartmouth of gathering at a friend’s house at the end of fall term and feeling the stress dissipate as winter break began.
There is nothing more defeating than walking into the kitchen ravenously hungry after a long day of work — and then having to cook. Expending the effort to plan a meal, prep ingredients, cook the dish and then clean afterward is simply tiresome, even for those who enjoy the act of cooking. If you’re on an off-term or taking classes while living off campus, preparing food can add another layer of stress to an already stressful day. But thankfully, all that stress is not necessary for quotidian cooking.
Despite its variable reviews, Dartmouth Dining is undoubtedly reliable. Quick snack? Check out Collis. Need to refuel after a workout? Foco has a bounty of options. We are nurtured in the womb that is Dartmouth, and when we leave, we are left to fend for ourselves. Outside of the bubble, we face the unforgiving reality of having to cook for ourselves.