Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: Chew on This Food For Thought, and then Stick a Fork in the Pudding for Proof: Grad Students and Food

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chew on This Food For Thought, and then Stick a Fork in the Pudding for Proof: Grad Students and Food

from phd.comics
   What is a graduate student's relationship to food? This comic, first published on in 2005, above would indicate that the most important thing about graduate school cuisine is its fiscal impact on the student. Indeed, there is not much money for a graduate student to indulge in expensive, high-end groceries, restaurants, or gourmet treats.

    In my very first graduate class in the GSAS, I had the pleasure and honor of taking Dr. Stuart Sherman of the English department, who brought a lavish spread of cheeses, fruits, veggies, danishes, pastries, breads, crackers, and beverages to each of our once-a-week seminars. I used to LOVE these seminars -- our discussions were lively, and I would be nice and full afterwards that I wouldn't even need much, if any, dinner. SCORE! I then realized that this wasn't exactly the *norm* for graduate seminars, but still, throughout the years of coursework, many professors would often bring snacks here and there from various neighborhoods of the city as treats for their intellectually, and physically, hungry graduate students. 
    Despite money issues, though, food is, obviously, a primary need for any human being, and, some graduate students can find ways to incorporate food rituals into their routines born out of the unique qualities of the graduate student lifestyle. 
    An article published in April 2011 in The Chronicle recounts writer Rachel Hermann's relationship with food throughout graduate school; entitled "Food and Sanity in Graduate School," the piece suggests that food may be viewed not only as a source of comfort but also as a teaching tool for many grad students. Hermann explains how cooking, baking, and eating rituals provided humor, stress-relief, and socialization opportunities, and improved time management, productivity, and juggling responsibilities of every day adult life.
   Like Hermann, I too enjoy participating in a monthly dissertation reading group, and we enjoy a themed potluck style meal at each of our monthly meetings. It is so nice to enjoy and share homecooking together -- we all have tried our hand at making new dishes or sharing traditional ones from our repertoires with each other. There is something comforting and also bond-forming when a group cooks for each other; it becomes a safer space in which ideas can be shared. I'm sure there are plenty of academic treatises on the benefits of food-sharing rituals in human societies, but for me, I just know how it makes me feel, and it is a good thing.
   For now, I've gotten the ball rolling on this topic, but look for some grad-student friendly recipes upcoming in future posts! Cost, time, and space friendly, providing energy and nutritional value, with big taste for your buck -- that's what grad school cooking is all about!! Also, there are some good sites for you to check out: The Graduate Student Food Blog, Study Food, The Grad School Food Blog, and Grad School Veg all have great ideas and recipes made specifically with the grad-student lifestyle in mind!
    In the meantime, share your grad-student food stories here! Until next time, Liza <3

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