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The Scarlet & Black

Better know a dining hall: Breaking news, cheese is tasty

This week in Dining Hall paradise, we will be exploring the limitless potential of one of my favorite foods: cheese. I apologize in advance to all the vegans/lactose-intolerant out there, this week’s column will prove rather useless for you. However, for those who can appreciate one of the human race’s most precious creations, read on. Be warned, this is going to get cheesy.

We will first define the locations of this week’s star ingredient. The salad bar is the go-to option for shredded cheese, and offers up cheddar and mozzarella for your tasty treasures. Sandwich bar is also great for cheeses, containing slices of cheddar, provolone, swiss, pepperjack, and occasionally gourmet-gratifying gouda! The final two cheese options are less obvious, but equally delicious: parmesan cheese found by the pizza and pasta bar, and the cream cheese that resides near the bagels and toast.

To explore the many cheese options, I am going to walk you through a multi-course meal with each dish featuring cheese. Appetizers are always a great way to start a meal, and cheese just makes them better! Our two options for appetizers include a bruschetta-style slice of tastiness and a delicious bean and cheese dip. To craft the bruschetta, grab a slice of bread, (any will do, but it is a lucky day if you can get baguette slices), get a few tomato slices from the salad bar, cube the slices, place them on top of the bread with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, as well as Italian seasonings, and carefully deposit it in the toaster oven until slightly browned, and dig in! (Note: the toaster oven is by the microwave. It is not the revolving toaster by the bagels. If you place bruschetta in the revolving toaster, it will cause a smelly fire. Avoid that.) Don’t have time for bruschetta? Whip up some bean dip in almost no time. Grab a soup bowl, add a scoop of black beans, lots of cheddar cheese, some scallions from stir-fry station, a large splash of sriracha or other hot sauce and a scoop of cream cheese, stir, microwave until mostly melted, stir some more, then serve! This delectable dip is great with chips, bread, fries, and more!

With our appetites slightly abetted, we can now create a great main course. Besides some previously discussed creations, such as mac’n’cheese (plain pasta, add salad bar cheeses, italian seasonings, and microwave) and grilled cheese sandwiches (toast two slices of bread, add cheese and other fillings in between, and microwave) and “Plate-o-carbs” (potatoes, rice, cheese, spices, microwaved!) I have crafted a new item, sandwichasta. Basically, it is a sandwich with its components in bite-sized bits that you can eat like a pasta. By not being restrained to fitting everything inside two pieces of bread, the filling can be more creative and messy. Start with a bagel, and tear or slice off small sections. Next, saunter over to sandwich bar and ask for various meats and cheeses. Tear these into small pieces and place on top of the bagel. Next, visit pasta bar for some marinara or daily specialty sauce on top of your creation and Parmesan cheese on top. (Extra points for you if it is a meatball day!) Finally, add some mozzarella cheese from salad bar and then microwave it after dashing some Italian seasoning on top.

If you have not hit your cheese limit yet, here comes dessert! This can actually be considered fairly healthy, and incredibly delicious. Prep by slicing a banana or another fruit and lay the pieces flat on a plate, then dash on a thin slather of cream cheese, and garnish with a swirl of honey. This sweet dessert is clean way to end a meal.

These recipes only offer a glimpse of the possibilities cheese offers. It is an endlessly versatile food, suitable for both savory and sweet selections. Go forth, experiment, and have a Gouda meal! What is an article on cheese without a muenster of a pun like that?

You stay classy, Grinnell Diners.

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