Phelps phood inprovisations: It gets better

Most people would be incredibly delighted to hear that they had access to an entire endless buffet of food for every meal. That dream is a reality for Hope students with meal plans; we have access to Phelps Hall every day of the week for every meal of the day. True to our nature, unfortunately, we grow tired of this glorious prospect very quickly. We take for granted the copious amount of wellmade food at our disposal every day, becoming increasingly aggravated with repeated meals that are delicious, but still not the same as a home-cooked meal. However, there is a remedy for this gloomy outlook on Phelps food. If we take a moment to embrace aspects of the dining hall we may have forgotten, or expand our horizons on what can be combined, we have the ability to take Phelps food to a whole new level—a level impossible to grow tired of.

The first creation is a classic among Hope students: the ice cream sandwich. This is best done on Sundae Sundays at Phelps, when we are treated with access to hard-serve ice cream of various flavors.

The method goes as such: first, find your favorite kind of cookie in the baked goods case. We almost always have access to quite the variety: oatmeal raisin, butterscotch, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle or peanut butter. Choose two cookies, and then find an ice cream flavor available that week to nicely compliment your choice. Sandwich a scoop or two in between the cookies and enjoy your masterpiece.

Using inspiration and feedback from some of my peers, this second creation has received mixed reviews. Dubbed the “cookie special,” this combo can be made without leaving the breakfast nook of the dining hall. Snag a sugar or chocolate chip cookie from the baked goods case, and then head over to the waffle toppings. Add a dollop of whipped cream onto the cookie, leaving a divot in the center for the final touch: a small scoop of strawberry waffle topping in the center.

This is an interesting flavor and texture combo, but found by some to be simply irresistible. Most of these inventions err closer to the sweet side of a meal, but there is ample opportunity for healthy concoctions as well. One suggestion for a healthy, original creation is this: never underestimate the power of a salad bar. Phelps provides a large variety of fresh vegetables every day, along with a wide array of salad dressing options.

Creative combos of roasted or fresh vegetables, meats and cheeses can each have such a unique taste—it’s hard to get tired of those when there’s so much room for variation.

There are two specific tools available in Phelps with endless potential that are almost always overlooked. First, the waffle maker. Fresh waffles have so many different possibilities— this first creation is best when shared between multiple people. Called the double decker waffle, it lives up to its name and is relatively self explanatory.

There are different topping options available next to the waffle iron, meaning you get to add some of your own flavor and preference to the inside layer of your waffle masterpiece. The second use of fresh waffles is slightly more revolutionary, and is a feat of college student ingenuity: the panini waffle. The panini is Phelps’ second overlooked tool, and its powers combined with the waffle iron create the ultimate work of art. Here’s how it’s done: first, use the iron to create the perfect golden and crispy waffle. Then, use your choice of toppings to embellish one half of the waffle.

Once you have a sufficient amount of toppings, remove the other half of the waffle and place it over the toppings. Then comes the defining moment: panini your waffle sandwich to create a toasty, layered breakfast (or dessert) gem for your own benefit. Enjoy your curious concoction!

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