Three Reasons To Jump On The Avocado Train

They’re tacky, I know—the butt of endless food jokes even. Finding their company among kale, Greek yogurt and salmon, they’re like the cool aunt in the family of trendy health foods. And image aside—in fact almost as an act of defiance against that image—they’re always either under- or overripe. The grace period of actual ripeness is limited and often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Yet despite everything, the avocado still reins supreme. It’s become a household favourite, nestled in next to bananas and kiwis in the family fruit bowl. And students in particular have an inexplicable attraction to its dark green, leather-like exterior. Surely, they have their reasons—these are mine.

The Mother’s Day Breakfast Guide

What every mom needs is breakfast—preferably in bed. The traditional Mother’s Day celebration has become a mainstay for a reason (or three). It can accommodate a range of budgets and skill sets and, above all, it’s restful. Ask anyone to describe their dream Sunday and waking-up before sunrise is never included—but a leisurely breakfast surely is. That said not all mothers are alike. Heck, the “mom” in your life may not even be your biological mother. And, thusly, their breakfast choices are similarly not alike. Here’s my breakdown of moms to breakfasts. Take my advice though, don’t let your mom know which category she falls under. Mother’s Day is a day of celebration, not humiliation.

 

The neurotic mom

neurotic-mom

Of course you love her, but sometimes you wish she wouldn’t text you reminders in the middle of the night. Why does she think it’s appropriate to text you: “Don’t leave your house with wet hair…you’ll catch a cold. Xx” at 2:34 am? With a neurotic mom of my own, I’ve yet to solve that mystery. However, what I am certain of are the requirements of her breakfast of choice: no open flames, sharp knives or scalding water. Instead cook up a pot of homey oatmeal served alongside a selection of her preferred toppings such as the first berries of the summer season or a sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Brew up a batch of her favourite coffee or tea served in her favourite mug alongside a copy of her favourite Sunday papers. If she’s feeling adventurous, pop open a bottle of Prosecco, finished with a splash of freshly-squeezed fruit juice. Just be sure to point the cork away from your little brother’s face.

 

The “cool” mom

cool-mom

If you’ve seen Tina Fey’s Mean Girls—thirteen years on and it’s still gold—you know exactly what kind of mom I’m referring to (i.e. Amy Poehler as Mrs. George). And if you haven’t, thankfully YouTube clips of Poehler in the role abound. The “cool” mom is into everything your into—your music, your sense of fashion, even your love interests. Ultimately, her intentions are good—she just loves you. A lot. For her Mother’s Day breakfast, prepare your favourite early morning meal. Remember it’s hers too. Otherwise stick to the latest in breakfast trends—chances are high she’s following them. Trendworthy breakfasts include poached eggs on multigrain toast with a smear of guac or overnight chia seed puddings with a kale smoothie.

 

The foodie mom

foodie-mom

The foodie mom is the most particular about her breakfast. Food is her life, so celebratory meals are cause for thoughtful choices. Think outside the cereal box. Reserve a table at a buzz-worthy restaurant. Otherwise take the continental approach, featuring items from a respected bakery, butcher or farmers’ market stall. As for beverages make a run to her neighbourhood coffee shop for a cup of the good stuff otherwise a well-made brunch cocktail is welcome. Among a curation of all her favourite food products, sneak in some surprises. She’ll admire your ingenuity.

Get Your Grill On For National BBQ Month

Nothing denotes the end of another school year like barbecue—even if it’s just the smell of burning charcoal drifting up from your neighbour’s backyard. Perhaps you’re still miffed by your stove top, sticking to microwavable ramen noodles for most meals instead. But it’s the summer, you’ve got time to experiment. In my household growing-up, barbecuing was a once a week occurrence at most or the meal of choice for summer holidays and birthdays. So, in this writer’s mind at least, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t take to the grill like an up-and-coming Bobby Flay. Building the perfect beach bod is such a clichéd summer goal—light up your first barbecue instead.

Get your grill on for National BBQ Month

Read up on recipes

We’re dealing with fire here, folks, so a little preparation is worthwhile. While most of us halfheartedly scan recipes moments before we run to a grocery store or dive into the preparation itself, make a trip to your local library and read, actually read, a selection of barbecue cookbooks. From there you’ll familiarize yourself with the dishes best suited to grilling. Check out Joy of Cooking’s entry on the subject (or something equally encyclopedic in style) to start, before moving on to such authors as Bobby Flay (I know, I know) and Steven Raichlen. Likely your trusted sites for recipes also offer features on grilling. The New York Times Cooking guides are my go-to for unfamiliar techniques. Here’s their introduction to grilling.

How Research Says Food Can Affect Your Mood

To think food serves to satisfy hunger alone is simplistic. What you ate for breakfast directly impacts your emotional state, concentration and energy level. The vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins that compose your bagel and cream cheese have the potential to influence your neurotransmitter system, the system by which chemicals in your brain communicate via synapses, and in turn your mood.

how food affects your mood

The internet holds a plethora of sources indicating what foods—or more specifically the elements that compose such foods—can increase your happiness, focus and tranquility. (See Best Health Magazine’s extensive run-down for an example.) However, before whatever you ingest can affect your mood, your body and physical history affects the aforementioned ingested substance. Therefore, remember you can’t adjust your whole outlook on life with a single dose of vitamin C just because some article said so. But why not conduct your own research? Here are three steps to discover (generally) how you are what you eat.

The Best Food Shows To Spend Your Summer With

If you consider Hell’s Kitchen or Masterchef quality food programming, please stop reading this post. Despite being an open-minded individual, I have very strict guidelines for my chosen food shows. Here’s my shortlist of summer binge-worthy food programming according to those guidelines—guidelines that Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef certainly do not meet.

Homecooks are not professionals (or drama queens)

The Great British Bake-Off (PBS)

great british bakeoff

Although the BBC game-changer came to an end last summer—it’s since been dramatically picked up by Channel 4—PBS has only aired up to season three here in North America. The beauty of GBS was its casting. There was no unnecessary insinuated drama among contestants or cooked-up tear-jerker backstories. They openly admitted to practicing the recipes at home and even carried print copies alongside them as they baked. Add the judges’ and hosts’ hilarious, yet human, approaches, food history segments and the now infamous tent and you’ve got yourself a respectable television cooking contest.

Chefs are not (always) celebrities

Chef’s Table (Netflix)

chefs table

Netflix original, Chef’s Table takes food porn to a new level. Mesmerizing direction and music highlight the dishes of the world’s best chefs. Beyond the food, Chef’s Table profiles their featured chefs through interviews with colleagues and food journalists as well as footage of them on the job. The program manages to feature an impressively varied selection of chefs and thusly terrains and working conditions. Each episode is as often a love letter to the area in which each chef cooks as much as the chef themselves.

How To Nail Your Summer Internship

On the clock from nine to five—or sometimes longer—sweating it out in your professional wardrobe and lumbering around under a constant sense of self-doubt: sounds like summer, doesn’t it? For those of us unable to relax from May to September, yet desperate to stay clear of a textbook, we search out summer internships. In my case, I worked it in an advancement office, hospitality and food buying departments and then sick of suits, ended up at a dairy farm. Aside from the additional lines on your resume, the change in schedule, surroundings and company is often invigorating—if not terrifying. Here are my top tips to survive a summer in a limited time position.

 

How To Nail Your Summer Internship

 

Own your naivety

3 Meals To Celebrate Your Post-Exam Freedom

by David Kitai

That final exam, often slated a stupidly long time after all your other work is done, becomes a spectre. It hangs over your year, preventing you from celebrating and cajoling you into the library day in and day out. When that exam ends, when you gleefully hand the booklet to a tired looking TA, it’s a sense of real freedom.

But how do you mark the occasion?

An epic feast, requiring hours of preparation? A lavish night out, racking up a bill to dwarf your student debt? No, for this writer, there is no more perfect, more unsullied, way to celebrate the end of exams than the choice of Parks and Rec’s own Ron Swanson and Lesley Knope: breakfast food.

3 Post-Exam Celebration Meals

Whether you stride out of the exam hall at the middle or the end of the day, breakfast food is the perfect mixture of speed and innate satisfaction. Nothing is more freeing, more indicative of your new wealth of leisure time than luxuriating over breakfast. Furthermore, you want a meal that won’t take more than half an hour to prepare. But each of us are different, we study different things and have different plans for our post-exam reality. Therefore, dear reader, I have for you three breakfast meals that will speak to any post-exam soul in search of celebratory sustenance.

5 Kitchen Gadgets To Gift Yourself After Graduation

by Danielle Del Vicario

Last week, I made hummus. I know, I know. Right now you’re probably rolling your eyes and saying, “Danielle, you make hummus all the time.  And write about hummus all the time. We get it.”

But bear with me.

I made it from scratch, with nothing but a knife, a pot and a potato masher in my student apartment. As I mashed away, my thoughts laced with nostalgia, I remembered my well-stocked kitchen in Durham, England, complete with two food processors, pasta maker, spiralizer and raclette set. What I would give for the days of easy smoothies, perfect zucchini pasta and bubbling French cheese. Much mashing, stirring and (attempted) mincing of garlic with a dull knife later, I had an acceptable—but still pretty lumpy—hummus, packed into the fridge with a disconsolate sigh.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a little elbow grease in the kitchen. I’ve been known to beat egg whites to stiff peaks using just a whisk all in the name of almond riciarrelli. (The perfectly balanced almond cookie, native to Sienna, is worth a quick Google). And while an avocado slicer is not going to make a significant impact on your life, there are kitchen gadgets that will. So as you near the end of exams and possibly even graduation, treat yourself. Please. It will be a life investment with countless hummus-y returns. My five can’t-go-without gadgets are below, but I also salute you on whatever kitchen-related spurges you make.

5 kitchen gadgets to buy yourself after graduation

The 5 Stages Of Finals Season According To Food

When you can’t bring yourself to study anymore—or to even start—procrastinate over food. No one ever encouraged studying on an empty stomach. So while your parents and friends can call you out on extended periods of time on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix—you get my drift—they can’t call you out on preparing a dozen chocolate chip cookies. (Especially if you share your results.) Here are my five stages to eating your way through exams. Consider them five extended courses to keep you afloat during a time of isolation, frustration and despair.

what to eat to get you through exams

Let’s do this

The end of term is a week away. You’ve got this. One? Two? Three more papers? No worries. You’ve already set aside a chunk of tomorrow evening to prepare a study schedule. And, you know what? You’re on such a roll, you’ve even committed to adopting healthy eating habits to suit your healthy study habits. It’s oatmeal and an apple for breakfast, quinoa and roasted vegetable salad for lunch and pan-seared fish for dinner. And no coffee, booze or energy drinks. Heck, you may even snack on an avocado and Greek yogurt.

 

Let’s keep doing this

The term is over. Now you’re in full study mode. Minus your first exam tomorrow morning—you had to forfeit studying for it in order to finish those one, two, three final papers. It’s cool. You’re cool. Everything’s cool. Even your diet’s still cool. Okay, fine, you had a bottle of diet pop with your last portion of quinoa salad. And then a second when you realized your avocado had turned from under- to overripe. It’s not like you’re drinking regular pop, right? It’s all cool.

Let’s keep doing this…sort of

You’re two exams in with three more to go. The oatmeal is already lost behind boxes of microwave popcorn and canned soup. You haven’t bought—let alone seen—a piece of fruit since the end of the term. It was only two weeks ago, but it feels like years. However, you did manage to order a Caesar salad instead of pepperoni pizza—even when your study buddies caved. However, you did purchase your first energy drink the day before. Nobody needs to know though.

I’m done

There’s one more exam left. Too bad you don’t have any more patience left. Time to pre-order every meal. Although you certainly don’t dine at conventional meal times anymore. Breakfast date at three o’clock, anyone? You eat whatever whenever. You snack as much as your confidence waivers. (Which is a lot.) That said, you do hydrate…with coffee, energy drinks and, yes, the occasional glass of wine. Who cares? You’ll make up for it come May.

Exams are done

Freedom! Bring on the end-of-year socials, dinners out and house parties. You deserve it. Order two desserts. Eat leftovers for breakfast. And double fist seasonal summer drinks. When the celebrations conclude, you’ll be more than ready for oatmeal, salad and tea again.

3 Quiet Study Spots That Aren’t The Library

by Madeleine Brown

In September and January tumbleweeds practically blow through the desolate stacks of college and university libraries. Skip forward a few months and library study space is as competitive as the rental market. Even if you manage to scoop up a spare seat as its former occupant runs screaming into the bathroom, chances are the dejected atmosphere will kill what little confidence remains. So I say keep your sanity in check and study elsewhere. Every campus has its own unique nooks and crannies—you can picture them now, huh? Here are three alternative on-campus study spots to get you through exam season.

places to study that aren't the library