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  • Home for dinner (and breakfast and lunch)

    first_img Deck the halls and set the table Members of the Harvard community share their favorite holiday dishes The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Ph.D. students explore the culture and science of food in the Veritalk podcast Pretty much every Harvard undergrad would agree that the sudden evacuation of campus in March due to the spread of the coronavirus was sad and unsettling. But most would also agree that the promise of savoring home-cooked favorites made the rushed homecoming a little easier. The Gazette checked in with students scattered across the globe to see exactly what they and their families have been cooking.Craving the flavors of homeAs much as Yousuf Bakshi ’23 enjoyed his campus life, he often craved the eclectic flavors of home. To Yousuf, it always seemed like whenever he would Skype home to Cardiff, Wales, the family would be sitting down for supper. “‘Look what we’re eating!’ they’d say.” Runa Bakshi, Yousuf’s mother, recalls waking up to text messages from her son that said, “All I want is a curry.”,She and her husband, Nahed Bakshi, admit that their household “revolves around food” — and has for generations on both sides. Their families ran some of the first Indian curry houses in Cardiff. The restaurants served Bangladeshi-Indian favorites such as chicken pathia and tandoori chicken bhuna. Over the years, the couple has developed different areas of specialty. Nahed is more experimental, delving into things like Asian-fusion dishes. He recently bought a fryer, to Yousuf’s delight. “For those days when all I’d like is an Annenberg grill order, my dad is always there to cook up some fries and make me a homemade pizza.”,Runa enjoys cooking a range of cuisines and has had the chance to share her dishes with a large audience. In fact, last year she was selected to appear in a popular British television cooking show, “Come Dine With Me.” In it, participants take turns hosting dinner parties and visiting the other contestants’ homes to taste their food. For her dinner, Runa prepared appetizers of chicken tikka satay sticks and meat samosas with mint sauce dip; a main course of Welsh lamb and potato curry, papadums, and tarka daal; and for dessert a deconstructed passion fruit surprise cheesecake. She cooked from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., with judges and a full film crew filling up her kitchen.,She came in a very close second, with all the judges quietly sidling up to her to ask: “Can we have more samosas?”Besides disrupting his School year, the pandemic also changed Yousuf and his family’s observance of Ramadan — the time “when we really start cooking,” his mother said. Big extended-family iftar meals, taken after a day of religious fasting, were canceled. Instead, the Bakshis exchanged dishes with family and friends by dropping them off at their houses.Yousuf was busy writing papers and studying for finals during the majority of the monthlong holiday, but occasionally helped prepare some of the dishes. Each year, he looks forward to a staple Bangladeshi Ramadan rice dish, zaur, which also goes by the name kisuri. Pakoras, samosas, and chicken wings are some of the sides with which it pairs. Keeping with the family’s love of variety, some days the Ramadan table includes burgers or spaghetti.,Now that Yousuf is finished with exams, his dad has a training program in mind for him. “We first need to introduce him to the essential spices: curry, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili. Then the garam masala, cardamom, cinnamon sticks. Tomato paste and tomato puree.” Yousuf said he’s looking forward to learning to cook using his parents’ methods and recipes: “Quarantine is the perfect time.”Obsessed with hummusFor Adam Sella ’22, food and cooking are inextricably bound to home and homeland.His father, Uri, immigrated to the U.S. from Israel in 1994 and is the primary cook in the household. Adam was raised on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes such as hummus, shakshuka, and kebabs, and over the years developed a deep interest in the cuisines through lessons from his father and from his own travels.Before Harvard, Sella spent nine months living in Morocco, practicing Arabic, and cultivating his love for the region. Sella grew up visiting relatives in Israel, toggling between Hebrew and English. But he soon realized there was a third language that intrigued him. “In Israel, signs are posted in three languages; Hebrew, Arabic, and English” he said. “My dad lived his whole life not understanding the Arabic signs.” Sella wanted to be able to communicate, and his father was thrilled with his interest. Sella’s own taste buds also helped influence him: “In Israel, the best hummus is made by Arabs,” he said before backpedaling, “Well … there’s of course much debate about who makes the best hummus.”Couscous is one of the recipes Sella has recently made at home in Cincinnati, cobbling together five different internet recipes. Though couscous is typically served with either all vegetables, or with meat like chicken or lamb, he used beef. (Whereas beef is expensive in Morocco, lamb is pricier here in the U.S.),Another family favorite is a slow-cooked beef and prune tajine — a kind of Moroccan stew named for the cone-shaped vessel in which it’s prepared.,Even on campus during regular terms, Sella supplements meals in the Pforzheimer House dining hall with homemade extras. His friends sprinkle his homemade hot sauce on vegetables and meats. For the Jewish holiday Purim, he and friend Noah Singer ’22 made hamantaschen in a Pforzheimer hallway kitchen. For a few days, he carried around the cookbook “Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen,” after meeting with Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comparative Literature Sandra Naddaff, who recommended it.Recently, his culinary interest even came in handy for a friend’s graduate school application. The application required that his friend teach a simple multistep process on video. Sella suggested his friend make tahini, by mixing tahini paste with the correct amount of water. Though it took a few tries to get the measurements down, the project was eventually a success.But there are flavors Adam can’t seem to replicate either on campus or at home, so for those he turns to his father.,Uri Sella judges a good recipe by three criteria: cost, quality of ingredients, and amount of waste generated. The main mission of his culinary experiments comes down to a fascination with “how different cultures feed their people.”“There are two things with being an immigrant here — always wanting to recreate the tastes of my home country — for example, an obsession with hummus. And then also being exposed to new cultures.” Uri has gone through significant phases of cooking Indian, Mexican, and Korean food. One day he’s making shakshuka, the next, curry.Uri learned to cook primarily from family members and reading recipes, and now Adam learns from him. When his son was young, Uri said that Adam “would always come into the kitchen whenever he heard the sound of knives being sharpened.”But now the two find themselves released from those roles. “I think my dad has delegated some of his exploratory cooking to me,” Adam said. For instance, when Adam returned home, his father handed him a cookbook of homemade pastas he’d borrowed from the library. “It was a subtle nudge for me to make some pasta.”A glass of kefir a dayLiving in Singapore, 12 hours ahead of her East Coast classes, Aline Damas ’20 had to adjust her eating, sleeping, and studying schedule. But there was one routine that remained the same: a glass of kefir in the morning.Praised for its health benefits, kefir is a fermented dairy product similar to yogurt. On campus, Damas would start her mornings with a glass, a habit she owes to her mother.“My mom’s a big fermentation person. I’ve become indoctrinated.”Damas’ mother has been making her own kefir since 2017. Each morning, she adds about a teaspoon of kefir “grains” (really a combination of bacteria and yeast) to a cup of milk. The mixture sits on the kitchen counter at room temperature for about 24 hours. By breakfast time the next day, it’s ready to drink, and she scoops out a small bit of the grains to use for her next batch, repeating the process.,Now that Damas is home, she also gets to include some of her mother’s fresh-pressed ginger juice in her kefir. Damas said that when her mother’s not making kefir, she’s brewing kombucha (another fermented beverage) or fermenting vegetables. Or she’s simmering chicken broths and bone soups.“My mother has always been interested in health, but over the last few years it has really intensified,” Damas said.Alongside these incorporated recipes, the Damas’ family meals have two main origins: French (Damas’ father is Belgian), and Asian, the continent where Aline and her brother grew up. For the French side, Damas cooks “lots of ratatouille, steak au poivre, and piperade [sautéed green pepper stew].” For the Asian side, the family often eats takeout Thai and Chinese.Damas said cutting out processed sugars from her diet has made her feel healthier. When she does eat something sweet, she sticks to fresh fruit and raw honey, though there is the occasional treat. “I do indulge in 80 percent dark chocolate every now and then.” Some groups have retooled old school rituals, while others have created new ones Finding creative ways to maintain campus bonds remotely Related What we eat and why we eat itlast_img read more

  • It’s Reigning Cats and Dogs! Again…

    first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Lindsay and MistyIt’s a new year, and a new beginning for Reigning Cats and Dogs.As you know, the Long Island Press underwent some big changes over the past few weeks: we’re now a monthly investigative journal and we have an awesome new website.And, like Tupac, Reigning Cats and Dogs is being resurrected (a hologram is still in the works). This blog will be updated more frequently, but the content will be the same: pets. Some of the topics may look familiar to loyal RCD readers, but that’s only because this is a clean slate of sorts and they’re topics that are important to pet lovers (i.e pets and thunderstorms, dog parks, car safety, etc).For my three loyal readers, you already know the stories of Herbie, Misty, and Daisy (so Mom you can stop reading now). For new readers, here’s a little background on the blog:The blog was created to discuss all things pets, whether it’s local issues, tips for pet owners or interesting facts and studies. I am not a pet professional, just a pet lover who likes to share stories and information with fellow pet lovers. I have had a pet since I was three. I currently have the best dog in the world named Daisy and a sweet little one-eyed cat named Herbie. I also have canine nephew named Scooby who loves giving kisses and playing football.Before Herbie rescued me I was in a deep depression because my beautiful, diva cat Misty had passed away. She was my best friend for 14 years, pretty much the definition of perfection, and I may or may not have a tattoo of her likeness. I have two other pet angels in Heaven: Sylvester the cat, my very first pet, and Lucky, a ridiculously good-looking dog. This blog is dedicated to them. They raised me after all, with a little help from my parents.Enjoy the new and improved Reigning Cats and Dogs!last_img read more

  • Lawyer with brain cancer in legal bid for right to die

    first_imgNZ Herald 21 March 2015A terminally ill woman is mounting a legal challenge seeking the right for a doctor to help her die without criminal prosecution.Lecretia Seales, 41, is dying from brain cancer and believes it’s a “fundamental human right” to be able to choose to end her life with medical assistance, if she wants to, before her suffering becomes intolerable.In a legal first in New Zealand, the senior legal and policy adviser at the Law Commission has filed a statement of claim in the High Court seeking a ruling to determine whether her GP could lawfully administer a lethal dose of drugs.Assisting suicide is a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison but Ms Seales’ case relies on the provisions in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act which protect the rights to not be deprived of life or subjected to cruel treatment.If successful, the bid would allow the doctor to euthanise Ms Seales because of her specific circumstances and would not set a precedent. But a favourable High Court ruling would allow others to follow suit and potentially send a signal to Parliament for further law reform.Diagnosed in 2011 with an aggressive brain tumour, Ms Seales has suffered gradual paralysis, which has robbed her of the ability to move her hand, arm, leg and eyesight on the left side of her body.She’s not afraid of death, but of losing her remaining physical and mental abilities. Even if the case is successful, Ms Seales is uncertain about ending her life with medical assistance.But I want the right to choose. That would give me comfort if I knew that [option] was there. I don’t know whether I necessarily would because I’m certainly not suffering intolerably now,” she told the Weekend Herald.In a statement issued today, Family First NZ described Ms Seales’ situation as “heartbreaking”, but said it “should not be solved in the courtroom or a change in law but through the guarantee of the best palliative care”.“Patients facing death have a fundamental human right to receive the very best palliative care, love and support that we can give to alleviate ‘intolerable suffering’ that they fear,” Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ, said.“This is real death with dignity – surrounded and supported by loved ones, rather than a right to try and preempt the ‘uncertainty’ and timing of the end. Suicide is not the answer.”The organisation had “massive empathy” for Ms Seale, but said if her legal challenge was successful, “it would be the thin edge of the wedge” and a “slippery slope”.“However well-intentioned, the old adage that. ‘hard cases make bad law’, comes into play,” Mr McCoskrie said.“To allow assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death.”Euthanasia-Free New Zealand also issued a statement to media saying a change to New Zealand law on assisted suicide and euthanasia was “not in society’s best interests”.While Ms Seales’ case was intended for her individual circumstances, it would “in the long run adversely affect the rights of many others in our society”, Professor David Richmond, spokesman for the organisation, said.“Ms Seales’ request is superficially a simple one based on personal choice and autonomy. Unfortunately the issues are far more complex for society than that,” he said.”Current laws were drawn up to guarantee citizens the right to life.If Ms Seales’ actions were to lead eventually to the decriminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as she apparently hopes they will, citizens will be guaranteed the right to state-sanctioned death – presumably at the hands of doctors.”http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11420767last_img read more

  • Angels report for duty

    first_imgTEMPE, Ariz. – The Angels’ off-season could best be described as a glass-half-empty, glass-half-full situation. The optimists will point to the various reviews that say the Angels might possess the best bullpen in the American League, if not in all of baseball. Now for the pessimists. Owner Arte Moreno essentially reneged on a boast to enhance the roster with an impact acquisition. It can’t be a good sign for Angels fans that management grossly underestimated the free-agent market. The Angels also have received an abundance of criticism for committing $50 million to Matthews, who will try to build off his breakout season in 2006 at age 32. First base and third base remain question marks. Pitchers and catchers report to camp today. That pitching staff might want to do some early weightlifting, just to feel what it’s like to carry the weight of the team on its shoulders. The Angels personnel breaks down as follows: The starting rotation is first-rate, consisting of John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Kel- vim Escobar and Joe Saunders. In addition, former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon could be back by May if not sooner. Even more upbeat news is that the outfield of Garret Anderson, Gary Matthews Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero is considered top-notch. Nobody dared to make such a boast last season. center_img PITCHERS: Not only will one of the top rotations start things off, one of the best closers will be counted on to finish them. Francisco Rodriguez might be a notch behind the New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera for the title of best closer, but the Angels’ right-hander probably has more value considering that at age 25, he’s 12 years younger than Rivera. Rodriguez’s 92 saves over the past two seasons are the most in baseball. His 312 strikeouts over the past three seasons are the most over that span for a reliever. With Colon on the mend, Lackey inherits the role as staff ace. His mastery of the Oakland Athletics last season (3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts) will be counted on again. Adding free-agent Justin Speier strengthened the middle relief corps, which leads into set-up man Scot Shields. CATCHERS: It will be a wide-open race for the Opening Day slot between Jose Molina, Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis. The veteran Molina might be playing with some fire this season after missing out on a lucrative bonus in September. Molina was relegated to the bench in the final days of the season, costing him a games-played incentive. Napoli has the inside track at a roster spot over Mathis and anything close to his torrid stretch last June (six home runs, 17 RBIs) will net him the starting spot. Mathis made the Opening Day roster last season but lasted only a month before being sent back to the minors. INFIELD: Things are set up the middle with Orlando Cabrera at shortstop and Howie Kendrick taking over for Adam Kennedy at second. The biggest battle will take place at first, where Casey Kotchman, Kendry Morales and Shea Hillenbrand will fight it out. Third base belongs to Chone Figgins, whose lackluster on-base percentage will force him to move to the No. 9 spot in the lineup. OUTFIELD: Say what you want about Matthews’ $50 million deal but the signing instantly made the Angels better defensively. Remember, it was defense that was a big part of the team’s ultimate undoing last season. But even the best defense isn’t enough to justify $10 million per season. Matthews will be looked upon to deliver, at minimum, his 19 home runs and 79 RBIs from last season. Losing Juan Rivera to a broken leg in winter ball was costly. His status still is unknown, with an optimistic return date set for the All-Star break. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more