By Kelsey Colpitts and Sam Pratt
Meal times in Arcadia are unlike any other dining experience. In cook rotations of two, each pair prepares and serves one of each meal every week. Everyone’s style is different and we have a variety of tastes and flavors. Caeleigh and Kenny add African influences to their dishes while Dom and Cassidy go heavy on the vegetables. Meat is always present on Sam and Evelyn’s cook night and Kate and Meredith keep it good and simple with homemade bread. Kelsey and Hannah use quinoa as their staple ingredient, and Will and Klare will make anything with butter.
In addition to having to cook mostly from scratch, we were also faced with the challenge of preparing meals with only a stove top for the first month. Without an oven, cook pairs improvised and created Arcadian classics such as Dom bread and no-bake cookies. These concoctions have become favorites in the community. Another challenge is our limited access to ingredients such as eggs, which only come on Sundays, and vegetables, which arrive on Tuesdays. We have learned to cook with what we have and save certain food items for the cooks later in the week.
Although preparing meals and cleaning up afterward is time consuming and sometimes stressful, we always look forward to coming together as a community. It seems like every adventure ends with a meal and gives us time to reflect on our previous experience, whether it be a field trip, class, or outdoor excursion. Meals are a much needed pause and we have become so appreciative of our cooks because we know how much effort goes into cooking for fourteen. While each dish may taste different, the one constant is the way we begin each meal: with a quote or saying of the cooks’ choosing. As the first half of our semester comes to a close, and we switch our cook partners, we have formed a grace together, each line coming from a different community member. To create the Arcadian Grace we played a game in which each person could see only the line the person just before them had written. It made for an interesting concoction of flavors and spices.
An Arcadian Grace
We’re thankful for Arcadia because
Of Mama Massawepie and our fellow friends
Oh how we love the beautiful smiles of Arcadian Dwellers,
Their spontaneous hugs, their love,
Their singing and their dance parties on White Face,
The joy they find in each other
And the happiness they find in the world around them
Is abundant in every corner if you take the time to look.
Thank you for the laughter around this table,
Thank you for the meat,
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, we all eat burgers
on buns; it was terrific.
Hey diddle diddle the kitchen and the working stove,
We all jump over the moon.
The little Tashi loved cuddles and we all ran away
to the woods.
Ah, if only we had pickles.