By: Alex Washesky, junior, Agribusiness Management
While I am only a few weeks in to my internship on the student farm, I can already tell that it is shaping up to be a worthwhile experience. Although there are many reasons as to why I am interested in agriculture, perhaps the most influential one is my love of cooking and food. Through working on the farm, I have been exposed to a variety of different vegetables that I typically don’t include in my diet, but being around these products has inspired me to make new dishes that utilize them. I am a person who likes challenges, and perhaps one of the most fun challenges for me is having to create my own meal with only a given amount of food to work with. In the past few weeks, I have had the chance to experiment with cooking with certain foods that I typically would not go looking for when I’m out grocery shopping. On the day that I helped to clean out the greenhouse, I came into the possession of a considerable amount of green tomatoes, which are an ingredient that is typically not utilized by most cooks. After conducting a quick Google search, I found that these tomatoes can actually be quite tasty when deep fried, so I enjoyed a nice lunch of fried green tomatoes that afternoon.
Another vegetable that I was able to take home was eggplant, which is a vegetable that I believe can intimidate many home cooks who encounter it. However, having studied abroad in Southern Italy last summer, I had become accustomed to eating eggplant dishes on a regular basis, so I decided to recreate some of these meals that I had come to miss. One of these dishes was an eggplant and potato pizza, which might sound weird to most people who haven’t tried it, but I can assure you, the combination works very well. Another dish that I utilized the eggplant to make was Caponata, which is a Sicilian vegetable side dish similar to ratatouille, and on another occasion I made a plate of Pasta alla Norma, which is a pasta dish made with a tomato and eggplant sauce. Essentially, I likely would not have taken the initiative to make any of these meals had I not had the exposure to either of these vegetables, and additionally, I found that I have been pushing myself to cook more meals that are a bit different from those that I would normally make.