July 21, 2024

Challenge to Apartment Dwellers – Learn to Cook

Featured dish. Courtesy of Zachary Daly.

By Zachary Daly ’18
Food Columnist

Applications for on-campus apartments have come to a close and many underclassmen are eager to make the transition out of communal bathrooms and forced triples. Anticipation will be running high over the next few weeks as housing approvals come raining in from Student Life.

To honor this rite of passage, I’m dedicating this column to the mostly-wonderful, but sometimes not-so-wonderful food that I have consumed within the walls of Gordon College’s residence halls. 

It all began right before moving in as a freshman, when I knowingly bought a mini-fridge that was slightly larger than the accepted limit.

Gordon.edu asserts that a mini-fridge is not to exceed 3.6 cubic feet.

Stunned, I scoffed at this limitation and insisted that my mini-fridge reflect my inevitable future GPA, therefore the mini-fridge that I ordered off Amazon clocked in at a hefty 4.0 cubic feet.

At the time I was convinced I needed the extra .4 cubic feet, because I would be making and storing all types of culinary delicacies. Unfortunately, I was naïve and the optimism I had for both my GPA and my culinary creations fell short.

For the next two years, the food I enjoyed within residence halls was mostly limited to Nyhop, a pop-up pancake brunch for Nyland residents that was put on by the RAs and RD (Jacob Brooks was the RD who made it all happen and would pour his heart and soul into those mornings).

The memories I associate with Nyhop are grand, and I will never forget seeing the 1st floor lounge raging with laughter, love, maple syrup, and a little bit of confectioners sugar. Nyhop was fantastic, but besides that I mostly just ate what was prepared in the dining halls.

Cue junior year, three of my best friends and I secured a ~700 square foot, two bedroom, and one bathroom apartment in Bromley: apartment 105 became my new home and place of residence for a year.

In that hallowed, windowless two bedroom apartment, my cooking career began to take off.

The possibilities were endless. I would embody the greats that came before me: Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and maybe even Rachel Ray.

But all legends start somewhere.

I first did a few training laps. You have to ski the bunny slope before you hit the black diamonds.

August, September, and October passed and I was becoming increasingly comfortable with precooked and seasoned chicken that needed only a simple microwave.

Eventually I moved on to perfecting the breakfast game. Eggs, bacon, toast, feta cheese, pepper and pink Himalayan salt became a part of my tool box. Come 10:00 am on a Saturday and I was the envy of all who could see my chance to win snapchat stories.

While I grew a lot, I was no Dilanjan Timothy Anketell.My apartment-mate and fellow scientist quickly flew past my skill levels and began churning out some of the best pieces of steak and chicken that I have ever tasted.

In the kitchen Dilanjan goes by the name Ankie. His style can be described as a fusion of Sri Lankan and American cuisine. He uses Sri Lankan spices to adorn American sized servings of protein.

In short, Ankie has built a steak and chicken empire laced with curry, sage powder, paprika, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. The man is an absolute artist and produces absolute gold in the form of lean protein on the regular.

When asked what advice he would give to the future chefs of America, Ankie simply and powerfully stated, “Live your best life.”

He was also willing to publish his first recipe. Below he outlines a recipe for you to try in that new apartment:

–          First, buy some chicken drumsticks/thighs from market basket.

–          Put however many pieces you want in a pot, fill with water so everything is immersed and boil for 10 minutes (chicken with bones don’t cook super well inside when grilled)

–          start with maximum heat and when it starts to boil, bring the heat down to medium and put a timer for 10 minutes

–          Then drain the water and transfer chicken onto a grilling pan

–          Cover about 70% of each piece with paprika, 30% with ground cumin, sprinkle with some ground sage, ginger and garlic salt and then add soy sauce, enough to mix up all the spices into a pasty mix

–          Then grill for about 6 minutes on medium heat, keeping turning it and mixing it around with a spatula to prevent it from burning and sticking to the pan.

–          Then enjoy and share with a friend

I highly recommend this recipe. The first time Ankie invited me into the circle of trust and gave me a piece I was over the moon. Never had I tasted so many flavors in one bite.

The chicken was soft and tender, literally soaked in flavor. The stand-out feature was the silky smoothness that encompased entire meal. This chicken was definitely not dry. Instead it was bursting at the seams.

This was something more than food, this was art.        

I wrote this particular column to inspire the next generation of Gordon chefs and maybe even the next Gordon Ramsey. For those moving into apartments next year, I encourage you to not let your stove sit idle. Go out on a limb and learn a new skill.

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