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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Guest Columnist: Fighting winter’s last throes in the dining hall

Grinnell, let’s be honest, it’s freezing outside. What better way to warm up than with a hearty meal? Luckily, the Dining Hall has everything you need to fight off the cold. With some delectable dishes and delightful drinks, the snow and cold will all be a distant memory.

A simple bean stew is a fantastic, healthy main course that can keep the chills at bay. Start over at vegan bar and fill a bowl up with a mix of kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas. Head to the salad bar and add in green peppers and red onions for a bit of a crisp bite. Next, add a significant portion of barbeque sauce, a touch of honey, a bit of malt vinegar, some A1 steak sauce, and make your way to the spice station. Add a blast of black pepper, some thyme, and some paprika and chili powder. Mix it all up thoroughly, and microwave for about a minute. The stew will be hearty and filling, while still being pretty healthy.

Special hot sauces will always help a meal, but Tabasco can dominate a meal and even the venerable Sriracha can get boring without modification. A simple way to add heat to any entree, particularly pastas or sandwiches, is a simple spiced olive oil. Grab a condiment container and pour it about ¾ full of olive oil. Next, head to the spice rack, add a bunch of crushed red pepper, some black pepper, a little kosher salt, and some paprika and mix thoroughly. Let it sit for a few minutes if possible and the spices will infuse a bit better. Add to anything and embrace the heat! Another simpler sauce is a spiced spread. Mix equal proportions of ketchup and barbecue sauce in a condiment cup and then add Sriracha to your personal heat preference. This sauce is particularly good on meat, sandwiches, or pizza.

The best way to top off a meal is with a nice bit of tea and toast. Nothing is better for forgetting the cold quite like dipping nicely topped toast into a cup of freshly made tea. I like to make my toast a little fancier, as it feels more indulgent that way. Grab a few condiment containers and begin steeping your tea; that way it is ready when the toast pops out of the toast. Fill one of the containers with a bit of cinnamon sugar and head over to the bread and topping area. Add honey to that container to make a delightful cinnamon honey and fill the remaining containers with butter and jam. With the toppings ready, begin your toast! A few slices will do the trick. Remember to relax, indulge, and savor the warmth of the toast and tea.

Another fantastic option for a decadent drink is the classic Grinnellicino. Grab a tall glass and head over to the toaster area. Fill the cup approximately ⅔ of the way with an even mix of the vanilla cappacino and hot chocolate, and add a miniscule scoop of cream cheese to help bind the ingredients later. Head over to the spice rack area and add some cinnamon and nutmeg to add some zest to the drink. Mix throughly and add some vanilla or raspberry chocolate chunk ice cream for a fun topping, and then add some swirls of caramel and chocolate for a final touch to the drink. While this drink may not be the healthiest, it will definitely keep you warm all day long.

Cooking in the Dining Hall is all about creativity. With a little extra effort, you can turn a bland winter meal into a true feast. Heat can come in many forms. A little hot sauce or heating some cold ingredients will wake up your taste buds, as will strong spices like black pepper or cumin. Stay warm and stay classy, Grinnell.

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