Thursday, February 27, 2014

What Not to Wear: CIA Edition

By student blogger Morgan

Surprisingly enough, one of the most frequently asked questions of our admissions department is what the students wear around campus on an average day. Things like , "What qualifies as 'college-kid' business casual?", and "What do you wear besides chef whites?" to name a few. Our dress code here is pretty strict, and you must be in uniform or business casual to be seen in an academic building or served food. To be totally honest, I usually just bum around in my chef whites whenever I have to go to main campus because it's the easiest and I'm still in the AOS program. For the BPS students or any AOS who are feelin' fancy, there are definite guidelines for what qualifies as business casual - generally speaking and what is specific to our culture here.

First off, our uniform:
photo source:

  • White Jacket
  • Checkered pants
  • Black non-slip shoes
  • Black or white socks
  • White neckerchief
(not required outside of kitchen or bakeshop)
  • toque
  • apron
  • side towel 
Day to day, this is what 75% of our student body looks like. Lately, (because it's cold and snowy!) a lot of students spice up their uniform with a scarf, ear muffs or gloves, but these have to be taken off to be served a meal from most kitchens. 

Infinity scarves and knit scarves are popular and these days most students are wearing winter coats over top of their whites as well. 

For more info on our uniform policy, visit our webpage devoted to it here.

Next up, Business Casual:

This understandably varies a LOT depending on what you're comfortable wearing and what your own style is. One of my favorite things about the CIA is that it is (quite literally) a mixing pot, and you're sure to get a little bit of everything. Fashion is definitely no exception. The bachelor's students wear everything from bow ties to khakis and everything in between. That said, there is definitely a successful way to go about business casual here and I'll break it down into some do's and don'ts that you can apply to your own wardrobe. 

  • Invest in a nice pair of all-purpose flats for the ladies or casual dress shoes for the guys 
  • Be comfortable, always! You're sitting in class, they don't expect you to over do it.
  • Wear khakis, corduroys, chinos, or any other type of pants that aren't jeans in however fancy of a fabric you feel good in.
  • Wear skirts and dresses or vests and collared shirts. Not all BPS students are fans of the fancy, but if you are then go for it!
  • Wear heals or boots if that's your jam, plenty of people do!
  • Wear jewelry. I never thought I'd miss wearing even my plain stud earrings but I do! 
  • Wear leggings, jeggings or yoga "pants" as business casual. They are not pants.
  • Wear open toed shoes or flip flops
  • Wear jeans or any other kind of colored denim (guilty trying to pass that one off...)
  • Wear a questionable hemline. If you have to wonder, it's too short.
  • Wear shoes that aren't comfortable...we do a LOT of walking around here no matter what program you're in
Any student AOS or BPS has to follow this dress code anytime we are in the following buildings around campus:
  1. Roth Hall
  2. School of Baking and Pastry
  3. The Admissions Center
  4. Marriot Pavillion (when it's opened...I'm assuming)
  5. McCann Education Annex (where some academic classes are held)
  6. The Restaurants (personally, I'd feel uncomfortable walking in there in sweats but I guess its not required!)
We do not have a dress code for the library, the gym, the Plaza Cafe, or any of the dorms. So feel free let it all hang out at any of these places. We take professionalism seriously here but for good reason! When it comes to getting dressed in the morning in general just remember these wise words of Oscar Wilde: "You can never be over dressed or over educated." 

Too much in Common

by student blogger Stephanie

I'm from a relatively small town. Pretty much all of my classmates from high school stayed at colleges around my hometown and either went into fields of medicine or education. I decided, as a Sophomore in high school, that I not only would be following a different career path, but that I had to step out of my oh, so, comfortable zone I found myself living in. 

Point blank, all I knew at that time was that I loved food. Many a dinner party and making meals for my family on an average of three times a week out of pure enjoyment were tell tale extensions of that love. I knew that I needed to foster and follow that. Cooking is not only about taking care of others the best way you know how, but it is an outlet for your own peace of mind, and creativity.

And that is how I ended up at The Culinary Institute of America. It's the mecca. It is exactly the place you want to be if you are to the point of obsession about food in all aspects. In the time it takes me to walk to and from class, I can overhear conversations on the sidewalks, in the hallways, and over meals, about various ingredients, food service, and technique from all of the diverse programs and classes that are offered to us. I once, overheard a student talking as passionately as ever on the phone, sharing his plan to slow roast brisket for seven hours and he continued to go on about the marinade he would use - all in passing. And all the while I wondered who he could’ve been talking to. Information is everywhere.    

I can't remember the moment when I first saw a poster for the CIA’s campus newspaper La Papillote declaring that all interested writers reach out with a submission for the paper. But I do know that that same piece of paper hung on my desk for more than a month, and stared me in the face, until I finally got up the guts to send in my first piece. To my surprise, it was eagerly welcomed by former Editor-in-Chief, Giulianna Galiano - and the rest is history! I continued to write anything and everything that was of interest to me from that first article, through extern, and into my final semesters of my Associate degree when I, myself, took over the role of Editor. 
When I think about the route I have been taking during my higher education within the CIA, my path and sense of direction in which I saw for myself has certainly differed even from my classmates that are as passionate and curious about food as I am. And I still find myself explaining my career goals and aspirations to a number of my culinary and baking and pastry counterparts just as I did in high school, but on another level. Others’ experience may or may not compare to mine, but we certainly have one thing in common.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thoughts On My Bachelor’s Degree

Thoughts On My Bachelor’s Degree
by Lacey Benjamin '14, from La Papillote

I find it ironic that the first thing I decide to type directly after my Bachelor’s graduation from the CIA is an article about what exactly I think about the degree I just spend 3 years working so hard to get.

To the reader, hello. In case we haven’t met, my name is Lacey. It’s nice to meet you. Today is January 16, 2014. I just graduated. When I say that it is one of the most surreal feelings in the entire world, I’m not kidding. As I walked across the stage, shook President Ryan’s hand and validated the years of cooking and studying that have brought me to this point, I realized that there isn’t a thing in the world I would give up my education for. Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking; why is she doing this? She’s supposed to be done, right? I think there is a difference between being done and feeling done, and to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t actually feel done until I managed to help clarify some of the stereotypes that surround those who choose to enter the BPS program at the CIA.

I’ve heard them all. “People who can’t cook go for their bachelor’s degree.” “It’s only if you want to go into management,” “I can learn everything from BPS in the industry,” and my favorite, “What more will you gain from having a bachelor’s degree?”

Before I started at the CIA, I had people telling me I didn’t need to go to culinary school at all, and I ignored them. Then, I had people telling me the CIA wasn’t that good, and that I could learn just as much at another school and save some money, and guess what? I ignored them again. Then, as AOS came to a close, I had people telling me BPS was a waste of time, and guess what? I ignored them too.

About half way through my 9th (and final) semester, I had a realization. We all need a reason to do the things we do, to make the decisions we make. We want to feel right about our choices, and feel like we are making the right decisions. I tried to understand the criticisms I have dealt with, tried to put myself in the mindset of those who thought negatively about any stage of my educational decision. I came up with one odd thought. I still can’t manage to wrap my brain around it, but it seemed that at any stage, getting an education was a negative thing. Like, those who were less educated where trying to validate their superiority through their lack of time spent in a formal school setting. It still baffles me to this day.

Throughout the foodservice industry, we all seem to believe that in order to be a successful chef, real world experience is a must-have. I’m not disagreeing with this in the slightest (I actually believe in it wholeheartedly), but what alarms me is the fact that it seems that most think that those who choose to spend more time investing in themselves in the form of education are lacking something by not jumping right into the trenches on the line; like getting experience is one giant race that everyone feels rushed to get started in.

I understand this anxiety. We all need to finish AOS and get out there and show ‘em what we’ve got. I really do understand this feeling. BPS? Nah, I just want to cook. All of that bookwork is useless. “Who needs it?” one may say.

Something I came to understand through a lot of personal analysis is what exactly my motivation was for earning a BPS degree from the CIA. This is an extremely loaded question, believe it or not. There really isn’t one word, or even a one sentence response that could come up with all of the reasons, but I will do my best to give you one: I earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Professional Studies because I believe in myself. Is there any more reason I need?

In trying to keep this frank, I’ll make a list of some of the things you can expect to get from a BPS from The Culinary Institute of America:
1. You will learn how to ask the question “why,” and you should use that question a lot.
2. You will be challenged.
3. You will learn how to think, rather than just do.
4. You will take classes that not only help you understand your place in the world (this is why you need history class, people!), but also, your place in the lives of others.
5. You will learn to embrace the traits you have and use them to your advantage.
6. You will (and should) accept that nothing will be handed to you.
7. You will learn to understand and embrace all of your weaknesses in the hopes of working to improve them.
8. You will learn to understand the value of education and knowledge in your life as a part of what makes you a more well-rounded human being and contributor to our industry.
9. You will take away the skills to be able to bring a positive influence to any setting that you may find yourself in.
10. You will learn the habits that will forever make you a lifelong learner.

Now, as you may have noticed, there is nothing mentioned about class work, learning how to make any type of beverage you want, balancing the books, and all of that jazz. These things are a given, but what is important to remember about an education is that sometimes, it isn’t what physical, traceable facts you get out of it. Someone can look at your transcripts and see that you took a course on brewing and another on accounting, but these aren’t the things that make the BPS degree great.

For those who worry about the time or the money that is wrapped up in earning a BPS from the CIA, a quote I learned from Leadership and Ethics (Dr. J, you’re amazing!), applies greatly to this principle. It is from Earl Nightingale, an American motivational speaker and author. He said, “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” I love this quote! I think I can speak for a vast majority of the students at the CIA in saying that the reason we chose this industry was not for the money; it was for a love of food, beverage, and hospitality. I can say that as I prepare to enter a kitchen (yes, as a line cook), at Restaurant August, I am not thinking about money. Yes, it’s important, it makes the world go round and so on and so forth. But that doesn’t mean that it has to define your life. If there is one thing I can say about having a successful career, it’s that passion and full belief in yourself are two things that are needed throughout the entire process and if you set out with honest intentions rooted in passion and a belief in the positive contribution you can make, money will find its way to you.

And, just to make sure you don’t think I am saying this because someone else was paying for my degree, I wish. I did it myself, and I am so much prouder of what I accomplished knowing my hard work and dedication are what got me to the finish line. To anyone who thinks they can’t afford the degree; if you want it, it can be done. It may be a process, but a little bit of the “never say die” attitude goes a long way. When life hands you lemons, make some killer limoncello out of them.

For those how think that they can’t handle the homework, and that “If I’m going to be a chef, why does it matter if I can write a paper? Doesn’t only what I do in the kitchen matter?” This is flawed thinking. The problem with limiting your education and defining what degree you have based on the purpose of what job you want is that it will come to define the rest of your life. An education is not a “means to an end.” It is an investment in yourself, not simply the job you want. And in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with being an educated cook; it simply shows that you have taken the time to let the braise finish cooking in the oven. It means that you have not cut your formal learning process short. It means that you won’t have to live with tough braised short ribs for the rest of your career, simply because you decided only cooking them half way as “enough to give me what I want in a job.”

So, here are my last morsels of advice to you, the reader. A list of things I personally got from my education:
1. Do what terrifies you. You learn the best when you’re uncomfortable and in the weeds.
2. Do that in which you know you are not good at.
3. Focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths. IT keeps you humble and reminds you of that which you do not know. It’s how you stay a lifelong learner.
4. Stay hungry.
5. Don’t get comfortable too early in your career. Focus on discovering and defining what it is you think good food should be, and hold on to it.
6. Don’t be angry of judgmental. They’re wasted emotions and get you nowhere.
7. Be kind. The world needs more of it.
8. Say yes.
9. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and treat them how you would want to be treated.
10. And finally, do what you believe to be right, and don’t ever sell yourself short.

To every chef and professor who has helped me learn these things (you know who you are), I want to say a heartfelt thank you.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Guess Where? Round 3

by student blogger Kristin

I decided to give you all a little bit more time to think about that second picture and still no guesses! Either I’m really sneaky or maybe the majority of you reading have never had the pleasure to visit campus. If this is the case, I hope you are enjoying this somewhat bizarre tour of the CIA!

This beautiful clock tower is located right between the Conrad Hilton Library and Hudson Hall, the freshman dormitories. The clock stands tall in the cross section of many different pathways leading to and from the library and up to Roth hall. Basically, the beautiful clock tower is in the perfect place for students who need to be mindful of the time, either running to class or starting to study.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I overlooked this clock for years! I did not have the pleasure of living in Hudson Hall so did not pass this clock as much as other freshman would but it definitely taught me a lesson to open my eyes. Now, the square containing this clock is one of my favorite places to sit and study come the warm weather in the spring!
The Clock Tower is pictured here at the Veteran's Day Celebration

Which is a perfect introduction to this week’s picture. Because I have a growing suspicion that most of you have not been able to visit CIA, I want to use these pictures to show you some of the cool things you may not be able to find out online. This week’s picture represents something I found to be extremely interesting about the CIA when I started here and is something you would never think about. This week’s theme is:


When I first started at the CIA, it was the end March and the beginning of a beautiful spring season. As the weather began to get warmer, the campus and all its landscaping truly came alive. I loved walking around and watching the progress of the blooming plants throughout the month. However, as I began to look closer at the plant life on campus, I noticed something different. Every plant that I had been looking at started to bear fruits and vegetables. It turns out that the CIA landscapes with food! I had been told that the CIA is really ALL about food but this was extremely impressive.

So, this beautiful picture of bright and colorful peppers may seem to be straight out of a gardening magazine but it is in fact a bit of landscaping on the CIA campus. Although there are planters all over campus, these peppers are located in a very important spot on campus. If anyone can take a stab at this one, leave it in the comments on the bottom!

Here’s a hint: if you look closely at the picture, a point of reference can barely be seen in the background!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Saving the Planet Experiment- Week #2 Progress

Growing Week from 2/6-2/12
by student blogger Kristin

Hello again! As promised at the end of last week’s progress, the second week of this experiment proved to be very busy for my plants. In fact, there was so much going on this week that I can break down this post for you day by day. This way it’s organized and easy to literally watch my plant grow as you scroll down the page! Without further ado, week #2.

Day 8- February 6th
When I woke up on day 8 of this experiment, I was so excited to see how my little sprouts were fairing. To my great surprise, they were not my little sprouts any more. Overnight, they had progressed from white nubs just peeking over the surface of the soil to half inch tall bright green stalks. I was excited to see that they were progressing so beautifully but knew this would probably be the week for transplanting. I started thinking of a plan but watched their progress.

Day 9- February 7th
Day 9 progressed at the same speed as day 8 with one main difference. As I was examining my now 1 ½ inch tall stalks, I noticed that one of them was turning brown. I immediately freaked out assuming that it was dying. However, it was just the very tip of the shoot so I watered the plants in an attempt to save them. I then started to do some research on the likeliness of discoloration in the blue jade plant. By the time my research told me that this was common, the color in the plant had spread and become a beautiful ruby red.

Day 10- February 8th
On day 10 of growing, my corn had finally started to look like traditional plants! They began to spread their leaves and grow taller. They also gained more green color, meaning they were healthy and getting enough sunlight to mature. With all this activity happening on the surface however, I knew that there must be a lot going on with the roots under the soil. I knew that this would be the last day that the corn could stay in their original planters. It was time to give them a bigger home.

Day 11- February 9th

Transplanting day was a big day for both the corn and for me. I acquired a long rectangular planter from a friend of mine that would be the perfect size for the growing corn stalks. I filled it with a mix of seed starter potting soil and all-purpose potting soil and dug holes to put my growing stalks into. As I took the corn out of their planters, I was surprised by what I saw. The roots, to my surprise, had penetrated all the way to the bottom of its container! Not only that but they had begun to form a kind of webbing around the edges of the soil. It seems that I decided to transplant at the right time, the roots had obviously started to look for new territory. Once the plants were happily in their new home, I watered them and moved on to the seeds sprouting in the paper towels.

To my surprise and excitement, the seeds had grown significantly. They were not only growing but the roots had begun to nest themselves into the paper towels. Heading the opposite direction of the roots was a small but noticeable sprout just beginning to turn a light shade of green. I was so excited! Although it took a little bit more time and experimentation, sprouting the corn seeds in paper towels had worked! These newly growing seeds took their place in the soil next to their traditionally grown brothers and began their journey to break the soil’s surface. I learned a lot this day and was pleasantly surprised at the rewards of having grown my own plants.

Day 12- 14: February 10th- 12th

For the next few days, I monitored the corn to make sure they were taking to their new home. I continued to give them plenty of water and sunlight to ensure they would be happy and healthy. After the first few days, the plants have grown significantly and have continued to spread their leaves. They have grown about 3 inches while in their new planters and are now standing at an impressive 6 inches tall! They continue to mature at a fast pace so I am excited to see its progress in week 3! 

First Day after Transplant
Finale to Week 2

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Saving the Planet Experiment- Week #1 Progress

The Growing Week from 1/31- 2/6

by student blogger Kristin

I hope you all enjoyed the first addition of this new blogging effort I have started! As promised shortly after my first addition, here is the progress my beautiful plant made during week 1. We will officially title this week “From Planting to Sprouting”.

Planting Day 1/30
On Thursday January 30th, our growing experiment was officially underway. The first step of the experiment was to choose a specimen to test, meaning pick which plant you wanted to grow. Professor Murphy was nice enough to provide a variety of seeds for us. These seeds were all from the company Seed Savers Exchange. The Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization founded in 1975 and dedicated to preserving America’s diverse garden and food crop heritage for future generations. More information about this company (including history, seed purchasing and even gardening advice) can be found at
Once our seeds were chosen, we were given small planters filled with organic “Seed Starter” potting soil. Depending on the plant chosen, we were instructed on how many seeds to plant at once. Because the Blue Jade seeds are quite large, one of each seed was planted in each sectional of the planter. I planted two Blue Jade seeds this way and kept two to sprout separately. These two, for the sake of science, were to be sprouted wrapped in damp paper towels in a plastic bag.

The seeds were labeled with a Popsicle stick, transported home, and placed on my desk, ready for the next step.

Being Patient
For the next few days, I watched and waited. According to the seed packet from Seed Savers Exchange and from my own research, the seed would experience germination (initial growth) anywhere from 4 to 21 days after being planted. The only choice I had was to water the dirt once or twice a day and play the waiting game. This step is always the hardest with any type of gardening. It is difficult to stare at a pile of dirt and trust that nature is taking its course. It is so easy to come up with a million different scenarios as to how things could go wrong, especially when you are trying to grow things in the dead of winter.
  By day six, there was still no progress and I was convinced that something was wrong. Even though I was well within the bookends of my germination dates, I had taken all the right precautions. I was watering the seeds a good amount, kept them as warm as possible and tried not to disturb them too much. I wanted to know what was happening below the surface of my dirt!

I woke on the seventh day of this experiment dreading the fact that I had to write about all of my failures in my seed journal. To my great surprise however, my corn had finally sprouted! Sure it was only about a quarter of an inch tall, but it was definitely alive and growing!

Although the plants were clearly growing, the sprouts were lacking sufficient color, which made me nervous. I quickly opened the blinds and allowed the new sprouts to get some sun while I worked on my seed journal. By the end of the day, my sprouts had gained a healthy and vibrant green color. They had also visibly grown taller. I made sure to keep their dirt moist and keep the plants warm and comfortable. I was excited to charge head first into the next week of progress!

Another Method for Sprouting
So as mentioned before, I wanted to experiment the means of sprouting seeds while wrapped in something moist but without soil. I reserved two seeds to wrap in damp paper towels and sprout in plastic bags. Because my research told me that this method had a quicker sprout time than the traditional sprouting method, I started these seeds three days after my other seeds (2/2/14).

When checking the progress of my seeds on day 7 (2/6/14), I noticed that there was no progress at all on these self-sprouting seeds. After some research, I realized my dire mistake. The Blue Jade seed has no tolerance for an anaerobic environment and the plastic bag I had placed them into was not giving them enough air to grow. I quickly changed this by poking holes in the bag and opening the bag further to get plenty of air-flow. I would be paying close attention to these seeds in the week to come!       

A look to the Future
Because I am writing (and posting) this entry well after the end of week #1, I can already tell you all this: there are definitely more interesting posts to come! The progress I have seen so far on Week #2 has been quite impressive, but you’ll have to look for that post to share in my intrigue! Wish my plants good health, and I will be posting soon to keep you in on my progress!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Guess Where? Round 2

by student blogger Kristin

So the week is up! Have I stumped you with this hospitable picture of a fireplace here on campus? Well this alluring hearth can be found in none other than the Conrad Hilton Library. The Library is not only a popular study area for students on campus but is also home to the second largest collection of cooking books in the country, second only to the library of congress! Needless to say, this library is a great resource for any student at the CIA. And, if you sit by the fire, quite a cozy one too!

The fireplace is located on the main floor of the library within a popular study area. There are couches and a large table so students can cozy up to the fire and get some work done in between their busy class schedule. For those of you who did not know that it existed, it is definitely worth a visit.

For this week’s picture, I decided on something that represents a major theme instilled in the students’ heads when they begin at the CIA:

As anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows, timing is everything. Correct timing can keep customers happy, staff focused, and a restaurant successful. One of the first lessons we are taught as CIA students throughout the associate’s program is to maintain a sense of urgency. Although this may not seem to have anything to do with food, keeping this in mind can be the difference between life and death in the kitchen.

Imagine working in the kitchen on a busy Saturday night. All the tables are full and orders are coming in left and right, burying you with tickets. As if that wasn’t enough, your chef is adding to the pressure reminding you that every minute a customer doesn’t get their food could be a loss in sale. So what do you do? Where do you start? As CIA students, we’re taught to organize and conquer it all in a timely manner. Many students accomplish this by use of timer, clock or personal watch in order to at least keep themselves in check.

This beautiful clock can be found on campus and was something that I overlooked for years. It was not until my sophomore year, right before graduating with my associate degree, that a friend of mine pointed it out to me. Its face is decorated with the prized seal of our school and represents the architectural style that is found throughout campus.

This clock aids many students on their daily walk into the kitchen. But where is it? Here’s a hint, there are actually two clock towers on campus. Credit for giving me the location of either one!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Saving the Planet Experiment- An Introduction

by student blogger Kristin

A few weeks ago marked the beginning of my 9th and FINAL semester here at The Culinary Institute of America. As a sort of means to distract myself from the obvious nervousness and sadness of this time in my life, I have decided to pack my last semester with fun courses. While I knew that courses such as Brewed, a course on beer brewing, and Spirits and Mixology would be entertaining, I have been most pleasantly surprised by my Ecology of Food course. Admittedly, I originally signed up for this course not knowing anything about the subject matter. I did know, however, that if I wanted anyone to teach me, it would be Professor Deirdre Murphy. I had her during my 6th term and she quickly became one of my favorite professors.

As we started this semester in Ecology of Food, Professor Murphy did not fail to disappoint. On our first day of class, she explained to all of us that we were going to be performing somewhat of an experiment this semester. We were all going to be experimenting how well certain foods can grow indoors during the winter. But that was not all, at the end of the semester we were going to have a feast (or more than likely small meal) of whatever we were able to grow over the semester. We were told that we had a few weeks to really think about what it was that we wanted to grow.

Over even the first two weeks of this Ecology course, we reviewed some facts about our changing planet. While I have chosen not to get too far into details, I will tell you it began to open my eyes to some truths even about my own life. The thing that struck home for me the most, however, was that I used to be (at least in my own mind) one with nature. When I was young I was always interested in growing things and even did some gardening with my mother and siblings. Over the years though, schedules got busier, I got “cooler” and having live plants seemed to be the last thing on my mind.

Seeds purchased from Seed Savers Exchange
My quickly growing guilty conscious clouded my mind all the time to the point where I could not actively think of one thing to grow. On the day we were to choose, I was given the challenging Blue Jade Corn, a blue corn variety that reaches only 3 feet tall. Though I was thrilled with the assignment I could still not get this feeling of doubt and almost failure off my mind.

While I was tracking the first week’s progress in my seed journal, it finally hit me. I would share this experience with all of you. Although I cannot save the world all by myself, perhaps my story could inspire some other people to return to home growing. It took me admittedly way too long to realize that perhaps this blog would be the perfect place to do this. Not only will blogging about this experiment perhaps inspire people but it also represents my interest in general science and embodies the perfect example of cool things we do here at the CIA. What could be better?

For this entry, I wanted to give you all a little information about the plant I am growing. In the near future (probably tomorrow) I will be posting week 1’s progress!
The plant that I have been working with is Blue Jade Corn, or by its genus species name, Zea mays. It received its name because of the way it dyes water a “Jade Blue” color when boiled. The species was originally found in South America but is now best known in applications for things such as blue tortilla chips. I honestly have never seen or tried this vegetable fresh. I am excited that the first time I do it will be of my own hands.

Seeds Purchased from Seed Savers Exchange

While it is known to be the best variety of corn to grow inside because of its small size, there are some complications for me while going through this. First of all, this plant is used to full sun, meaning I will have to find a very sunny area during the dead of winter. Secondly, this plant prefers a lot of water and has almost no tolerance for drought. This might not sound like the biggest problem, but being a student with a busy schedule, I will have to make sure that I am on my game about checking the moisture level of my soil when I can. Thirdly, while dealing with my guilt about not being as thrifty as I could be throughout the years, I have challenged myself to try not to buy anything else to complete this project. This is an Ecology course after all. But this does bring up the issue of what to physically grow my corn in.
As of January 30th, 2014 my seeds were planted and this project begun. More on the progress and actual planting to come!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Guess Where? Photo Scavenger Hunt on Campus

by student blogger Kristin

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine showed me a beautiful picture he had just taken. I was impressed by the bright colors, interesting line formations and overall natural beauty of what he had found. Naturally, my first question was “Where did you take this?” He continued to inform me that this beautiful picture had been taken right on my own beloved campus on which I had been residing for three years. Needless to say, this got me thinking.

I love this campus and walk around admiring it every day, but there are obviously still things that even I have missed. Although it is sad to consider that I have been missing these beautiful things for years, I decided to turn this potential negative into a positive and bring the beauty of campus to the people.

There is only one catch. I am not going to tell my readers where on campus these beautiful pictures are from. I will reveal their true identities in good time of course, but for the time being I encourage people to explore campus and open their eyes to things they may not have already seen. I will be posting a different picture every week, each one representing something that is important to the CIA. I had fun exploring my campus and rediscovering what makes the CIA so special so I hope you enjoy the read!

Without further ado, here we go! Today’s theme is:

As the first addition for this kind of scavenger hunt around campus, I wanted to choose a picture that represented a cornerstone principle for the CIA: Hospitality. The CIA was opened on May 22, 1946 by two women that truly understood the meaning of this word. Frances Roth and Katharine Angell created a school that opened its doors and its arms to war veterans returning from World War II. This instantly made the CIA the first of its kind, a school created solely for the purpose of a culinary education. (If you're a history-buff, check Our Story on the CIA's website.)

Often times when we think of the word hospitality, we think back to that feeling we get when we are welcomed home during the holiday season. The front door is opened and the smell of a homemade meal comes wafting into your face. After many embraces, a family member takes your coat and invites you to warm up by the roaring fire where hot cocoa and long conversations await you. This iconic vision of a hearth is what inspired this photo. Though the fire is not on during the summer months, students at the Hyde Park campus are invited to cozy up to this fire during the long dark days of winter.

So the question is, where is it? If you know the answer, feel free to comment on this post. If I have already stumped you, next week’s post will reveal the answer!