This is the start of a new semester. It’s also a time to look at rising trends in college and university dining as we strive to serve our millennial dinners better. UMass is the second-largest campus dining operations in the nation, and we are constantly talking to our students about what they want. In addition to what we hear from students, I also take into consideration what I learned and tasted on my recent trip to Singapore (culinary heaven, in my opinion), where I attended the World of Healthy Flavors Asia conference.
If you have any interest in gardening or farming, there is another player in addition to the plants and soil that you should know about: mycorrhizal fungi. This type of fungus forms a symbiotic relationship with approximately 90% of plants! The fungi colonize the roots of the plant and then extend their hyphae far into the soil, bringing nutrients and water that would otherwise be out of reach to its host. In return, the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates.
The groundnut (Apios Americana), which is actually a legume, is one of the most popular wild edible plants in eastern North America. Also known as indian potato and american potato bean, they are popular among the native Americans as a source of food. The swollen stems and the tubers are the edible parts of the plant. The tubers of the plant are best harvested from late fall to early spring.
A friend of mine recently showed me a youtube video that really affected me. Granted, I say that sometimes after I watch cute baby animal videos, but I was so impressed by this video because it depicted a real response to a big problem. Doing so can be difficult, as our awareness of environmental problems can easily put us on a dark path of futility or preaching inconceivable change.
Welcome Back! We can’t wait to serve you.
I hope everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed time with your family and friends. Sunday afternoon, I toured the Southwest area with Garett DiStefano, director of residential dining, to ensure that we are ready to serve you. It was so nice to see you again and in many cases, your family as well. We have many exciting changes for this semester that I can hardly wait to tell you about. Here is a sampling.
Rhubarb, also known as rheum, turkish, and sometimes chinese himalayan, is an interesting plant. Its roots are medicinal, its stems, which must be cooked, are used to make delicious pies, and its leaves contain oxalic acid, making them poisonous. The plant is a perennial that reaches about ten feet. It has thick, brown roots and round hollow stems that end in multi-directional spikes of small flowers.
I haven’t taken a sip of bottled water in over two years. That may sound surprising to you, but up until 1979 practically no one in America had ever taken a sip of bottled water and they were just fine. So why is it then that everywhere we go today we see people sipping bottled water? Our society has come to a point where people need absolutely everything in a disposable single serving container. When I tell people that I don’t drink bottled water, they seem genuinely shocked.
The name salvia comes from the Latin name “to heal." Sage (Salvia Officinalis) is a perennial and should be harvested before the flower buds open by cutting the plant back to 4 inches above the ground. After harvesting, discard the stem and leaf stalks then dry the herb and store in an airtight container. Sage is a herb that has been praised since that ancient Greeks and Romans. Charlemagne ordered that this medicinal be grown in his herb gardens on his farms.
I’m sure everyone has grown, or at least heard of, chia pets. You also may have heard of native tribes running up to 50 miles per day and drinking only chia fresca.
Or maybe you’ve seen a weird floating substance that looks like fish eggs in a friend’s water. Well, they’re all the same thing – chia seeds! And there are many reasons to add them to your diet.