Archive for the ‘onFood’ Category

Missing Life in New York (Especially the Pho)

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Displacement, disappointment, dissatisfaction. It’s fair to say that I am not the only one experiencing these feelings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mid-semester of my sophomore year I was sent home to do online learning like many other students this past Spring. The virus took everyone by surprise, but it’s impact on college students is a unique one. For many students, learning at home is not only difficult, but also dismal. No longer on campus, one misses out on the most vital aspects of college – lively discussions with peers, spending time with friends, and the chance to explore the city. Miles from New York, missing my friends from NYU, and struggling to stay on the ball with classwork, I’ve found that this semester cannot be described with words. Instead imagine a very deep, very tired-sounding sigh. 

But I’m trying to change that.

After a particularly busy past week (two novels to read, an outline for a paper due, and starting on a presentation for Spanish class, so on), I decided I’d order Vietnamese this weekend, pho in particular. We are nearing the end of the semester which means papers, projects, and other major assignments are flooding in, all due within days of each other. Food of course being my favorite way of treating myself, I let myself have at it. Having recently moved from home to across the state, I’m not familiar with many restaurants where I am now, but I’ve been craving pho and have been on the search for a reliable pho restaurant. As it turns out, one wouldn’t expect it but the second-best pho I can now claim that I’ve had is from a small eatery in the food court of a nearby mall, Pho Kitchen. Second-best. 

Maybe I’m lying a bit to myself. To be completely objective – the pho was absolutely delicious. I sat in the food court, mask placed to the side and socially distanced (which was a good thing or people probably would have heard me slurping up the noodles and soup), and added a little Hoisin sauce and sriracha to the broth, mixing it in alongside the noodles, beef, onion, and cilantro. I squeezed a lime over it to top it off, stirred a little more, then dug in. The beef was perfectly tender, the broth flavorful and warm, and the noodles not too hard or too soft. All and all, completely satisfying. Why was it second-best then, you may be wondering?

It wasn’t PhoBar. PhoBar, which my friend Leslie introduced me to in our Freshman year, is located very close to Washington Square Park and was conveniently only a little ways away from our residence hall. I had had a cold and at that time it was just slightly more socially acceptable to go out to eat when visibly sick. We sat at a shared table and having only tried pho once before and disliking it, I wasn’t sure what to order or how to feel. 

“Just get the classic beef pho,” Leslie said, and I followed her orders.

Classic Beef Pho from PhoBar in New York City.

It turned out to be the cheapest item on the menu, which made it even better, but truthfully, it couldn’t have possibly gotten better. Even through my congestion and with what little ability I had left to taste, I was floored by the flavors of every part of the soup. Very quickly, just after a few bites and sips of broth, I became a passionate fan of pho. Leslie and I returned to PhoBar frequently after that and it is still one of our favorites.

When I was craving pho last week then, maybe it was more than just the soup I was yearning for. After all, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal I had, so all that was really missing was the fact that I wasn’t at PhoBar with Leslie. I wasn’t in New York.

Pho here will never be as good as pho in New York for that very reason. And on the same lines, online classes will never be as fulfilling as going to class on campus. Life in New York will always feel at least slightly superior to life anywhere else.

One could say that feeling discontent with this semester would be inevitable due to all that is happening, namely the pandemic. But in another attempt to try to grin and bear it, no matter how tiring it may be to keep grinning, I am doing my best to push through online classes and keep up with what is due. However, this is undoubtedly difficult. A few friends of mine themselves are going through rough patches and find themselves unmotivated. If you find yourself in the same position, here are a few helpful tips from U.S. News on dealing with onlines classes: 

  • Form a Schedule – Oftentimes having a solid structure to your day can help with keeping things in line and therefore getting more work done. Try writing out or printing a schedule, hang it up somewhere you will see it, and do your best to adhere to it throughout the day. 
  • Find Your Space – If you have a very busy home, it’s best to find a quiet area in your house to minimize distractions. If this isn’t possible, try going to your local library or somewhere you can get away from whatever may be pulling you away from your work.
  • Eye on the Prize – It may be difficult, I know for a fact that it is very difficult for a few friends of mine, but it is important to have a goal you want to reach and therefore a reason to get yourself to do work. “I’m just trying to get this degree,” is something a friend of mine says all the time, and I think it’s a simple but important mantra for many of us to take up during this time.
  • Stay in Touch – As for missing out on social interaction, use FaceTime or something of the like to keep in touch with friends from college. My friends and I use an app to send video updates to each other and it’s proven to help us a lot. Not only do we get to hear about what’s going on in each other’s lives, but it’s nice to see the faces and hear the voices of the people who I lived with for almost a year, who I care about deeply.

For more information, click the link above. Keep in mind that these things may not come easily or could be difficult to implement into your life. This is perfectly okay. It is more about the effort you put into doing better than how far you may actually get. I myself feel that it’s rare to have an actual productive day, but when I do I let myself savor the moment. It’s these moments that help me get through the semester. When you have that day (and you will), make sure you savor the moment, too.


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Soraya’s Enchiladas

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

It is a Saturday night, and all of my roommates have left. I have placed my computer on top of the water purifier, so through our Zoom call, Soraya can have a full view of my kitchen. This evening, Soraya is guiding me through her version of enchiladas. In my opinion, nothing beats making enchiladas with one of my closest friends–even if we are 2186 miles apart.

Enchiladas is a dish that has been appropriated and reformed by many cultures. The translation of enchilada is to season with chili. The earliest rendition was Aztec, and it was called “chillapizzali” or chili flute. According to records from Spanish conquistadors, chillapizzali were tortillas dipped in spicy chili sauce and filled with beans, meat, squash, or eggs. When the Spaniards conquered Mexico, they appropriated chillipizzali and added new ingredients–mainly cheese, chicken, and spicy sauces. These alterations have made the enchilada what it is today.

These alterations aren’t just national, they also occur at the household level. I ask Soraya about the recipe we are using, and she tells me that these enchiladas were her mother’s creation. Soraya’s father is from Ecuador and doesn’t like spicy food. To make the enchiladas milder, Soraya’s mother adds a can of cream of mushroom soup.  

“You wouldn’t see this recipe in a normal Mexican household at all. They would be kind of pissed actually that we did this to the traditional enchilada.”

Soraya is from El Paso and was my roommate at NYU Florence. When she walked into my freshman dorm she was carrying a Louis Vuitton duffle and was dressed in high-heeled boots and a form-fitting dress. The first time we bonded was at a small Florentine sandwich shop, where I began to get to know her as an observant, intelligent, and passionate person. There are so many memories I want to add for context–partying in Florence and accidentally leaving her at a club (yikes),  getting drinks at Piazza Della Repubblica, watching her (and Hailey) tape crosses around our dorm room, visiting Notre Dame the day before it burned, learning the salsa and bachata, watching movies projected on our ceiling, and becoming regulars at Cafe Panna in New York City. Soraya is a very important person to me. We have shared amazing experiences, and our friendship has shaped the course of my life. 

While discussing the consequences of getting pierced on Accutane, we begin to make the sauce. I shred boiled chicken and put it in a blender with cream cheese, cream of mushroom soup, milk, queso fresco, and salsa verde. The aim is for a creamy-liquid consistency.

Soraya’s enchilada sauce

My enchilada sauce

When the sauce is done, we pour some into the bottom of the casserole pan. Meanwhile, we heat the tortillas up in the microwave, and fill them with sauce. 

“Make it into a mini flauta.” 

“A flute?” 

She nods and laughs. The description of the enchilada as a “flauta” makes me think of the Aztec, and how the origin of enchiladas was the chilipizzali (chili flutes). This makes me realize how food is a culmination of culture and identities. Soraya remarks on this herself in the following: 

“Food is something more than alimentary, it’s our identity. Each recipe, spice, and ingredient that we choose reflects our ethnicity, religion, and social class. Food is something that all humans share, yet it is also something we use to define ourselves.”

When I cooked with other students for this series, they all talked about how cooking keeps them in touch with their identities. Alison told me her lu rou fan is a taste of home, Dorothea loves to bake because of her personality, and Paris uses flavor to satisfy her taste. While these narratives differ slightly, they all use cooking as a way of reflecting who they are. 

Soraya’s understanding of food is similar. She tells me about how her cuisine and heritage intertwine. 

“I feel so Mexican when I crave a tortilla. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I’m like, do you know what would be so good for breakfast? A tortilla! Or I feel really Middle Eastern when all I want is fatayer… I feel super Latin American whenever I see plantains, cause that’s all my grandma would give me, and I’m like ahh delicious!”

Food doesn’t only connect us to our heritage. When I ask Soraya how she feels about cooking, she tells me that for a long time she found it boring. As a child, she enjoyed making cakes, but most of her time was devoted to practicing ballroom dancing and school. It isn’t until recently that she has paid more attention to what she eats, and has taken up some cooking as a result. 

“I am proud to say what I am made of, and we are made of what we eat. I prefer to make it.”

Soraya makes me think that identity is composed of the unchangeable and changeable, and this is clearly reflected by cooking. Heritage is something that determines our cravings, and it isn’t something that we can change about ourselves. However, we still have the power to choose what we make and how we make it.

Filling the enchiladas

For the final touches, we pour the rest of the sauce on top of the flautas and cover them with shredded cheese and queso fresco. Then we spread crema on top and put the pan in the oven. 

When we leave Zoom, I have her send me a picture of her final product.

Soraya’s enchiladas
My enchiladas

While our enchiladas are cooking, I take some time to consider the things I have learned:

1. Heritage. The foods we crave are frequently a reflection of who we are and where we are from.

2. Agency. Cooking for ourselves gives us the power to determine what we are made up of.

3. Technology.  Soraya and I talked for two hours over Zoom, and our final products came out well. Modern technology has the power to keep people connected. 

In the end, I take a bite of the cheesy enchiladas and am delighted, but also a bit concerned: my tortillas have been absorbed by the sauce (later I am told this is normal). Regardless, I am happy that despite the actual distance the virus has created between people, technology has allowed us to remain connected.

Source:

Lee, Alexander. “Enchiladas, a Culinary Monument to Colonialism.” History Today, www.historytoday.com/archive/historians-cookbook/enchiladas-culinary-monument-colonialism.


By: Erin Zubarik

Hello! My name is Erin Zubarik and I am a junior at New York University majoring in Global Liberal Studies and minoring in Chinese and Italian. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to study abroad in Florence and Beijing, where I enhanced my language skills and became acquainted with lovely people. This fall I am primarily holed up in my apartment taking online classes, and playing with my hamster Pork Chop. I am very excited to share my cooking and relationships series this fall on Campus Clipper! 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Fancy Fridays: Making Traditions

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

By the second semester of my Sophomore year it was firmly established that my friends and I needed something to look forward to, and not just big events. To weather the storm of stress caused by regular classes, major assignments, and jobs, we needed a weekly treat; something small; something to hold us over until the following week. My friend Leslie coined the phrase “Fancy Fridays” to describe it. At the center of our newfound tradition? Something mouthwatering. 

It was very simple. Just a good meal, whether cheap or expensive, it didn’t matter, though sometimes we had to reign ourselves in and not splurge too much. At the heart of the tradition though was our need to take time for ourselves, to treat ourselves. For this reason we often excused spending more than we should have (and this probably occurred way more than it should have). “What’s for dinner Friday?” became a question worthy of major debate. What were we craving? How much were we willing to spend? It varied each week, but we always chose a meal that brought the relief we needed. 

Some of our go-to meals: Wings from Atomic Wings, ranging from plain to super-spicy, because our tolerances differed. An Indian food feast from Leslie’s and my favorite Indian restaurant we accidentally discovered the year before. Pepperoni pizza from Joe’s, which was just a few steps from our residence hall. Joe’s was especially important to us. When we had sudden cravings at 1:00 a.m, we could easily slide from the couch, go down the elevator, through the lobby, and be at their doorstep in less than 5 minutes. In retrospect, maybe it was a little too accessible. 

But there is one Fancy Friday meal that we all still talk about to this day. On Valentine’s Day weekend, three-quarters of us single, we decided to go all out and make a reservation at Irvington, a lavish restaurant nearby. Truthfully, this didn’t occur on a Friday, but rather the day after. We postponed for a day and then when Saturday night came, we made it a hell of a time. Those of us who never wore makeup put some on, we all picked out a nice outfit, and when we were finally ready we walked up Union Square and entered – the W Hotel.

Unknown, “Irvington Restaurant – New York, NY”, https://www.opentable.com/r/irvington-new-york . Accessed 17 Nov 2020.

So there was some confusion at first. We stood in the hotel lobby, feeling foolish and whispering to each other before we realized the restaurant was within the hotel. Soon enough we spotted it (it was just to the side, and in our panic we missed it), we gave the name the reservation was under, and we were seated. The meal was fantastic.  The waiter was so nice, we still remember his name. And overall, we got our moment. We were able to let our hair down and enjoy ourselves.

At the end of the day, after some takeout and a movie or fine-dining and a stroll through the city, the only thing that mattered was that we got the relief we so badly needed week to week. It was a breath of fresh air, a true moment of peace to be able to sit and savour something delicious and do nothing more. Our Fancy Fridays were truly our saving grace in a sea of school stress.

Even if it is not centered on a meal, it’s important to form traditions during college for the same reason – it will give you something to look forward to and bring you a moment of relaxation. So what are some ways you can form traditions, whether it’s with your friends or just for yourself?

  • Find something you enjoy – Relaxation will likely come from doing something you like, whether it’s a serious hobby or something small. For my friends and I, eating something delicious was always an easy way to decompress. Even something as simple as watching a movie or show can make for a simple but effective tradition. 
  • Put in the effort – The goal of these traditions is to find some inner peace, if only an ounce. If you have to pull yourself away from readings and papers, do so. Especially if you feel you are already running low on energy. The only way to relax is to set aside time to do so. This could apply to purposefully searching for something you enjoy as well. It may feel like a bother, but knowing that once you find something to do that will ultimately relax you, it will be worth it.
  • Let it happen – Not just the name of an amazing Tame Impala song. Yes, this pretty much completely goes against my second point, but it’s still relevant! Sometimes traditions come about by themselves. Notice what’s going on in your life that you enjoy, or things you are doing that you’d like to keep up. Go with it and see if this works for you.

Lastly, if you are looking to make food a part of your new tradition, Campus Clipper has some amazing coupons to help you out! Here is one for Amorino Gelato:

https://www.campusclipper.com/new/popup1.php?CUP_COD=3876


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Paris’s Crab Cakes and Tartar Sauce

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

It is a fall evening and the sun has set. Outside our window, New York City’s skyline is lit up with a wide range of colors: yellows, reds, blues. Rhianna’s slow sultry voice hums through my speaker, and Paris and I begin to make crab cakes and tartar sauce. 

Crab was once thought to be a shellfish that was too difficult to eat. However, blue crab was plentiful in the Chesapeake Bay, and people from Maryland began to utilize the resource by mixing crab meat with spices, bread crumbs, and crackers. Crosby Caige came up with the name “crab cakes” in 1930. The recipe made its way into the New York World Fair Cook Book in 1939 and was called the “Baltimore Crab Cakes,”(History).

To accompany our cakes, we decided to make tartar sauce. While I scavenge in the fridge, Paris reads off ingredients. 

“We need mayo, mustard, pickle juice…” She reads off a recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen. 

Paris is from Ocean City and is a sophomore at NYU Tisch. The first time we spoke we talked about spirituality, taxidermy, and her podcast That’s What She Said. Frequently caught up in her thoughts, Paris is very passionate and open-minded. She also has a great sense of music (her Spotify has a playlist for every mood). A fun side note is her full name is Paris Monet Hitchens, which suggests she is destined for France at one time or another. 

Despite the seemingly perfect evening, there is an exhaustion that has consumed our apartment. It is the day after election day, and everyone has been checking results every hour. We are all eager for a distraction from politics–cooking provides this respite. 

Paris tells me about how her parents are both seafood lovers, and of how crab ball horderves are a must for Christmas Eve dinner. However, the dish is mostly reminiscent of her mother. “It reminds me of coming home from school. Sometimes I would have practices, mostly school plays, and I would come home late. I would walk in and smell food cooking, and my mom would yell out “I’m making crab cakes! What else do you want with it?” They just really remind me of my mom.” 

When I inquire about a family recipe, Paris tells me that her mother once had a fantastic recipe that was passed down by a family friend. Unfortunately, her mother lost the slip of paper and has been trying to recreate it ever since. Currently, she always uses the recipe “Maryland Crab Cakes” for a basic structure. However, there is one personal touch that Paris and her mom always add: Adobo.

Adobo is immensely popular in our apartment. Many seasonings sit by our stovetop, and on most days I hear someone say, “let me just add some adoooobo!” 

If anyone else is in the common space, you can count on a back and forth: 

“Adooobo!”

“Adooobo.”

“Adooobo!”  

While I chop the pickles and rosemary, Paris mixes the mayo, mustard, and spices. She works with confidence and is not afraid to add a lot of flavor. This style of cooking mirrors her mother’s methods. Paris tells me that when her mom cooks she always works using the basic structure of a recipe, and then adds more spices. 

“She knows she can always make it better with more flavor.” 

When I sample the sauce, I taste the fresh rosemary and tang of Worcester sauce. There is a slight sweetness from the brown sugar, and while the flavors are certainly heightened, they are also balanced. It is the best tartar sauce I’ve ever had. 

Paris’s delicious tartar sauce!

Straying from the recipe and cooking for your palette is new to me. I watched both Alison and Dorothea do the same when we cooked together. While I understand the value of cooking for your taste, I find that I love following recipes. In the last few weeks, I experimented with cooking based on my gut. I found that it didn’t bring me as much satisfaction as following a recipe. Lining up ingredients and following recipe instructions makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

Sometimes I also don’t know what flavor I want to bring out. Food can be over salted. However, can there ever be too much parsley, rosemary, or oregano? What makes food taste good? From the balance in flavors in the tartar sauce, I’m thinking that strong flavors that are balanced make for the best food. If strong balanced flavors are the best, I contemplate why recipe engineers always call for 1-2 teaspoons of spice. My guess is 1) this is a convenient estimate and 2) less seasoning will appeal to more people.

After putting the tartar sauce away, I chop crab and scallions while Paris mixes dry ingredients (Paris isn’t a fan of chopping). I watch her mix everything and shape it into a ball. 

Our crab cake mix.
Raw crab cake patties.

While we sit at the table shaping the mixture into patties, I ask Paris why she cooks. 

 “I like cooking because it distracts me–especially now. Also, with different recipes, you can add your own mix to it. You follow it, but there’s nothing like putting your own twist to it and making it to your own taste. I make food for me.”

With the election, covid, and other anxiety-provoking crises, it has been made clear that distractions are needed. Last week Dorothea was talking about how she loves to bake because it’s fun, which reminded me of the importance of enjoying small pleasures. Paris’s call for cooking distractions reminds me once more of the importance of getting carried away by hobbies. 

Paris also tells me about how cooking brings people together. She says that with all of us spending so much time in the apartment, cooking together is a small act that reflects what our lives at home are like, which somehow leads to confessions and revelations of our deepest darkest secrets. 

From our conversations, I walk away with the following thoughts:

1. Balance Flavor. I am going to start adding more herbs and spices to my food–I will also pay attention to how spices complement each other. 

2. Distraction.  Cooking was a great distraction from the election.

3. Connection. Paris talked about how cooking together bonds people. This is an idea I am very passionate about–I am most connected with my family members, and the most sacred time we spend together is over a meal. 

For the final step, I leave Paris to fry the patties while I go to the store to buy a bottle of wine. As soon as I walk outside our building, I feel the election anxiety return. I walk by boarded-up stores and pass outdoor restaurants with televisions playing live election results. 

Frying the crab cakes.

When I return to the apartment, everyone sits down and eats together. Paris’s remarks on cooking and relationships stick with me, and we all spend the rest of the evening relaxing. 

Final product.

Source:
“History of the Maryland Crab Cake.” Boxhill Crabcakes, 27 Apr. 2015, www.boxhillpizzeria.com/boxhill-crab-cakes/history-of-the-maryland-crab-cake/.


By: Erin Zubarik

Hello! My name is Erin Zubarik and I am a junior at New York University majoring in Global Liberal Studies and minoring in Chinese and Italian. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to study abroad in Florence and Beijing, where I enhanced my language skills and became acquainted with lovely people. This fall I am primarily holed up in my apartment taking online classes, and playing with my hamster Pork Chop. I am very excited to share my cooking and relationships series this fall on Campus Clipper! 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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My Saturday Chai

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

Inexplicable was the only word for it. During Fall of 2019 I hit the inevitable rough patch that every college student is doomed to undergo. Maybe this seems like a grim generalization to make, but college can be a stress-inducing atmosphere and oftentimes this leads to students feeling overwhelmed. And college in New York? Anxiety can reach new heights. 

I was even more prone to rough patches on arriving back to New York after three months at home and having to reacquaint myself not just with the city but with the specific kind of anxious feelings both New York and college itself could induce in me. I found myself having to work up more energy just to go to class and get my work done, but none of it was any more challenging than the previous year. The stress of living with a stranger was gone now too, as I was living with friends and we all got along well with each other. So why was I so anxious? 

There were moments in which my stomach would form a knot, my breathing would become shallow, and my heart would start racing. I knew I needed help and I was determined to discover the source of my anxiety. Having determined that classes – though still somewhat stressful –  were not the main cause, I looked to everything else in my life. Okay, maybe my living situation was still causing some anxiety. I loved that I was living with my friends, but I still had to get used to what that was like and didn’t want to step on any toes. More and more I also realized how much I still missed home, too. I was starting to like life in New York more so than the previous year, but it still did not provide the same comfort I could get at home. Even after realizing this though, I still felt there was something missing. These things definitely had an affect on me, but I knew they didn’t make up the whole of my anxious feelings. And yet, I couldn’t place it. It was inexplicable.

I could never pinpoint the remaining factor of my stress and anxiety was but I did everything in my power to work myself out of those feelings that had started to dominate my life. Part of that process involved seeing a therapist. If you have access to mental health resources through your university, it is completely worth it to take advantage of them! Sometimes tackling anxiety is a two-man job, and seeing a professional is always a good option. I also did a lot of exploring the city with my friends during this time which always gave me something to look forward to, but when I was feeling too tense to want to go out with them, I’d try to find a way to relieve stress on my own. 

My go-to was The Bean. The small coffee shop that, up until a few months ago, was on the corner of 12th Street and Broadway. It was not the only of its kind but certainly the closest to my dorm. The idea came to me as I was passing it on my walk back from classes one day. Immediately upon seeing its sign I remembered the iced chai that I loved from there and hadn’t had for months. Starting that weekend I began a tradition of waking up a little earlier on Saturdays and walking down to The Bean with a journal and headphones in my bag. After I ordered my drink I’d snag a table by the window, hit play on Spotify, and open my journal.

Unknown, “The Bean Broadway Nyc”, http://newyorkcliche.com/2018/04/11/the-bean-nyc-coffee-east-village/the-bean-broadway-nyc/. Accessed 10 Nov 2020.

Though I typically wasn’t one to journal frequently, I learned just how much of a relief it could bring me. Besides that, I was taking time for myself. The importance of this has only grown on me since then. When I took the time to journal, to let out some of what had been eating away at me throughout the week, I was able to get a moment of relief even if it only lasted for the day. Going to The Bean also functioned as an outing for me in which I could escape from my dorm (and therefore the homework that awaited me, ready to add on more stress). 

And the iced chai. I got it on each visit there and it was always a delight, a small but undoubtedly helpful way in which I could treat myself. Occasionally accompanied by a doughnut or maybe a muffin but perfectly sufficient by itself, my iced chai became the symbol of my personal time, as mundane a thing as it was. 

But chai and journaling is not for everyone. If you find yourself unsure of where to start with taking time for yourself or unsure of what will relax you, here are some helpful tips:

  • Hobbies – If you’re lucky, you are able to keep alive those hobbies from high school that you used to love so much. This was not the case for me, but anything you find enjoyable is undeniably a treat for yourself! If those hobbies have since died away, revive them. The joy they bring is worth the effort you may need to put in.
  • Sleep – It’s simple, but it’s necessary. The rest that comes from sleep has often made me feel just as restored as the journaling I would do at The Bean. Take the nap that you are reluctant to, go to bed earlier or sleep in a little longer. It will give you enough energy to do the work that needs to get done.
  • Fun – Going out on the weekends – whether it’s to museums, concerts, clubs, or something else – is another easy way to let your hair down. Though this was much easier pre- COVID-19, it still worth it if you can do so safely.
  • Food – Definitely my favorite way to treat myself. Comfort food, fancy restaurants, or something you’ve never tried before – take advantage of moments in which you are able to bring yourself a little more ease, even if it’s just by getting ice cream.

Lastly, I want to provide you with an amazing source for learning how to take time for yourself. Click here for more ideas on this from Lifehack. Whatever you choose, simply make sure it is making you happy and giving you even an ounce of relief. Because sometimes treating yourself can be as simple as drinking tea and journaling.


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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How “college hunger” or food insecurity shows that universities are failing their students

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

The New York Times wrote a piece titled: “Tuition or Dinner?” in 2019, which revealed that nearly 50 percent of university students surveyed suffered from food insecurity in the past 30 days. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active life. Affordability is positioned at the center of every student’s life. I want to start by saying I do understand that being able to go to college is a privilege that unfortunately, due to the astronomical cost it takes to even pursue post-secondary education in the U.S., many do not have. 

Yet, this does not change the fact that college has practically become a requirement in most job markets. So, often enough, many teenagers are put in a position in which they not only have to shoulder debt but now have to factor food in an already stressful and drastic period of change.

There is also the fact that 18-year-old freshmen in their dorm room aren’t the main college demographic: according to a 2014 study done by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, one in every four college student has a child. As students, we are fed a certain narrative, to the point of nearly romanticizing this kind of “down on your luck,” charming-mess attitude when it comes to living. We are constantly told that thrift and affordability are normal parts of our twenties; we joke about the ramen we have stockpiled under our bed, the pizza we pick up in between classes, the “life hacks” we can use to skip out on meals. 

But when we pass off “thrift” as a normal part of student life, we add “hunger” to the culture of stress, anxiety, and depression that distort college education. 

How "college hunger" shows that universities are failing their students
Feeding America estimates that 1 in every 9 Americans were food insecure in 2018, equating to over 37 million Americans, including more than 11 million children. Image from Berea College “Hunger Hurts” Food Drive.

Many schools have created short term solutions. While this list is by no means comprehensive, here are some organizations you can go to, as well as some general resources if you are looking for free or discounted meals. 

  • I used Share Meals during my freshman year to donate my remaining meal swipes. Share Meals is an app that connects university students to free food at events, students with unused meal swipes, and other resources to help mitigate food insecurity.
  • Schools within the city like The New School, George Washington University, and City University of New York work with food pantries to have designated locations for students to get free food.
  • Often, colleges have Facebook Pages connecting students with events for free food. Here is my university’s.
  • Look for coupon booklets at your local university! Campus Clipper circulates in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. 

However, this does not change the fact that these are band-aid solutions for a widespread problem. When we excuse hunger and mental illness as a normal part of college life, we allow the institutions that exacerbate food insecurity not only in their students but in the community, to continue scott-free. 

Why are meal plans so expensive? Why are the attempts at building university-wide meal programs so slow-moving? Why are students the ones who have to start organizations like Share Meals and Swipe Out Hunger to bail out the failings of the college education system to provide for its students? 

Making food insecurity and college “hunger” a “normal” part of college positions the student as the failure, the incompetent, when they go hungry. Food insecurity is a failing of the American college system, and especially given these times, it is important to start implementing long term solutions. 

Campus Clipper helps connect students with discounts near them. For example, Two Boots Pizza is Buy one Get one Free with coupon and student ID.

Two Boots Campus Clipper Coupon Booklet
Click here to download the coupon!

By: Jessica Xing

Jessica is a senior at New York University majoring in English Literature. She has bylines in Vox, EGMNOW, and Electric Literature, and in her free time, she loves watching bad T.V. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Expanding Your Palate: A Delicious Accident

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

If you don’t leave your comfort zone voluntarily, life will drag you kicking and screaming out of it. This was part of the rude awakening I received as I transitioned to living in New York my freshman year. It wasn’t just college life that presented a challenge to me, but the city itself. New York has a unique way of making a person feel not just lonely, but isolated, despite living side by side with millions of other people. You walk with them on your way to class, you eat a foot away from them at the tiny corner restaurant, and you sometimes even find yourself angry that they are in your space. And yet, no matter how close you may be to others, you somehow still feel alone. At least, this is how it may feel at first. 

My second semester at NYU brought on more adventures than expected. With my new friend Leslie beside me, I finally felt less lonely than I had at the beginning of the school year. I could breathe a sigh of relief that now I had someone to do things and go places with. But classes and schoolwork got the better of us, and in about mid-March we found ourselves as unsatisfied as before we had gotten to know each other. As we sat under the fluorescents of the library at 2:00 a.m. one night, I turned away from my half-written paper and said to Leslie, “We don’t do anything. We only have a quarter of the year left and nothing to show for our freshman year.”

She was reluctant to acknowledge it, but ultimately agreed. However, we both knew what the real problem was. Nearly identical in nature, two homebodies out of their element, we were anxious. Overall uneasy, generally nervous, ultimately too timid for New York. And broke. Most of all, broke. 

New York is a city that demands for you to demand something of it and we were used to having to ask nicely. But no longer. We made a decision to go out more, to try to do something fun, even if it was just one thing, every weekend. We would break out of our shells and get to know the city, as we were meant to. We would save the money for those things that were worth it and would find other events that were free to go to. Inevitably, we were drawn to more and more restaurants with mouth-watering images of food on their websites and dazzling settings to dine in. Going out to eat undoubtedly became one of our favorite ways to treat ourselves, and that we did. 

Some Friday night in April we chatted eagerly on our walk up to Panna II, an Indian restaurant Leslie had hyped up to me after reading reviews and seeing pictures of their interior, which looked like an explosion of Christmas lights. She was excited to try Indian food for the first time and I hadn’t had my fill since last summer, so as we approached Panna II we were too distracted to realize what was happening.

“Come in, come in,” a man at the foot of the stairs said. We could see Panna II, just a few steps up from where we were on the sidewalk, winking at us with all its lights. Hungry and keen on stuffing ourselves with chicken tikka masala as fast as possible, we followed the man without a second thought. We followed him down. As we walked down a previously-unnoticed set of stairs into another restaurant, we looked at each other, panicked and too shy to say what was on our minds: “Wait, I’m sorry, I think we’re in the wrong place.”

In a whirlwind we were seated under rows of multicolored chili lights and menus were placed in front of us. When the host left us to browse the menu, we could only stare at each other. 

Royal Bangladesh Indian Restaurant in New York City.

“I don’t think this is it,” I eventually whispered across from Leslie. “Is this maybe their downstairs area?” I had been so set on Panna II that I was hopeful this was the case.

“Maybe?” Leslie whispered back, also clinging to hope. At this point we had to have looked suspicious huddled over the table, whispering to each other and looking around with wide eyes, completely disregarding the menus. 

“No, this isn’t it,” I said, but it was still barely registering in my mind.

“Then where are we?” Leslie asked. She was as frazzled as I was.

I looked down at our menus and found our answer. I read out, “Royal Bangladesh Indian Restaurant.”

We stayed. It would have been rude to leave even though we hadn’t ordered yet, and anyway, we still got our Indian food and twinkling lights. The food truly was some of the best, if not the best, Indian that I’ve ever had. Leslie quickly became a fan of it and ever since, we’ve ordered take-out from Royal Bangladesh countless times. Though things hadn’t gone as planned, we made the most of it and ultimately had a spectacular night, one that we’d laugh about for a long while after.

This night didn’t represent a huge leap in our leaving the comfort zone, but it was undeniably a moment in which we had to learn to go with the flow and enjoy the moment. It was especially difficult for two people who needed to feel in control when exploring the city, but it paid off. I know though that if we could have gotten just a little more comfortable a little more quickly, we would have had way more stories to tell from our freshman year. 

Curious to see how I could have prepared myself to be more “out there” my freshman year, I recently researched some ways to get out of your comfort zone. The ones I found most notable chalked up to forming habits and reshaping your mindset to trying new things. I believe these to be the most important when wanting to explore the city because New York can take a lot out of you otherwise. If you find yourself struggling to want to go out, it is perfectly normal. But I’d suggest doing anything you can to get yourself to walk the city’s streets and uncover what it has to offer. Starting out small, just one restaurant, museum, or happy accident at a time can take you there.

And if you’re craving Indian food after reading this, Campus Clipper has a coupon just for you to use at Mughlai Indian Cuisine. Click on the link below to get either 50% or 15% off a delicious meal! It will be sure to satisfy your cravings.

https://www.campusclipper.com/new/popup1.php?CUP_COD=3601


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Dorothea’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

 It’s a regular Wednesday evening in 2101. In room B, two of my roommates are preoccupied with the video game Among Us, and are screaming accusations into their phones, “Why would you think it was me!? Weren’t you just saying Marcos was looking suss?” 

Meanwhile, Dorothea and I sit at our Ikea table observing the ingredients I bought earlier in the day. We are excited to experiment with the cake flour and Ghirardelli chocolate chips when making our rendition of America’s most iconic sweet: the chocolate chip cookie. 

This dessert was invented in 1938 by Ruth Wakefield at the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. Wakefield originally called them Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies. During World War 2 soldiers from Massachusetts shared the treat, which gave it national and international renown. This resulted in Nestle purchasing the recipe and printing it on the back of every bag of chocolate chips. 

Dorothea is from New Jersey and is studying acting at NYU Tisch. We first met on move-in day, when she bounded into the apartment enthusiastically shouting, “HELLO QUEENS!!”  She then proceeded to embrace everyone. 

As my fellow early bird in the apartment, we spend most mornings chatting while studying and drinking coffee. She is always willing to listen and support people and will do so with great enthusiasm. Dorothea is what Anne Shirley would describe as a kindred spirit.  

“What recipe are we using today?” 

Dorothea pulls out a cute recipe book she bought from Moleskin. The soft leather cover is decorated with baked goods and cooking appliances. Inside the book, she has ingredients and measurements written down for “Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies.” The informality of the book reminds me of my mother’s collection of family recipes. 

I think the benefit of personalizing your recipes is it solidifies your identity. Last week when I made lu rou fan with Alison, and I talked about how cooking gives you the power to recreate home. Only you know what home tastes like, and you have the greatest capability of satisfying your taste buds. Documenting personal recipes allows you to develop this identity as a cook and consumer.  

Dorothea’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


Dorothea’s recipe book

Dorothea starts the process by melting 2½ sticks of butter in the microwave, while I mix ¾ cup brown sugar and 1 cup of white sugar in a big bowl. As we carry on with our tasks, I ask why she started baking. She tells me of her childhood fascination with her sister’s easy-bake oven, and of how when the toy broke her mother told her to start using the real oven. This led to a middle-school obsession with making cupcakes until she became fascinated with the chocolate chip cookie.  

“Chocolate chip cookies were a big craze in the Tasti and food blogger world, and I was really attracted to that. The opportunity to play around and experiment was exciting to me.”

Besides being a fun experiment, Dorothea tells me that chocolate chip cookies are very nostalgic. They remind her of coming home from school and discovering that her mom had made cookies. This was a surprise that was always well received. 

Dorothea mixes in the vanilla, salt, baking powder, and flour. She tells me how she rarely measures ingredients when baking.

“I never follow a recipe totally. I don’t know why…I think it’s my ego! Even if it is the smallest thing, like adding more salt. I usually go off the skeletal structure and then I take the derivative.”

This response reminds me of Alison’s cooking methods, and her advice to trust your gut. However, while Alison’s deviations from the recipes are carefully measured and thought out, Dorothea’s acts with more impulsiveness. The mixture comes out more liquid-like than Toll House’s classic recipe. Dorothea tells me that less flour and more butter makes the cookie softer and chewier, which we both agree make for the most delicious chocolate chip cookie. 

Cookie dough mixture

We let the dough sit in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, which Dorothea tells me gives it a chance to thicken. While waiting we sit in our living room, and I ask her why she likes to bake.  

“Cooking, baking, and theater are when I am happiest. I always think of acting like this–  playing with different acting choices is like playing with different ingredients.”

Cookies on baking sheet

After putting the cookies in the oven, I take time to reflect on the things I have learned: 

  1. Collect. Saving recipes allows you to form an identity as a cook and consumer. 
  2. Experiment. Experimentation gives you a chance to personalize your cooking.  
  3. Fun! This is less of a tip and more of an appreciation point for Dorothea’s passion for baking. 

The apartment is filled with comforting smells of sugar and vanilla. When the cookies come out, they are doughy in the middle and crispy around the edges. We do a taste test, and I decided that the Ghirardelli chocolate chips were worth the extra cash. The chocolate is rich and sweet, with a slight bitterness. 

When the kitchen is cleaned and the cookies are put away, I think about how Dorothea’s passion for baking is similar to my own. Although baking cookies isn’t a seemingly important endeavor, I think the opportunity to play is positive and fulfilling. It reminds me that while I am trying to find my way in the world, it is good to remember small pleasures.

End result

Source:

World Trade Press. “United States: Chocolate Chip Cookies.” AtoZ World Food, 2 November 2020.



By: Erin Zubarik

Hello! My name is Erin Zubarik and I am a junior at New York University majoring in Global Liberal Studies and minoring in Chinese and Italian. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to study abroad in Florence and Beijing, where I enhanced my language skills and became acquainted with lovely people. This fall I am primarily holed up in my apartment taking online classes, and playing with my hamster Pork Chop. I am very excited to share my cooking and relationships series this fall on Campus Clipper! 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Starting College, Roommates, and Italian for Dinner

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Before me is a white plate cradling little pockets of ravioli with a layer of parmesan, like snow dusted on top. The green of the sage just barely peeps through. My mouth waters and I look over to my friend Leslie whose face must mirror my own. Her plate of pasta speckled with pepper and pecorino beams up at her, same as mine does at me. “SO worth the wait,” she says. We dig in. 

Ravioli Burro e Salvia from I Sodi.

Months prior to this, Leslie and I met in our History of the Universe class. I noticed one of the girls I was waiting outside the classroom door with was wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt. I thought to myself, This girl is cool, I’m going to make sure to sit next to her. And thanks to our professor who loved to assign group work, we ended up working together because we were seated next to each other. Only about a month into the semester, I was waiting for the elevator in my residence hall when I bumped into Leslie taking out the trash one day. We both started apologizing profusely for the run-in before we realized who the other person was. “Wait, you live on this floor?” I asked, and she nodded. It turned out she lived just a few doors down from me (and it also turned out that this would be a huge blessing for me during my freshman year).

The more time passed, the more uncomfortable I got with my living situation. As Leslie and I got closer, I would spend more and more time in her dorm studying or just hanging out until I absolutely had to go to sleep, or she or her roommate did. Many times I would show up to class and she’d ask for updates on how it was going over in my dorm. I’d sigh and update her because there was always something to tell.

The issue? My roommate.

Or maybe it was me. Likely, it was both of us. The strangest part of it all was that when we were texting over the summer before the semester started, we got along really well. I actually had very high hopes for the school year and was thrilled that I was roomed with someone who was so friendly and who had all the same preferences I did on the housing application. So when things started to go south, I did my best to smile through the pain. She missed a week of cleaning? It’s okay, I’m not always good about remembering either. She had her boyfriend over and they were being too loud? That’s fine, I can handle it. He’s sleeping over now? It’s okay. I’m fine. He’s here again? Okay. Maybe it’s just a few days in a row. It will stop. Wait, he’s here again

Truthfully, it got worse. The amount of time it would take to tell every incident, to detail what life in the dorm was like, would be immense. There was yelling, a lot of it, then the strained moments in which we tried to compromise, then ultimately silence that was not just awkward, but filled with tension. We were definitely both at fault. I was used to my living situation at home, where I could be left alone in peace and quiet, and she was used to being able to have people over whenever she wanted. There were times we lost our tempers with each other, but we also tried to be civil with each other the following day. Countless discussions about what we could do to make the other feel more comfortable often came to nothing, and we even went to our RA for guidance at one point. At the end of the day, whether we had come to an agreement or not, we were left unhappy.

Since then, I’ve chalked it up to us being victims of circumstance. I am almost certain that if we hadn’t had to live together we would have been friends. We were just highly incompatible when it came to our ways of living. And unfortunately, it got to the point I’d do anything to be out of my dorm. 

“I know what we can do,” Leslie said one day as we lounged on her bed. Her eyes had lit up all of a sudden as we watched a movie on her laptop in the dark. We’d been dying for a break in routine lately and she knew I needed something to take my mind off of my living situation. “I Sodi,” she said excitedly.

I blinked. “What’s that?”

“I Sodi. It’s a super fancy Italian restaurant. You have to make a reservation, like, months in advance to eat there. But after our History of the Universe final, we should go there to celebrate!”

So we made the reservation (two months in advance) and saved the little money our parents sent us to be able to have a fulfilling experience come December. When the day finally came we threw on our nicest looking sweaters and coats and braved the cold wind, walking the streets of New York to finally arrive at the steps of I Sodi. And yes, it was worth it. Of course, it was nice to be out of the dorm, but it was also one of the few times that semester I genuinely enjoyed being in New York. We still felt out of place sitting amongst people who certainly looked like they didn’t have to save money to eat there, but the meal has lived on in our memories as one of the best New York has gifted us thus far since living there. Worries fell away, the food melted in our mouths, and I could forget about what awaited me back at the dorm.

I Sodi in New York City.

But many times when I look back on my freshman year, especially that first semester, I wish I’d done better. What if there was something I could have done to make my situation more tolerable not just for me, but for my roommate?

Here are some steps you can take to try to improve your relationship with your roommate:

  • Take a Breath – Maybe you are like me and you get overwhelmed by what is bothering you and want to fix it immediately. There were times I know I was a little too quick to get on my roommate for something when I should have calmed down first thing. So breathe. Sometimes it’s a case of having to choose your battles. If you think you can handle it, try to do so, especially if there is more than just one issue at hand. 
  • Talk to Them – Can’t take it anymore? Sometimes you have to start that awkward conversation. Make sure you know what you’re going to say first and make sure you have a positive attitude before you talk to your roommate. They will likely hear you out and try to fix the situation if you are nice about it. In other words, don’t be my roommate or me who many times just snapped at each other. 
  • Give Them a Chance – College is overwhelming. It doesn’t take long to realize that. So it is likely your roommate may forget (again? Yes, again! It’s okay, take another breath) that it’s their turn to clean, or that they promised they would take out the trash. Give them at least a week before you bring it up again. It can take a while to implement something into your routine.
  • Talk to Your RA – If you are still having issues, do not be shy to knock at your Residential Assistant’s door. They will more than likely smooth over the situation and will be a neutral voice that you can count on to help you and your roommate reach a true compromise. 
  • Take it Easy – It’s possible more issues will arise, likely a few of the same ones. I made the mistake my freshman year of getting too hung up on these things, of letting them eat away at me to the point I couldn’t enjoy my time in New York. Do your best to shrug these things off. Do things that you enjoy to take your mind off it. You cannot control your roommate, but you can take care of yourself. 

And if all that doesn’t work? Find your Leslie and your I Sodi and plan something amazing that you can look forward to. Spoil yourself. Do it. You need it. 


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Why food is a love language

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Growing up, I understood food as a love language. 

Dr. Gary Chapman describes a “love language” as the way we feel loved and appreciated. I love food — I think putting two things together that taste good to create another thing that tastes even better is the best thing humankind has accomplished besides literature and art. I would jump in front of a train for the guy who delivers my Chinese takeout every Friday Night; I think the guy who works the Halal cart in front of my apartment is my best friend, even though he does not know my name, who I am, or any of my interests outside of the food he makes every day. 

My parents love food. At the supermarket near my house, my mom would wink at me and say “don’t let me buy too many” as she raided the bakery in the dessert aisle. She would bring steaks home for my dad to cook, and he would pour a generous amount of cooking wine in the skillet before he fried them up, seasoning them with an almost careless amount of garlic, sesame oil, and peppers.

My mom loved my grandma’s cooking the most: my grandma would cook all my favorite dishes before I came home from school, and my mom would pick away at them without her looking. My grandma would gently smack her hand away from the food, shaking her head and smiling: “Those aren’t for you.”

My family also used food as a love language. When I was nervous before a big test, my grandma would cook for me so I “had enough energy to think.” Before I left for college, my parents cooked meals that stacked all the way until the end of the dinner table, and we laughed over tofu, fish, and dumplings until I had to board my flight. 

Why food is a love language
Without fail, at the end of every grocery round, my mom would make me an ancient, traditional Chinese dish called “ke le ji,” or “Coca-Cola Chicken,” which, if you guessed is just chicken marinated in Coca-Cola, you’d be correct. It’s delicious.

As college students, we come up with a lot of fun tricks to scrimp around meals. Personally, I am a fan of waking up at 1 pm so I don’t have to make or pay for breakfast. I’ve been with friends who study so hard they forget to eat dinner. I’ve seen my friends skip out on meals for a day or two before a date.

As a country, we have an unhealthy relationship with food. The University of Michigan Health System released a study correlating poverty, income inequality with higher rates of obesity. And while bulimia and anorexia are the most identifiable eating disorders, a survey released by the Eating Disorders Coalition revealed that at least one in every 10 Americans struggles with disordered eating: whether that be dieting, skipping meals, over-restricting certain food groups like protein versus fats and carbohydrates, or using poorly tested dietary supplements to control weight. 

Our conversations surrounding food cannot exist without discussions about affordability, body, beauty, and consumerism, and how our obsession with food as a form of control has obscured one very simple fact: we need food to survive. 

Food is a labor of love: countless times my roommates have made dinner for me without me even asking. When my friend was having a bad day, I made sure to stop by a sandwich shop before going to her apartment so she’d at least have something to eat. 

There is also the fact that I was a complete mess for most of college until I finally understood how to start cooking for myself, to discover it wasn’t this horrible, unthinkable task my brain tricked me into thinking it was. 

Food is a love language because we need it to survive. 


By: Jessica Xing

Jessica is a senior at New York University majoring in English Literature. She has bylines in Vox, EGMNOW, and Electric Literature, and in her free time, she loves watching bad T.V. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

Share