The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Marketplace Masters

By Jumi Bello

Despite the recent awards claiming that Grinnell dining cooks and presents the most kick-ass college food in America, Grinnellians still secretly sulk over a most distasteful truth: aside from experimental frenzies like Make-a-Quesadilla night and the increasingly daring pizza station (BLT or hamburger pickle pizza anyone?), college dining is often boring, not to mention repetitive.

Rather than depending on home-cooked care packages from Mom and Pop to spice up their taste buds, many Grinnellians take matters into their own mouths by creating their own concoctions. Such ingenuity leaves its small traces in the dining hall—chocolate cake frosting in the microwave, coffee spills near the frozen yogurt. But many students have been especially puzzled by the bits of salsa, vegan granola and flax seeds scattered across the waffle station. The perpetrator and mysterious culinary vigilante has since been identified and is none other than Joe Hiller ’12.

“It’s about mixing from different stations that’s important,” Hiller said. After a couple of weeks of typical dining hall food, Hiller got bored and missed his own home cooking. According to Hiller, the waffle iron is one of the few appliances that actually cooks for you and so he was drawn to it, experimenting with flavor combinations that people weren’t used to, essentially beginning his current affair with food art.

Hiller has become marginally famous for his waffle experiments, which leave the waffle station a mess of alien ingredients. One of his past masterpieces is the infamous rosemary basil waffle bathed in marinara sauce and topped with sautéed red peppers and mozzarella cheese from the salad station.

One of Hiller’s favorite personal concoctions actually doesn’t require a waffle iron.  He calls it “icy Mexican hot chocolate” and to create it all you do is “take some chocolate ice cream, mix it with soy milk, so it can become nice and icy. Add some cayenne pepper to it, so it then becomes cinnamon,” Hiller said. “It becomes kind of like a Mexican hot chocolate, except it’s ice, so it’s refreshing. People are often sometimes off put by it—the chocolate and chili combination—but I really dig it.”

Recipe for Joe’s Flaxen Granola Waffles
1. Take a little bit more than a scoop of the waffle batter.
2. Sprinkle in some cinnamon, flaxen seed, oatmeal, wheat germ and vegan granola crunch.
3. Since the mix is crunchy, spray the pan to avoid the batter sticking to the pan.
4. For the lovely frosting, take some cream cheese, put it in a little cup and put it in the microwave to melt it and mix it with some maple syrup.
5. Arrange some artfully placed blueberries on the top if you, like Joe, dig a fruity finish.

Got a tasty, complicated, disturbed, or basic go-to D-hall trick? Food is for sharing­—email [sargenta] for a chance at culinary glory.

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