Free Food: It Lures Us Everywhere


11/13

“Come to this event! FREE FOOD!”

This is a typical sign seen around all college campuses. Student organizations are always luring people into events with the promise of free food. What is it about food that brings flocks of people to events that they never would have visited otherwise?

I surveyed a large number of students from a variety of campuses around the U.S. regarding the important coalition between student organizations and food.

Food has always been a binding experience, but in college it becomes more than just that: “Everyone has to eat, but not everyone grows up eating the same things. I think in that way eating really plays into the idea of what college is promoted as being; a learning experience where you are expected to grow as a person. What better way to broaden yourself than with food?” said Gus Merwin, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Many students that I talked to echoed this sentiment. Food has the power to bring unique people together in a setting where they are comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. Great food has the power to even transcend a good conversation; it has the power to create lasting impressions.  Everyone needs to eat; why not eat together around delicious food?

Along with good conversation, food also holds the ability to further your career. Student organizations on campuses often hold events that provide possibilities of career building, and there’s no greater way to start networking with someone than talking about food. Students that I talked to often talked about how they’ve discovered many networking opportunities whenever an event holds food. Food is the perfect conversation starter when trying to start a beneficial acquaintanceship in your field.

Through my surveys and interviews, I compiled data on the importance and power of food when it’s paired with student organizations:

See the data and the article published in College & Cook Magazine

Buttered, Fried, and On a Stick: Regional Fair Food


8/22/13

In the summertime, Milwaukee can  be expected to smell like popcorn, funnel cakes, and sweet corn. It is the land of festivals: from Festa Italia! to Bastille Days, every culture is celebrated through dance, music and most importantly food.

I went to a number of these festivals, but the most popular by far is the Wisconsin State Fair.

If you’re expecting to have fresh and organic food at a fair, don’t bother. It doesn’t exist. Even at Greek Fest, the most popular food item was a deep fried pastry–Not exactly the most authentic Greek food. But we all need our fix of fried food once in a while; this is where to get it.

State fairs may not be the place to go for healthy food, but it’s certainly the place to go to eat interesting concoctions of fried things on a stick.  The newcomers every year always make people talk. This year at the Wisconsin State Fair, some of the interesting creations included a Thanksgiving Waffle, fried gelato on a stick, and a Krispy Kreme Burger with Spicy Pig Candy. Now that’s kicking it up a notch!

But, every state fair has a famous staple food that everyone has to get.  For 89 years in Wisconsin, it’s the Cream Puff: a delectable fluffy puff pastry with soft cream in the middle. This sought after item even has its own drive-thru window.

The one thing that all of these festivals and fairs had in common was the fact that beer was everywhere: cheap beer sold for a small fortune.

Festivals and fairs are all about binging on food that isn’t good for you, but it’s delicious all the same. And in college, you have those days where you need to eat food that’s exactly that. State fairs may only last a week or two, but here’s a way to bring a little bit of the fair into your college apartment.

Wisconsin Cream Puff

Puff Pastry:

1 Cup Water

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter

1/4 Tsp. Salt

1 Cup All Purpose Flour

4 Large Eggs

2 Tbsp. Milk

1 Large Egg Yolk

Cream Filling:

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

1/8 Tsp. Cream of Tartar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 400°. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat. Add flour all at once and stir until a ball forms. Remove from the heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
  2. Drop ¼ cupfuls of the puffs onto baking sheets. Combine milk and egg yolk; brush over puffs. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Immediately cut a slit in each for steam to escape.
  3. As they cool, beat the Heavy Whipping Cream with until it begins to thicken. Add sugar, vanilla and cream of tartar Split cream puffs; discard soft dough from inside. Fill the cream puffs just before serving. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Published in College & Cook Magazine.

Out of Town: Emmitt James


8/1/13

Seeing Hip Hop artist Emmitt James perform, is like being at a spiritually moving and intense concert, one whose artist is passionate about his work and just as equally as passionate about those that surround him.  The audience soaks up with James’ energy and leaves the concert feeling electrified and renewed as if they had just experienced something for the first time.

And that’s exactly how James’ wants you to feel.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis., James (20) is not only a Hip Hop artist, but also a nationally acclaimed spoken word poet, something that has clearly influenced his music. In high school, he was introduced to spoken word poetry, which made him realize that his words had power.

“I love poetry,” James said. “But I’ve always loved music.”

James, currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, wanted to balance these passions.

“When I got to college I said I wanted people to identify me just as much as a poet as a hip hop artists,” James said.

James has been successful in doing so, releasing his second EP: “Until I’m a Dead Poet” in 2012, following his first, “Are You Listening Yet?” This past year, James has been performing around the country from his hometown of Milwaukee to New York.

Through his music, James hopes to send an inspiring message to his listeners and audience.

“You can only go as far as you want to be…A struggle can be a beautiful thing,” James said.

His past also heavily influences his writing and music, which is so personal sometimes that it almost makes you uncomfortable—is he really sharing all of this with you? The answer is yes, and that’s what makes James so electrifying.

James’ electricity translates when he’s performing on stage. He wants his audience to experience new things. Going to a school in the middle of Wisconsin, James struggles with finding diversity. But he’s embraced that. He wants to introduce people to hip hop who have never been really exposed to it before.

He wants his audience to leave saying, “I thought it was a hip hop concert and that’s what I was expecting, but it was so much better than I thought.’”

Usually when performing, hip hop artists, play a recording of their track and sing over it. James takes a step back from this in his performances, oftentimes having concerts with live bands which also allows him to collaborate and support other artists. He doesn’t plan on having a band at all concerts, however in future performances, he plans on having a DJ and a live drummer.

James is changing  the hip hop world one honest and hard-hitting lyric at a time. He’s changing it with contagious performances that highlight musicality and knowledge of what gets a crowd to move.

For James, his career as a musician and performer is just beginning. Currently he is excited about a new track entitled “Mama’s Favorite” which he says will be the “birth of a new project.”

James’ new music video is scheduled to release on July 5. He has upcoming shows booked in Milwaukee as well as Stevens Point, Wis. For full listings of shows and upcoming events, check out his Facebook page: Emmitt James Music and Twitter: @Emmitt_James.

Published in The Grey Estates Zine.

BIO-San Francisco


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It was a sunny day in San Francisco. I had about a half an hour for lunch before I had to get back to a journalism conference and I was desperately searching for anything that wasn’t fried. Fate must have been on my side that day because I spotted the tiny storefront of BIO, a small, organic deli. When I say small, I mean small: no more than four people could fit inside. Inside greeted me with smells of fresh herbs and vegetables and the kitchen behind the deli was overflowing with perfectly cut strawberries and avocados. I enjoyed a prosciutto/arugula sandwich there which is still one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten.