letter from the editor Whether it be sharing stories about your day at the family dinner table, catching up with a friend you haven’t seen for two whole hours over lunch at John Jay, or arguing politics with the uncle you see only once a year at Thanksgiving dinner, meal times have always been prime time for conversation. But food is a conversation starter in more ways than one. Besides being a pleasing and re-energizing backdrop to engrossing discussions, food is a topic on which everyone can contribute a word or two. We can break down what exactly makes pie the most perfect dessert ever (I wholeheartedly agree with writer Omar Halawa’s obsession with pie, see page 31 for his review of Williamsburg’s Pies ‘n’ Thighs, though admittedly I’m more about the fillings), but we can also use the topic of food--simultaneously a display of complex scientific processes, artistic expression, and rich cultural history--to discuss our interests in a way that everyone can relate to. Applications of abstract concepts to something as appealing and comforting as food makes learning about unfamiliar and maybe even intimidating subjects seem a lot more approachable. To a third grader, learning division suddenly becomes more interesting once dividing pizzas amongst friends is involved; I know that the amount of readings I completed for a Global Core class saw a sharp uptick once chewy noodles and fancy French cuisine entered the conversation. There’s nowhere better than Columbia to take advantage of food’s ability as a form of science, art, and culture to bring people of diverse interests together. The hope of this year’s issues, starting with Food as Science, is to encourage our staff to talk to their professors, engage with students they might not normally interact with, reach out to alumni working in industries of interest, and explore New York City--in other words, to put Columbia’s innumerable resources to good use--and share their interests in a delicious way. Flip through these pages and browse through our blog at culinarianmagazine. com, and you’ll find Carolyn Kang’s illuminating piece explaining why eggs become rubbery when they’re overcooked, Lilli Schussler’s investigation into how a standardized unit of measure completely changed the way we eat and look at our bodies, and Jenny Xu’s interview with Professor John Glendinning uncovering how processed food companies use sensory physiology to get you hooked on Flaming Hot Cheetos, among other great articles examining the intersections between food and science. As always, the issue also contains delicious recipes and restaurants to try, as well as positively mouthwatering photography and art. Happy reading!
Meena Lee Editor-in-Chief