If I have learned anything from traveling, it's to never underestimate the differences and power of food in cultures. During the weekends at Mercy, the youth eat in program instead of the cafeteria. Most of my guys cook for themselves (or at least make PB & Js), but since they were all coming back from pass for the holiday my coworker and I decided to cook. This meant an assortment of deep fried foods, oven baked turkey tetrazzini, and tomato soup. Then on Tuesday, there was an event in the kitchen so pizza was delivered to each program, where the guys plus a few staff polished off four giant pizzas from Marcello's. (Remember, these guys are in high school...they'll eat a lot of pretty much anything.)
Cooking in our apartment amounts to similar feasts of random food items--bowls of cereal followed by leftover turkey burgers and washed down with cheese or a clementine or a handful of almonds--except on Community Night. Each Wednesday, we can expect a full-fledged meal cooked by two of our roommates and featuring their favorite recipes and family classics. A week ago Amanda and Britney made chicken and rice with beans and corn on tortillas, and last night Kate and Becca treated us to marinaded drumsticks, asparagus, and scalloped corn (similar to cornbread).
My turn to cook isn't until October, but I'm already paging through my recipes in search of something awesome. Ideas?