Channeling Ina: A semester in review

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to paint for you the picture of where we have been and where we are going, so that your education does not pass by you like a warm summer’s day. And by education, I mean all of the extensive (i.e. potentially interesting but mostly superfluous) information about food, cooking and the Boston culinary scene that I have given you over the course of the semester. (Aside: I took that first sentence from my high school physics teacher, Mr. Dunbar, and I have found it at times to be a great transition sentence. Professor Chris Gregg has also been known to use a similar sentiment in his final lectures. Try it out sometime and see for yourself.)

After writing “Channeling Ina” for the past semester, there are a few things that I hope have stayed with you. I hope that you have the knowledge to put on a fancy appetizer spread in Carm or Dewick. I hope that you now understand that as a college student, you should really know how to bake chocolate chip cookies and throw together a platter of nachos. If you still do not know how to use your microwave to make oatmeal, go back and read my column from Feb. 17. I hope that you know how to improvise sauces and fancy salads in the dining halls and will do so confidently, even when faced with the perils of open block.

We have been through bakeries and cookbooks, podcasts and Instagrams. I have forced you to think about chemistry in the context of food, and if you know me, chances are I have made you learn the recipe for Chez Carmichael’s Thai peanut sauce. It has been quite the gastronomic spring.

Most importantly, however, I hope that where “we are going” is a destination of culinary exploration and pleasure. Appreciating good food should never be an exclusionary activity. If your idea of a great meal is cold leftover pizza while someone else’s favorite meal is a fancy 11-course meal — guess what? Neither experience is more important than the other one.

The reason why food is so complex and interesting for so many people is because there are so many types of food and food experiences that make all kinds of people happy. My wish for all of you is that you find that type of food that makes you jump for joy. Search for it in dining halls, farmers’ markets, grocery store aisles or even social media. Maybe it will be Sour Patch Kids or maybe it might be sous-vide beef tenderloin. And once you find your culinary nirvana, share it with everyone. Heck, become that cuisine or recipe’s food evangelist. Share your food passion with the world, and let’s strive to make this world a tastier place.