Eric Mistry ’14 loves to experiment in the kitchen, even when the kitchen is actually Grinnell's dining hall.
Taking full advantage of the ingredients available, from the spice rack and salad bar to the daily entrees, he knows how to keep things fresh. Here he explains what led him to create The Mistry Cookbook:
Over the course of my four years at Grinnell, I ate a ton of meals at the Dining Hall. With that many meals, even with the spectacular selection and quality offered, it can be easy to get bored or fall into a rut of having the same thing every day. Getting bored with my food was not on my menu.
Every meal, I tried to make a new dish. Some experiments went well, others less so. The successful dishes made it into my bi-weekly Scarlet & Black column, “Better Know a Dining Hall,” about different dishes and other creations to make in the Dining Hall. My senior year, I decided to turn my various recipes and techniques for Dining Hall cooking into something less ephemeral than a newspaper column. I applied for and obtained funding from the Student Publications and Radio Committee to create and publish my very own cookbook.
Throughout the year, I collected, retested, and honed the recipes for publishing. My goal was to give people a starting point with broadly adaptable base recipes. I wanted to share my experiences and experiments to help everyone eat healthfully and deliciously. The Dining Hall is a superb palette for creating culinary works of art. All it takes is a little creativity and a love of tasty food.
Sample Recipes from The Mistry Cookbook
Tasty Taco Salad
Rather than a prelude or side to a meal, this salad can easily hold its own as a main course. Days that tacos or burritos are served may give you salsa and guacamole to add to the salad.
- Lettuce of your choice
- Black beans
- Bell peppers
- Bacon bits (optional)
- Chicken or other meat (optional)
- Croutons (optional)
- Spicy smoky ranch dressing (Ranch + BBQ/A1 + Hot Sauce)
Load up a plate with all the ingredients as you would like. Mix up the spicy smoky ranch dressing in a condiment cup and drizzle over the salad. Dig in!
Hummus Yummus & Chickpea Chow
I was inspired to create this dish by the restaurant chain Hummus Bros. in London. It can be enjoyed with bread, a pita, or vegetables such as carrots and celery.
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
Start by grabbing two bowls. Fill one halfway with hummus and one halfway with chickpeas from the vegan station. Add about a spoonful of olive oil to each bowl and stir well.
Next, add enough of the following spices to coat the top of the hummus and chickpeas: oregano, black pepper, paprika, and cumin. Add a very small pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg to the dishes to expand the flavors of the other spices. Mix in the spices thoroughly.
Microwave each bowl for about 45 seconds and stir one more time. Toss the chickpeas on the hummus and enjoy!
Mistry shares more recipes at The Mistry Cookbook.