December 5, 2006

College Dining Halls “beef up” their menus

Home recipes are on the menu in many campus dining halls, that’s according to an article my fellow co-worker Steve Mays passed on to me yesterday that CNN had published.

I found the article very funny. Imagine…college students want to eat home cooked meals because those type of meals (made with love from mom and dad ) are comfort foods.

Apparently, colleges across the nation are trying to incorporate more home cooked meals at dining halls because it’s been shown to aid in homesickness.

Students and parents are being asked to share their own family’s home cooked recipes to colleges and universities and then the recipes are placed in dining halls where students vote on their favorite.

I think this is a great idea and it’s about time. I remember eating those horrid college dining hall dinners. It just never tasted like my mother’s did. All I ever wanted was to be at my parent’s dinner table indulging in mom’s perfect roast beef, creamed corn, mashed potatoes and gravy and sweet rolls. YU---UM.

I did however find this part of the article a little strange (Side note: I am one of these so-called Millennials):

Some experts say it is just the kind of idea that would appeal to college-age "Millennials," members of the generation born after 1981.

William Strauss, co-author with Neil Howe of "Millennials Rising" and "Millennials Go to College," said those young adults are more connected with their parents than previous generations.

I do not share that same opinion. My parent’s were both very close to their parent’s. In fact, I believe that today these Millennials are less connected with their families. I can say this because I am of this generation and I know many of my friends that very seldom see the folks or have any type of emotional connection with their families. It’s disheartening to say that, but that is what I have seen from my college days to present day.

I do think that people in my generation realize what they missed out on from the separation of their family, but not until they mature quite a bit. Sometimes our families are taken for granted.
A family’s bond is the strongest of all. Yes, we get upset with our family members, even embarrassed sometimes, but no matter what they are the ones that know us like no other. They will always love and care for us, through all the bad, and they will help us celebrate and rejoice in the good.

Be thankful this holiday for your family. Give thanks to have loved ones and love those that love you.

Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours…

Cheesecake with Praline Sauce
by Paula Deen
Makes 12 servings

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups sour cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.For crust, stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Pat this mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Make the filling:
In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. Pour filling into crust and bake 1 hour. Remove cake from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make topping: in a bowl, mix sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Spread this mixture over warm cake and return to oven for 5 minutes. Let cake cool to room temperature in the pan, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.At serving time, use a table knife to loosen cake from the pan. Remove the sides of the pan and place cake on a platter, leaving it on pan bottom.Serve cheesecake, passing Praline Sauce in bowl with a small ladle. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Praline Sauce:
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small heavy saucepan, stir together brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in corn syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in nuts and vanilla. Cool slightly.

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