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Growing Up Gourmet: Eating the Most Out of College

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Eating the Most Out of College

There's no reason your Kitchen Kid should stop "growing up gourmet" when he heads off to college. In fact, perhaps he should choose his college precisely with the interest of becoming a teenage gourmand.

In loco parentis, the Bowdoin College dining hall in Brunswick, ME gives students a taste of culinary ingenuity that, sorry moms, just can't be beat, even in your own kitchen. How about homemade potato-leek soup, freshly baked rosemary bread, and bananas foster? How about a wheatberry salad with dried cranberries and fresh herbs, Maine shrimp cakes with spicy remoulade, and eggs benedict florentine? Still not convinced? Don't forget the annual Thanksgiving dinner under candlelight or the treasured fall lobster-bake complete with steamed clams and corn on the cob. Oh, and no one can resist that hot fudge...

The New York Times today notes that Bowdoin College's Dining Hall uses Fair Trade coffee, organic herbs and vegetables grown on campus, and an in-house butcher to create an ever-rotating menu of homemade recipes. They incorporate student requests and create genuine ethnic meals that respectfully honor traditions and holidays. But as any Polar Bear will tell you, it isn't just the food, but the experience of sharing meals with friends. In the Times, Mary Lou Kennedy, Bowdoin’s dining director, notes that the students, “love the community of food. They were Slow Food 10 years before it became a movement. At dinner, they come and stay for an hour and a half.” That's a good 85 minutes more than most American families spend together at the table. One alumna recalled "feasting from 5pm until we trekked to the library at 8, brains alert and satiated on good food and good conversation." This month, College Prowler named Bowdoin, "school of the year" thanks in part to its tasty treats, and the Princeton Review rates the College's dining hall #1 in the country.

Of course, the revelation in today's Times and these noteworthy publications is no surprise to me, or my dozen very best friends who reminisced about the "DH" over emails all day. Some of my happiest, funniest, most-memorable, and most special college memories (including my first kiss to my future husband) all happened in the Thorne and Moulton Dining Halls, thanks to a wise decision to follow my heart -- and my stomach -- to an unbeatable college in Maine.

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