I used to train myself to see food as a composite of nutrition facts. I checked for added sugar, maximized protein and fiber, loaded up on vitamins, steered clear of chemicals I did not recognize. Food was numbers and data, nothing else. When mealtimes started to cause more anxiety than joy, I realized I needed to see food from a different angle.
I still try to eat healthy. But recently, I’ve been trying to focus less on what I eat, and more on how I eat it.
At Penn, I’ve realized that food can, and should, do more than just satiate my hunger. It’s a way to make connections and meet people (and increase attendance at GBMs).
When I start to consider data, I ask myself: Am I wasting time thinking about an entree’s calorie count when I could marvel at the beautiful presentation, the colors of the sauces drizzling over the fish? Am I thinking too much about the carbs in the Allegro fries when I could devote my focus to my friend’s hilarious stories about her night out?
When I look back on my college experience, I won’t remember the protein bars I scarfed down in between afternoon classes. I’ll remember sitting for hours at the round tables in the Hillel dining hall with friends, refusing to get up until it's one minute to class time. I’ll appreciate getting to know a new friend when we both reviewed a restaurant for the Dining Guide. I’ll laugh about wandering around University City during prime brunch–time, begging restaurants to seat me and my now–boyfriend because we forgot to make a reservation for our first date.
This semester’s Dining Guide highlights the memories, stories, and connections we make with food. Our reviews emphasize the experience of dining out. We’ve profiled students and alumni who've used food to jumpstart businesses and clubs. We tried your favorite cookie recipes, and fought over picking a winner. Some of us opened up about our relationships with food: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In this issue, food is the main character. I hope you’re inspired to make a reservation, bake some cookies, or throw a dinner party. Maybe you’re bold enough to try all the prepared foods in FroGro. Whatever you choose, I hope you use food to start a new story.