All posts by Janie Haseman

The type of person who has to move the smoke alarm out of the kitchen.

Cooking with Love: Giving Tuesday

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, but almost just as exciting is the day after.

No, not because Black Friday deals. No, not because the ban on politics at the dinner table is over. It’s because NOW, we can sing CHRISTMAS CAROLS.

And make HOLIDAY FOOD.

And all the lights in our dorm rooms have purpose again!

But let’s go back to that second point…and think about what it means as we go into finals season.

Soon, some of us will start spending our lives (or more of them, if that’s possible) in Butler. Others will resort to leaving passive agressive notes to Butler seat-savers, or crying alone in our rooms. We’ll get more stressed, more tired, and more feeling like why are we doing this again than we have for most of the past semester.

The bright spot?

29 November is Giving Tuesday! Just in time to kick off the giving spirit.

And what better to give than…food?

More than that, food from the heart.

There are lots of ways to do this. First off, there is the GS Student Council Food Bank, which is conveniently collecting donations every Tuesday for the rest of the semester. Despite Columbia’s millions of dollars in endowment, many of our classmates face food insecurity on top of the stress of class and finals. It takes maybe a dollar to donate something – stop by Lerner from 11-2 on a Tuesday with some cereal, pasta or something else on their suggested list! It’ll take maybe 10 minutes, and we all probably need a study break that long anyway.

If you’ve got about 50 more minutes and want to bring more joy into people’s lives, I’ve found cookies are surprisingly effective at doing so. One batch of the recipe below makes THREE DOZEN. Two cookies each for EIGHTEEN people.

What are you waiting for?

BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES RECIPE

Special thanks to my mom for making them and to the Crisco shortening package for the inspiration.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Crisco® Butter-Flavored Shortening (or 3/4 cup + 1.5 tbsp butter)*
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (1 package) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Cream shortening/butter and brown sugar. Mix milk and vanilla until well-blended; beat in egg.

3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into other ingredients until jussstt blended.

4. STIR IN THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS (a bit at a time works best!).

5. Taste some.

6. Roll the dough into whatever size you want your cookies to be, and press them onto an ungreased cookie pan.

7. Taste one.

8. Bake 8-10 minutes for chewier cookies, or 11 to 13 for crisper ones!

9. Taste one.

Well, there you have it folks – how to spread the love on Giving Day and beyond.

tl;dr: Give to the GSSC Food Bank on Tuesday, then make cookies to brighten a few more people’s days.

And remember – soon we’ll see the light again! Be they for Christmas or just all we’ve been missing from the sun while in Butler.

*Buy the shortening, you won’t regret it.

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Soup for the Soul

On November 12th, the world celebrates Chicken Soup for the Soul Day.

Okay, well probably not most of the world. It’s a little-known holiday (though it does exist)! But especially with a rough past couple of days – from surprise election results to the expected-as-usual chilly weather – we could all use some chicken soup today.

Chicken soup is one of the easiest things to make ever, and is something I ate a lot my first few weeks of university. There’s something about it, be it chicken-flavored ramen or your mom’s homemade stuff, that can warm your soul all on its own. If you’ve got a kitchen, the steps are simple:

  1. Buy chicken and vegetables
  2. Boil it all in a pot*

However, most of us either a) do not have a kitchen, b) lack motivation to cook a pot of soup, or c) tried to cut corners and just had ramen but feel it lacks soul.

For everyone this applies to (which let’s be honest, is all of us at some point), here’s a handy list:

WHERE TO FIND SOUP AND SOUL IN NYC

1. Jin Ramen

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The Harlem Jin Ramen is hidden just behind the 125th St. stop on the 1 – and every bit worth seeking out. Help yourself to a hearty bowl of delicious soup or donburi – the delicious rice bowls that are only $7 for a [HUGE] small size. Close to campus and just…yum. It warms you to the core.

Though it tends to be crowded on Friday and Saturday evenings in particular, go for an early lunch and you’ll have no wait at all.

2. With a friend and chicken ramen

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Leaving your room/suite/apartment is hard; being hungry and alone is harder. Solve the dilemma – invite a friend! Stock up on cheap soup cups right now to make sure you’re prepared for this situation!

3. Sylvia’s

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Sure, it takes twenty minutes to get there – but you’ll make up for burned calories as soon as you walk into this Harlem soul food staple. Defined by its friendly staff and delicious fried chicken, it also features unlimited free cornbread.

Yes. That does say unlimited free cornbread.

4. Alone in your room, with a blanket

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Sometimes, your own soul is enough. Light a Christmas-y smelling candle, curl up in a comforter, and maybe just order soup from Seamless. Jin Ramen without the wait.

Stay warm inside and out!

*For a bit more in-depth chicken soup recipe, check out this from the Food Network’s Tyler Florence!