After three years of you-know-what, we returned for a 9th edition of the econo’food potluck last week. One change for the 2020s is being more intentional about in-person events, which in this case took the form of making the potluck more convenient by gathering in the Jaharis building right after our final day of class.

As before, we had faculty judges award prizes to dishes that contribute deliciously to a healthy diet at (1) least financial cost, (2) least preparation time, (2) least environmental harms, or (3) greatest cultural significance. This time judging was led by Bea Rogers, who quickly got over the skepticism she’s showing in this pre-tasting photo, while Parke Wilde in the background gets the tableware set up:

From left: Ivan Thompson, Tommy Li, Divina Chandiramani, Parke Wilde (behind), Isabella Ramirez, Bea Rogers

As in past years students gave the most wonderful explanations of their dishes, e.g. here Yue Zhan explains her gorgeous red bean dessert:

Unlike previous years, I managed to record video for a few explanations, and by chance I caught three of the four prize winners. To start, here’s Tommy Li sharing his contribution which was ultimately judged by Parke to be the most handy-dandy convenient contribution to the potluck: plain fruit!

The least-cost category for frugal shoppers was judged by Bea Rogers, who recognized the surprisingly inexpensive and easy homemade Burmese Chickpea Tofu brought by Sarah Bermingham:

The prize for most environmentally friendly dish was awarded to Lexi Endicott (photo below, at right in green) for her sourdough cast-off crackers, using leftovers for zero waste. She provided the most wonderful description but I was fumbling with my phone and failed to record it!

All dishes have some cultural meaning, but for the greatest significance I awarded that prize to Naina Qayyum, for her delicious kheer (rice pudding) — so universally beloved as to transcend all barriers, uniting families and the world.

Finally, special recognition for best use of lentils — surely one of the most sadly underused ingredients in the world food system. Here is Izzy Pinerua explaining the origins of her vegan lentil dish:


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