Heterotroph: A Food Column

By Marina Campoy-LoVasco (’23)

Photo Credits: Anna Pyshniuk on Pexels.com

I look forward to a lot during the holiday break: sleep, seeing family, hanging out with friends, and the FOOD! A nice homemade meal with the family makes all the stress from midterms vanish.

It’s a tradition in my family to go to my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve to eat lasagna. I usually opt for the vegetarian lasagna (there’s vegetarian, meat, and mixed which requires a whole day in advance to prepare). A filling of spinach, mushrooms, and ricotta cheese fills each layer of pasta. Speaking of the pasta, it has the perfect bite. It is cooked just enough that it can stand on its own without getting weighed down by the filling. And despite having to feed my 9 aunts and uncles, their children, and their children’s children, the serving size of the lasagna remains rather large. It takes up at least half of your plate, leaving the other half for the rest of the meal: steak, a warm roll of buttered bread, salad, and green beans. Somehow, there are always a few cousins and my brother who go in for seconds. 

I skipped ahead a little bit though, because while lasagna might be the main meal, there are of course the appetizers beforehand that are a sort of warm-up before the big game. I find myself most often orbiting around the charcuterie board with its aged cheddar, brie, toasted bread, and what I give greatest reverence to: fig jam. Something along the lines of a generic gelatinous strawberry jam, heavily sweetened with corn syrup, might come to your mind when you hear fig jam, but boy would you be way off. Fig jam has this complex sweetness that paired with manchego is truly a perfect bite. And let’s talk about manchego! It is by far the best cheese I have ever tasted (far better than pepper jack). 

To be honest, I prefer the sweet and savory combination of a charcuterie board to most desserts. However, it is impossible to refuse a slice of my grandma’s cheesecake or the sugar cookies my youngest cousins cut into festive shapes and decorate with colorful sprinkles. 

The holidays get a 5 stars review from me! The only thing I would complain about is that I have to wait until next year to eat it all again!

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