slubs in the city

Slub (adj): Maverick; unorthodox; independent in behavior or thought.


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how the world perceives me: i really like wontons.

Comparatively, my work world is relatively small. Everyone here on the 15th floor of Thrivent’s Minneapolis corporate office works at wall-less desks, in pods of four, in a sea of pods placed neatly across an open layout. It can be easy to create relationships with people close in proximity to you, especially because they can hear every phone call you make, are privy to every conversation you have at your desk, and have no trouble spying on your computer screen as they walk past. Plus, our open floor plan is meant to mimic another concept we seem to prize here in Marketing Development: the regular and even distribution of employee talent across multiple initiatives and programs. So it would not be out of line to think that, after a cumulative year of working here, most everyone would recognize me by name.

But you would be wrong.

A couple of days ago my Development Coach broached the topic of personal branding during our one-on-one because, as she tells it, a lot of the senior management only know me by my rather distinctive color of red hair – but not for the things I’ve accomplished during my fellowship. And even that’s not a good enough distinguisher for some, because believe it or not there’s another Shannon with red hair who works 15 feet away from me.

I’m an introvert by nature. My introverted brethren will understand that this doesn’t mean I’m a tortured and shy soul who would rather jump out of a plane than interact with people on a daily basis. I like people a lot. I thrive on maintaining relationships. But to me, the instinct to create a relationship in the first place doesn’t always guide my every action. A very dear friend of mine incorrectly thought I was a little snobby at first blush (what she took for aristocratic indifference from accross the room in our class together was actually an all-consuming focus on staying awake), so it appears I’m doomed to repeat history if I don’t start purposefully seeking out relationships with some of my more illustrious coworkers.

Like any good Millennial I’ve decided to ask the internet for help. Dan Schawbel has graciously come to my aid with his article “Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand”. He outlines the process of creating an entirely outward-facing personality in two easy steps, so I figure this is probably my golden ticket to critical acclaim. Please, follow along with me as I discover who I am by addressing Mr. Schawbel’s questions with your own personal answers.

HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE SO YOUR POPULAR BOSS AND COOL COWORKERS WILL WANT TO TALK TO YOU

Step one: Discover your brand.

According to Dan, “Brand discovery is about figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life, setting goals, writing down a mission, vision and personal brand statement (what you do and who you serve), as well as creating a development plan.”

I’m approaching these questions from a place of honesty and complete personal transparency.

  • What you want to do for the rest of your life: eat jalapeño cream cheese wontons.
  • Setting goals: engage in a brief and steamy encounter with Leonardo DiCaprio at least once before I die.
  • Mission: force everyone I know and love to speak exclusively in Spanglish.
  • Vision: currently it’s pretty poor because I’m nearsighted and have astigmatism in one eye.
  • Personal brand statement (what you do and who you serve): I play the Sims obsessively and I serve the god of jalapeño cream cheese wontons.
  • Development plan: I’ve already gone through the whole puberty thing so I’m pretty confident I’m stuck with barely B cups for the rest of my life.

wontons

jalapeño cream cheese wontons — you are my love and my life. [image credit: here.]

Success! I hope you were able to tackle these gargantuan ideas with as much ease. Let’s move on.

Step two: Create your brand.

As Dan instructs, “Now that you know what you want to do and have claimed a niche, at least in your mind, it’s time to get it on paper and online.” Here’s what Dan suggests you have in your personal branding toolkit:

  • Business cards. Is this really still a thing? I will condescend to ordering these only if someone has created musical business cards (like the Hallmark cards that play music when you open them) and I can hand out my personal brand stamp to the tune of Independent Women Part 1 by Destiny’s Child.
  • Résumé/cover letter/references document. I’d rather not waste all the paper handing these out to everyone and their mom, so I’m planning to screen-print my résumé onto the back of a lime green t-shirt and wear it to work every day.
  • Portfolio. This assumes that I have any artistic or creative talent. I once tried to copy a picture of Taylor Swift from a magazine cover during a particularly boring class, and my horrified friend informed me that the result made the star look like a geriatric loner addicted to crack and plastic surgery. Those are strong words.
  • Blog/website. If you’re reading this post now, you’ll know that I’ve succeeded in blogging to enhance my personal brand! One million points to Gryffindor!
  • LinkedIn profile. I don’t even want to admit how long it took me to figure out that what I thought was an L in the name of this site is actually an I, and that it’s pronounced “Linked-IN” and not “Linked-LN”…which is not a word. Baby steps.
  • Facebook profile. I’m still too lazy to convert to Timeline, even though apparently 115 of my friends have. Whoops.
  • Twitter profile. All I can tell of Twitter is that it’s largely abused by arrogant celebrities to broadcast their tired opinions and by masochistic Americans who take pleasure in torturing the defenseless intricacies of the English language.  I just don’t get it.
  • Video resume. Dan thinks you should create a short, one-minute video to explain why you’re the best for a job and what you’ll bring to the table. My video script would read like this:

SHANNON: I’ve got a college degree and a clean bill of health. You’re not going to get anything better. Hire me.

HIRING MANAGER: Sold.

  • Wardrobe. Pffft. I’m all over this one. Banana Republic better watch out for the day I get a pay raise.
  • Email address. This one I should probably pay attention to, since I’ve shared an email address with some other woman for years and every once in a while get her emails about pregnancy and being a vet. Uncomfortable.

    this image shall, from now on, represent my personal brand. [image credit: here.]

Here’s what I’m saying: I recognize the need to make myself relevant in the eyes of my superiors, because they’ll undoubtedly help me get farther in life and because I respect them. But following Dan Schawbel’s suggestions (while they are very thoughtful and elegantly expressed) to build my personal brand seems like way too much work for a devoted slub like myself. I’m just banking on the fact that you’ll like me as I am.

con amor,

shan

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cooking, slub style

As you may have gathered, the slubs love to eat. There are few things better than good meals shared with great friends. We firmly believe this.

I also love to cook. I cannot speak for all the slubs here, but I almost like to cook more than I like to eat.

Why I love to cook:

  1. Cooking and baking are great ways to show someone you care.
  2. Cooking is a great stress reliever.
  3. Cooking is a creative process.
  4. Finishing a meal or baking project means I have at least completed one project that day. Some days, I need that empowerment.

But, let’s be real. I am not the world’s best cook. I have had my fair share of horrible meals. Luckily, my housemates are kind enough to not say anything. (Side note: I have never had a batch of baking powder biscuits rise. Ever. I have never had yeast bread fail. My cakes always rise to perfection. But baking powder biscuits? The fail proof recipe for delicious homestyle goodness? I can’t do it. Anybody willing to show me what I am doing wrong, I would greatly appreciate it). Hence, it is always nice to have recipes on hand that you know that everyone loves and that are hard to ruin.

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful, nearly fail-proof, recipes that the slubs love. That we make all the time. Most importantly, all of these can be made on a budget, from stock pantry ingredients, and often from leftovers. Oh yes. The slubs know how to deliciously stretch a buck.

Quesadillas, Enchiladas, Breakfast Burritos

slub food

Okay, maybe not all of you have the following ingredients on hand all the time. The slubs do. Our go-to dinners tend to be Tex-Mex themed. We always have salsa, tortillas, and cheese. And when I say always, I mean when we actually remember to grocery shop. We also usually have green bell peppers and onions on hand. Bam! Dinner.

For Quesadillas, heat up a large nonstick skillet. You don’t even have to grease it, which means no added fat. You’ll get enough of that if you use the proper amount of cheese. Put a large tortilla in pan. It may have first been smothered in refried beans. If it was from the slubs, it definitely was. Place this side facing up.

Cover in lots of cheese: cheddar,Monterey jack, queso fresco, cotija, Chihuahua, mozzarella, feta, or a combination thereof. Slub commandment: Love all cheese. For example, after a night out dancing we put fresh chevre into a quesadilla and served it with pesto. YUM. Lesson: don’t discriminate against your cheese.

Add your favorite ingredients like diced green peppers, onions, scallions, tomatoes, summer squash, black beans, corn, cooked ground beef, and/or jalapenos. Sprinkle with just a tad more cheese. Add another tortilla. When the bottom browns, flip the quesadilla. Let the second tortilla brown. Flip onto large dinner plate. Cut. Enjoy with salsa.

Enchiladas. Put all or some of these above ingredients in a large tortilla. Fold tortilla around ingredients so it forms a snuggly pocket for the delectable ingredients. Put in a baking dish. Smother in enchilada sauce. Bake in 350 degree (400 if you are impatient, which I often am) oven until sauce starts to bubble. Serve with rice and beans. Slubs often make two enchiladas each. Usually because we think we can each eat two. We can’t. Enchiladas make excellent lunches.

Breakfast burritos. Wrap up favorite ingredients plus freshly scrambled eggs in a tortilla. You may even add leftover rice and beans from the enchiladas earlier on in the week. You would be right to do this. Enjoy on a Saturday morning or a lazy weeknight.

Homemade Pizza

our pizza always looks this good

Ordering pizza can be expensive. Especially when one of our favorite pizza joints is Galactic Pizza. Heavenly. Definitely not cheap. So we often make homemade pizza. This is great because it allows everyone to specialize their own individual pizza and use ingredients we already have in the house.

Because we usually make last minute plans, this is the best dough recipe I have found. 30 minutes and you have pizza crust:

Dissolve 1T of yeast, 1 tsp of sugar, and 1 tsp of salt into 1C of warm water. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Frothiness ensues. Add 2T of oil and 2 ½ C of flour. Slubs usually make this crust with whole-wheat flour. If using all wheat flour, replace the sugar with honey. Trust me. Combine and knead for about 5 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes. Roll out into individual pizzas (this makes about 4-5 decent sized individual pizzas). Bake at 450 for about 5 minutes or until the dough is no longer outwardly dough-y. I know. It was like I was born to write recipes.

Add sauce. You can use homemade or store-bought pesto or red sauce. We often used left over spaghetti sauce. An easy red sauce can be made by sautéing onions, garlic, and carrots in olive oil. Add a can of plain tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. Simmer. A little bit of sugar, butter, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano finish this sauce off.

Sprinkle with your favorite toppings and cheese. We like artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, spinach, feta/goat cheese, green peppers, onions, summer squash, pepperoni, tomatoes, olives, etc.

Bake until cheese is melty and starting to brown. If you’re feeling flush that month, enjoy with a spinach salad topped with pears, cranberries, sugared walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette. If not, enjoy with a spinach salad minus the fussy parts.

Garbage Soup

I love soup! It warms you up on a winter day, and is perfect to take to work the next day for a delicious lunch. I love the flexibility of soup as well. It is such a great way to use up vegetables that are going bad or grains that have been sitting in your pantry forever. Just throw everything in a pot. Done.

Ingredients you must have: onion and vegetable broth.

Ingredients that would be great to have: garlic, carrots, celery, bell peppers, grain/legume of some sort (I love farro, but you could use brown rice, lentils, quinoa, etc.), beans, kale (you can use spinach or another green, but we have found that kale holds up the best through reheating…also, it is delicious)

Ingredients that you don’t necessarily need, but make the soup awesome: diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, zucchini, squash, corn, parmesan rind, parmesan cheese (splurge for the real stuff for soup…it melts so well), for meat eaters add turkey meatballs

Sautee things. Add broth. Add grains, beans, tomatoes, and any frozen ingredients. Add parmesan rind for extra flavor. Season with things like basil, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and peppers. Simmer. Serve with grated cheese and homemade bread, preferably fresh out of the oven.

Splurge recipes. Once in awhile the slubs like to make amazing meals when we have extra money. Here are some favorite splurge recipes:

Risotto

Here is the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for risotto. It is wonderful because it uses goat cheese instead of mascarpone. Heavenly. Ree suggests about adding wine if anything goes wrong. This is very true. If you were to happen to add half a bottle of wine, or more, while cooking, you wouldn’t be alone. We’ve done it, too. And it was spectacular.

Cupcakes

We love cupcakes. Check out Laura’s post about cupcakes on her blog. Laura is the best cupcake maker ever. Although her cupcakes usually look too good to eat, we eat them anyway. Here is one of the slubs’ favorite cupcakes from this year:

yes. they taste as good as they look.

It is like a high-class camping trip in your mouth.

Finally, always enjoy your home-cooked meals with friends, a glass of wine, and laughter. Once in a while, eat until you are uncomfortably full and roll into the living room. Turn on 30 Rock, New Girl, Downton Abbey, or Lord of the Rings. Complain about how you are too full to move ever again. Get way too into the program you are watching. And then eat a cupcake.

slub love,

Kat


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slub of the week: Ahmad Bradshaw

You may be shocked to hear this, but the slubs watched the Super Bowl yesterday . And not just the commercials or the halftime show. We watched the game as well. And gave up watching Downton Abbey to do so.

It was quite the event. Here are the delicious foods that were served: oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies, s’mores cupcakes, lemon teacakes, potstickers, hummus, baked brie, and queso. Possibly not  your typical Super Bowl fare, but it was a delicious, slubby feast.

Now, while some of us are football fans, none of us were really invested in the game. Nonetheless, we chose sides. Obviously. Shannon, claiming that she was supporting America, rooted for the Patriots, along with Anna and our friend Maddie. Nora and I, in our infinite wisdom, chose the winning team, the Giants.

We cheered loudly and often for our respective teams. There was even some smack talk going down. I mean really. Supporting the Patriots? Come. on. Nora and I were called anti-American. Vicious. But there was one thing we all agreed on: Ahmad Bradshaw’s winning touchdown was nothing short of EPIC.

Now, after listening to commentary after the game, Bradshaw had not meant to score on this play. Instead his intent was to run the clock down so that the Patriot’s offense would have as little time with the ball as possible. On the otherhand, according the Huffington Post, the Patriots wanted to “concede a score” so that they would have as much time with the ball as possible. He accidentally scores when the Patriots do nothing to stop him.

But for the untrained eyes of the slubs and friends, it went down like this:

Bradshaw has the ball. He runs. He makes a split second decision to make the slubbiest touchdown of all time. Bradshaw scores the winning touchdown by sitting into the endzone.

I mean, why exert the energy, Bradshaw? You are on the goal line. The Patriots seem completely unconcerned about you scoring. Let your momentum carry you gracefully into a seated position in the endzone. Standing: not Superbowl champion. Seated: Superbowl champion. WIN.

So, to the Superbowl Champions, Ahmad Bradshaw and Giants, congratulations. Congrats for winning a sporting event by acting like a slub. Pretend like you meant to do it. It was truly epic.

slub love, Kat


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slubs save the twins

On Tuesday, September 27th of 2011, the slubs were singlehandedly responsible for leading the Minnesota Twins to victory over the Kansas City Royals.

This feat was particularly important because the Twins were in serious danger of hitting a record, and not a good one: 100 losses in a season. Ouch. As the extremely nice man sitting next to slub Kat noted, however, apparently Twins fans don’t seem to care so much about their team sucking that they refuse to come out and see a game. The stadium wasn’t exactly packed but it wasn’t a ghost town either. That probably has as much to do with the newness of the Stadium as anything – I doubt many fans would have come to see their team lose its 100th game in the Metrodome. (That’s probably why people are much more critical of the Vikings…if I had to sit in the Dome and watch my team consistently lose in the clutch, I’d personally refuse to attend a game until they started improving. Look at me, pretending to be all sports knowledge-y! I’ve fooled you all!)

So what I’m trying to say is the reason the Twins won last night was obviously because it was the slubs’ second game of the season. They won at the game we watched in May, and they won last night, but they really didn’t do much winning in between then…so it was up to us to help them.

And we did our level slub best.

  • First, Laura spilled pasta on her pants at dinner.
  • Then, we got totally awesome seats that weren’t in the nose bleeds, thank you very much – for FREE. Slubs will take nearly anything if it’s free. Donations will be accepted at the Dupont house.

    Slubs get great seats, obvi

  • Next, we scoffed at the raucous and drunk boys with beer bellies who had decided to sit in our seats. (One boy actually moved next to Laura when his friend left to get more beer so “she wouldn’t take his seat”. Which was, of course, our seat in the first place. Towards the end of the game they got busted for sneaking a flask into the stadium and openly drinking from it in public. Ah, sweet revenge…)
  • Later, we ate stadium food. Shannon got twist ice cream in a kiddie cone, which was actually just the size of a regular cake cone, but the cashier questioned her decision because she didn’t want a waffle cone. He didn’t know that slubs always make the best decision on the first try. Laura, slub queen for the night, got chocolate soft serve with strawberry sauce in a mini Twins helmet. I’m sure the helmet will henceforth appear in random and possibly inappropriate places throughout the Dupont house. Both Shannon and Laura had a very hard time choosing between consuming ice cream, a hot dog, Kettle Korn, nachos, fries, and/or a Mike’s Hard. In the end, however, both realized that all these items could be eaten at a later date. Praise the slubby Lord!

    Slubs get sustenance. Note the helmet cup

  • Sometime before the eating but after scoffing at the boys, Anna revealed that she felt simultaneously like attending a Pause dance and sleeping. Luckily she got a chance to shake her groove thang to one of the many pop gems played throughout the night, in particular “Fishing in the Dark”. That was a particularly bumpin tune, as I’m sure you can all imagine. The song was briefly confused with that one about fried chicken, but all was quickly corrected.
  • Finally, we took the bus home. Slubs love the environment and are all for sustainability. Slubs felt triumphant when they arrived safely at the corner of 26th and Lyndale. Slubs have officially conquered public transportation.

Invigorated by our unyielding commitment to the slubby way, the Twins likewise committed to not failing miserably and beat the Royals. The fireworks that appeared over the Stadium after the game ended were to honor the slubs for braving a Tuesday night out in jeans and scarves instead of sweatshirts and stretchy pants.


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Hide your pizza belly! We’re going out.

Devoted readers,

Being a slub, when Friday afternoon rolls around each week you basically have your weekend planned. Your stretchy pants are exactly where you left them last night waiting for you to spend a whole weekend in them; there is a 6 pound bag of mozzarella cheese in your fridge waiting to be dumped on your homemade pizza; the box of wine you bought last week has aged beautifully for this much-anticipated, glorious weekend of slubbing around.

But this weekend, the Slub House defied our deeply ingrained, slubby identities and did the unthinkable: we went out. That’s right. Out. Dear readers, you would be so proud. We certainly are.

Since we typically spend our Friday nights lounging on our futon watching episodes of Arrested Development or The Office until way past when we all agreed we would go to sleep, we, the Slubs, do not know many bars in Minneapolis. A friend asked me the other week to name some of the great bars I had explored in my super trendy neighborhood and the only place I could name was Common Roots. This is a cafe. Not a bar. No one is dancing on tables and having margaritas made in their mouths (I imagine most bar activity like that “party” scene from Ten Things I Hate About You when Kat gets way trashed at that party and hits her head on a chandelier after breaking it down on the dining room table. My perception may be slightly skewed.) The look I received suggested I should get out more. Note taken. Which explains my desire to attend the 0-4 year St. Olaf Homecoming party at the 508 Bar. And for the record, it’s a real bar. Not a cafe.

After Nora, Laura, and I agonized over what we could wear to look semi-appropriate and dressed-up, we sat down to enjoy our personal, homemade pizzas with Kat, the diehard Slub who decided to stay home. Desperate to hype ourselves up for all the socializing and inevitable “Adult” Pause dancing, we cranked up the Beyonce and Shakira and prepared for our evening out. Seduced by the glamour of a night out, Kat changed her mind and decided to join us!

Hide your pizza belly, ladies! We’re going out!

Readers and fellow slubs in practice or at heart, you would be so proud. We stayed out until almost 11 pm. Consequently, the next night Kat, Laura, and I slubbed it up and donned our sweatshirts to see Bridesmaids at the Riverview Theater. Nora, our inspiration, went out for another night of fun in Northeast. You’ll have to ask her for all the non-slubby details.

So you see, dear reader, at times even we Slubs enjoy a night out. However, don’t think that I won’t be putting on my stretchy pants real soon because I will.

Slub love,

Anna


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whaddup portland

Top 5 awesome things I did today:

  • I got to see Portland for the first time in the light. It seemed really beautiful when we drove to our hotel last night – winding back and forth over the river on the highway made me feel vaguely like I was back in Istanbul – but the downtown area was definitely more delightful this morning. When I have more personal time I’d love to come back here and explore.

    Portland

  • I went into a frozen yogurt shop. The guy behind the counter asked: “How did work go today?” I answered: “Really well. I’m actually here on business.” Badass. This means I am officially an adult.

Inside the frozen yogurt shop — TartBerry

  • I’m staying in a super swank hotel and loving every minute of it. I was told traveling for business isn’t normally this nice, so I’m really trying to appreciate my fancy room while I have it. Every time we enter the hotel, the doors are opened for us by the doormen. New mission: get the slub house a doorman.

The Paramount Hotel

  • I talked about my future and networked with a local Financial Representative. Further proof that I am officially an adult. Cross your fingers that this particular networking effort pays off…

The Bridgeport Brewpub, witness to my networking win

  • I wandered around the largest independent used and new book store in the world. It’s called Powell’s Books. According to their website,
    1. The building covers 68,000 ft2
    2. 3,000 used books are bought over the counter each day
    3. 3,000 customers walk in to the store and purchase something each day
    4. 3,000 people walk in to the store simply to browse and drink coffee
    5. There are 122 major subject areas and 3,500 subsections to shift through
    6. The store has over 1,000,000 volumes on its shelves

The Rose Room, one of many color-themed rooms in Powell’s Books

You guys. This place was seriously epic. They had room after room and floor after floor of shelf after shelf of books. There were a ton of people just sitting around and reading for fun. It was the definition of yuppie, but I could see myself walking in to the store, grabbing some coffee and a good book, and nerding out. Next time…

con amor,

shan


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anything mexican is fine by me. also, tagine.

Confession: I can’t cook.

My experiences with the kitchen are as follows:

  • Beyond macaroni and cheese and Ramen noodles, my ability to create anything edible is negligible.
  • One time, I tried making pancakes. I got the dry ingredients everywhere and accidentally left bits of egg shell in the batter. Also, I tried heating up syrup in the microwave but forgot to open the top of the bottle and it exploded. There was syrup everywhere. The microwave smelled like syrup for quite some time. (Which I argue is not actually a bad thing.)
  • Another time I tried making flan. It burned.
  • If I can’t find a measuring device, I can’t follow through with the recipe. The idea of going rogue in the kitchen is disquieting.
  • I have come to accept leftovers as a necessary part of life, but I have no clue how to combine them creatively into anything savory.
  • Speaking of savory, I constantly crave salt…but only ever feel like baking cookies. I’m sure this contradiction is a large part of the reason I haven’t seen much success in the kitchen.
  • I’m not very creative when it comes to making my own food. Whenever I brainstorm ideas for dinner, the list goes as follows:
    1. Pasta
    2. Sandwich
    3. Pancakes
    4. (dead void where creative brainwaves should be thinking of option 4)

So really, I don’t understand the kitchen. I’m not “domesticated” in that sense and I think my mom considers it somewhat of a maternal failure on her part. Yet there remains hope – while I can’t cook for anything, I have a deep and undeniable appreciation for the culinary arts.

I love food.

I’m a particular fan of Mexican. A few days ago Kat, Anna, Joe and I had quesadillas for dinner, and a comment was made that went something along the lines of “Anything Mexican is fine by me.” This might have been in response to Anna’s love of refried beans, but regardless, the sentiment is there and completely true. My parents raised my brother and I on TexMex and if it has ground beef, cheese, peppers and or/jalapeños, tortillas, and taco seasoning, my tummy is 100% guaranteed to smile.

While abroad in the Middle East, my stomach unfortunately didn’t do much smiling – 24/7 travelers’ sickness will do that to you, word to the wise – but that didn’t stop my experimentation with food. Let me tell you a secret: Middle Eastern food is positively divine. And it was never in short supply, as the people we met on our travels showed their hospitality through feeding us borderline inappropriate amounts of food. Pushing larger and larger amounts of potatoes and vegetables onto my side of the communal plate was a favorite game of my Moroccan host grandma. This tendency was universal to nearly every Middle Easterner who sheltered any of us poor unassuming American students, and as a result my fellow TIMErs and I quickly perfected an eating style fondly known as the Moroccan Hunch. This slightly embarrassing tactic involves leaning over your plate in a Neanderthal- like squat and shoveling extreme amounts of food into your mouth. It is often coupled with a hopping motion if you want or need to quickly make room in an already impossibly full stomach for more food. The Moroccan Hunch is neither graceful nor socially acceptable, but Middle Eastern food is that good that I’m willing to bust it out whenever necessary.

What it all comes down to is this: I can’t cook but I love food. And food is a way to spread happiness and community. I love sitting down to a well-prepared meal with my housemates – it makes our duplex feel like a home. (Slubs in general are food people.) And while Moroccan grandma and I were separated by almost every personal descriptor, including age, weight, language, culture, and standards of hygiene, we both greatly enjoyed a good bowl of couscous and eating a Ramadan cookie every day. (Or maybe 6 on grandma’s part.)

So I would like to make the personal vow to become comfortable in the kitchen. And I vow to chronicle my progress in that endeavor, at the very least so I can look back on this blog and think about what a square I was at 22. I can’t realistically say I’m ever going to be a good cook, and I’ve made the I-will-defeat-you-kitchen speech plenty of times before with zero follow-through, but since moving out and pretending to be an adult I’ve come to realize it’s an important skill to have. Plus my children will hate me if I only ever make them macaroni and cheese.

I leave you with a picture of Moroccan tagine:

con amor,

shan