Scrumptious (adjective)- very pleasant to taste; delicious, delectable

For eight years, I’ve been living on dining hall food and loved every minute of it. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration-  I really didn’t care for breakfast for dinner. With that one exception though, I embraced the full salad bar and sandwich presses wholestomachly. As a first-year in college, I quickly learned the importance of creativity in using ingredients across stations. At Middlebury I made dessert paninis with apple slices and melted cheddar in a whole wheat pocket pita drizzled with some honey. After graduation, I worked at a boarding school in Maine for two years where three meals were provided. My most recent day school also provided simple breakfast items and prepared lunch. I’ve been fortunate that these places employed a full dining crew to cook for our community. If the dining services were outsourced to a catering company, I would need to have more than popcorn kernels and tea in my pantry.

Another aspect of self-operated institutional dining services that I enjoyed was getting to know the kitchen staff. For a year, I woke up at 4:30AM and made Anadama bread for the entire college campus. The bakers would send me off to class with a blueberry turnover fresh out of the oven. The kitchen staff at my present workplace are just as personable. When they’re not feeding a hungry crowd of growing teenagers and directing servery traffic, they correct my Spanish and show me photos of their grandchildren. Our chefs also like to share recipes and ideas of the dishes they’re experimenting with. One of the special salads at lunch was described as scrumptious many times by my colleagues, so we asked for the recipe. They made it with a mysterious ingredient, which my colleagues and I debated over whether it was a tomato or a pepper. It turns out they were Peruvian peppers that can be found in a jar in U.S. supermarkets. Scrumptious little things indeed!

Cauliflower Rice Salad

  1. Remove the core of a head of cauliflower. Chop or pulse using a food processor until small, rice-ish bits.
  2. Add any combination of vegetables (corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery), beans (chickpeas, black beans, edamame), fruits (apples, avocados, raisins, dried cranberries), and/or nuts.
  3. Add any kinds of herbs (basil, parsley, mint, chives, cilantro, green onions).
  4. Whisk together a simple dressing (olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper).

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