We spent Valentine’s Day this year with Maifen and Cameron (she did bring a date! lol). Cameron is a junior at Cornell who’s been doing a year of abroad at NUS in Mf’s college! He’s an entomology major (!) so part of his research here involves catching praying mantises at Bidadari Cemetery to observe their mating habits (how male mantids have evolved to mate with fuller-looking female mantids so that they won’t be eaten by the female mantids after mating)
I made Mario Batali’s Farfalle Abruzzese since Maifen had some dried porcini from Italy. No desserts, save all her remaining chinese new year cookies. I passed some oat/cornflake/chocolate chip cookies to her, and there was only a single oatmeal cookie left in the container. Later that day she showed me the darlingest whatsapp message from one of her visitors, a professor at the University of Nebraska that said:
I’m still dreaming of all the cookies! Tell your nephew’s girlfriend that hers are so delicious. It was really hard for me to save you the last one!
< cue collective aww >
The farfalle abruzzese itself turned out quite okay, only I used some sort of fusilli instead of farfalle (I find the farfalle here is way too thick, especially the bit pinched together in the middle). The sauce was really nice, but in a more subtle sort of way. I suppose I could have used more sherry, or more of the soaked porcini water. The porcini was very nice, plus the fresh mushrooms I added in case she didn’t have enough dried porcini. I’m pretty excited about going to Italy in May to pick up more porcini :) LZ’s trip to the conference is all but confirmed.
We had an amazing time talking to Cameron and reminiscing about the F’reals in Nasties. Man I miss that place. F’real machines are like the best invention known to man, we told Maifen to do something about importing the machine to UTown. Some people used all their spare brbs on those. The food in the dining hall at that particular UTown college is somewhat… lacklustre, especially after you eat at Cornell. Cameron talked about how spoilt we all were, that we actually got tired of the food at RPCC and Appel and all that. He spent his second year at the Becker house and they even had a sushi bar on sundays, which I think was Asian brunch day. Haha. “You know how you go to RPCC one day and you’re like aww, not Mongo bar again, don’t really feel like pizza today, and the entrees don’t look that good? Well and then you come here, and there’s THIS, and like, everything sucks! And it’s not even free-flow!”
I told him and Lz about the dining halls before their time, when there was a nachos station with this huge metal warmer (about the shape of a fridge) where you can just pull out a drawer and retrieve hot, crispy nachos. There’s one of those soup warmers with the rest of the soups (cream of broccoli, cream of mushroom, etc.) that actually contains nacho cheese. An entire vat of nacho cheese. I used to add some broccoli to my nacho cheese and dip the nachos into that. That was removed in my sophomore year, along with the Dairy Bar ice cream, which is so much better than Perry’s and even Haagen Dazs. Wow. I never thought the day would come when I’d actually miss General Tso’s chicken and that weird squash and bell pepper ratatouille they serve in all the dining halls.