Sampling, surveying at Food Expo

Congratulations to The Michelin Stars of Butler College, victors in the 2017 Tiger Chef Challenge. (Photo: Campus Dining)

Melissa Mirota, registered dietitian for PU, illustrated a month’s worth of food choices available at residential dining halls. (Photo: Rozalie Czesana)

The beef patty on a typical hamburger requires 630 gallons of water to produce. (Photo: Cecila Sheng)

Sea to Table’s Acadian Redfish, bottom, and Spiny Dogfish displayed at Campus Dining’s Food Expo at Dillon. (Photo: Rozalie Czesana)


Last Friday, alongside the excitement of the second year of the Tiger Chef Challenge student cooking contest (congratulations to Butler College!), Dillon Gym was also transformed to a bustling food expo, with a steady stream of students stopping to sample foods at booths of Campus Dining vendors and taking time to test their sustainability knowledge in exchange for prizes.

One highlight was tuna ceviche, crafted on the spot by the rep from Mission Foods, which supplies dining halls with a variety of Mexican-themed foods and ingredients.

Alissa Westrvelt of the Brooklyn-based Sea to Table, a seafood distributor that connects small-scale fisheries with clients, displayed Acadian Redfish and Spiny Dogfish, two fish species that Princeton students can taste across the dining halls.

Melissa Mirota, the registered dietitian at PU, presented a National Nutrition Month Scavenger Hunt, in which the Tiger Challenge visitors were invited to explore the nutritional benefits of several foods at the expo: red lentils and quinoa from RC Fine Foods, coffee from Princeton-based Small World and yogurts from Chobani, among others. Participants received a fruit-infuser water bottle. Mirota also supplied a 30 Day Whole Food Challenge poster, which listed a recipe for every day in March. She said she was inspired by Mark Bittman, former food writer at The New York Times who said, ”It’s not the beta-carotene, it’s the carrot. The evidence is very clear that plants promote health.”

At the Greening Dining table hosted by Sarah Bavuso, sustainability manager for Campus Dining, students, faculty, and other visitors picked up a full backpack to feel the weight of the amount of food wasted by an average student during one month: 22.8 pounds. Visitors also learned how much water it takes to produce one burger, in which the vast majority of water consumption comes from the meat patty. Visitors also could take a survey regarding their opinions about food waste and sustainability and hear more about transparency in ingredient procurement. (Greening Dining is a student group that works with Campus Dining to make Princeton dining as sustainable as possible.)

Changing Climate, Changing Appetites: Beets


6 beets, peeled and cut into thick wedges
3 medium onions, cut into wedges
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then into thirds
6 medium carrots
2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Scatter vegetables across large, shallow and heavy-bottomed roasting pan.
3. Sprinkle with salt, ensuring even distribution
4. Pour olive oil over vegetables. Mix thoroughly with your hands.
5. Roast, stirring and turning every 10 minutes, until vegetables are well caramelized.
Makes 6 servings. Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories, 192; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 26g; High in copper, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Approximate cost per serving: $1.48. Active prep and cooking time: 15 minutes; largely passive cooking time: 45 minutes. Planning: Produce: beets, sweet potatoes. To have on hand: extra virgin olive oil, salt, onions, carrots.

Changing Climate, Changing Appetites: Chickpeas


19 ounce-can chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons lemon juice, or more to taste
1/3 cup tahini
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 medium carrots

1. Place all ingredients except carrots in workbowl of food processor. Process until smooth. Taste; adjust seasonings.
2. Peel carrots; cut into sticks.
Serve hummus as a dip or as a sandwich spread. Use to thicken soups.
Makes 6 servings. Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories, 259; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 29g; High in copper, phosphorus and Vitamin A. Approximate cost per serving: $1.25. Active prep time: 15 minutes. Planning: Pantry: chickpeas, tahini; produce: lemon, garlic, carrots. To have on hand: extra virgin olive oil, salt. garlic.



Changing Climate, Changing Appetites: Lentils


2 cups large brown lentils, soaked if required and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil (about 1/4 cup), divided
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed
2 onions, sliced into half-moon shapes
6 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted to aromatic
3/4 cup whole-milk plain greek yogurt*


1. In a large pot, boil lentils in a fresh portion of water to cover for 45 minutes (add more water if needed).
2. At the same time, put rice on to cook in 2 cups of boiling, salted water.
3. In the meantime, fry the chopped onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft and golden. Add it to the lentils.
4. Fry sliced onions in 2 tablespoons very hot oil until they are dark brown and sweet – almost caramelized.
5. Serve the lentils atop the rice in a large, shallow dish, garnished with fried onion slices, with toasted pine nuts and plain yogurt as accompaniments.
– Adapted from “A Book of Middle Eastern Food,” by Claudia Roden
Makes 6 servings. Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories, 467; Protein 20g; Carbohydrate 63g; High in potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin B6 and folate. Approximate cost per serving: $1.24. Planning: Pantry: pine nuts. To have on hand: (buy large quantities): extra virgin olive oil, salt, onions, carrots, lentils, brown rice (store in freezer).
*Yogurt is not calculated in the analyses.

What’s on your breakfast plate?

Ran across an interesting piece on USDA from Tom Vilsack, the department’s head. From that piece, a quote about breakfast:

USDA researchers have made discoveries that prove eating a protein-rich breakfast increases the brain’s level of dopamine, a chemical that helps reduce food cravings and overeating later in the day. USDA scientists recorded brain electrical activity during the performance of mental arithmetic in children and found that those who ate breakfast were more efficient at solving math problems than those who did not.

If you’re looking to push past mid-morning sluggishness and step lightly on the planet, opt for plant-based protein-rich foods: quinoa, edamame, beans & legumes including peanut butter, wild rice, nuts and also processed items including tofu, tempeh and seitan (more info from Prevention magazine here and here). Eggs and dairy (Greek yogurt) pack a protein punch too.


Rozalie Czesana '18, your  guide to the best of dining on campus.

Rozalie Czesana ’18, your guide to the best of dining on campus.


Chicken* Gyro; Vegetable Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce; Avocado & Strawberry Salad with Oranges @FORBES
Pork**** Stir-Fry with Pineapple & Peppers; Spinach+ Salad with Strawberries & Walnuts @WHITMAN


Organic Tofu*** Vegetable Lasagna; Roasted Corn on the Cob; Black Bean Soup @BUTLER/WILSON
Pan Broiled Cod** with Lentils; Sautéed Zucchini with Squash & Mushrooms @CJL
Lamb Shoulder with White Beans; Ethiopian Inguday Tibs; Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry @FORBES

*Bell & Evans organic, air-chilled chicken, no antibiotics, no growth hormones, from Pennsylvania Dutch country

**Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program; nearly 80% of total seafood purchases are categorized as sustainable in accordance with Seafood Watch’s principles.

***House Foods organic, non-GMO, OU, kosher tofu made of American-grown soy

****Leidy’s® pork products: American Humane Association Free Farmed certified because of the humane and special care given to their animals

+ NJ seasonal

SPOTLIGHT: strawberry

Farm to Fork shrinks to a few steps

Rozalie Czesana '18, at work planting microgreens seeds in the Urban Cultivator. (Photo by Sarah Salati Bavuso, Campus Dining Services)

Rozalie Czesana ’18, at work planting microgreens seeds in the Urban Cultivator. (Photo by Sarah Salati Bavuso, Campus Dining Services)

Seedlings at 4 days!

Seedlings at 4 days!

IMG_4915Thanks to Rozalie Czesana ’18 and to Campus Dining Services, customers at Frist’s Cafe Vivian may soon be treated to tastes of intensely local basil, kale, peas, broccoli and radish microgreens.

Czesana, with Sarah Salati Bavuso of CDS, planted seeds in the Urban Cultivator, a hydroponic garden system about the size of a wardrobe, in hopes of growing the leafy greens, but also to encourage conversation on sustainable food systems.

“Small-scale indoor agriculture has the potential to contribute to feeding entire communities when implemented on larger scale,” says Czesana, citing AeroFarms as an example.

See Czesana’s piece that CDS published here (thanks to Sarah and the team!). See the YouTube video on growing basil here.