Madeleine Muzzi is a foodie from Twig, Minnesota. She is now studying abroad in Ireland, where she brings her floormates together with hard cider, giant bags of popcorn, and cardamom bread. In the fall she will return to Carleton College to enjoy her third year of creative dining hall eating.
Sarah Trautman: If you were a food, what would you be?
Madeleine Muzzi: I think I’d be a carb. Maybe olive bread.
MM: I really like olive bread. I have olive skin and I convert to energy medium-slowly. I’m really good with tomatoes.
ST: What is your favorite snack food?
MM: Air-popped popcorn with honey and sea salt.
ST: What’s your guilty pleasure food?
MM: I really like fried things, so French fries or onion rings, homemade. I used to set things on fire a lot when I tried to deep fry at home, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I like vinegar on fries.
ST: What does your mom or dad make best?
MM: My dad cures prosciutto, sausages, and capicola in our garage. They’re really really good, and it’s less expensive to cure them yourself. Sometimes it’s really funny when they’re hanging there because my dog will sit and stare at them, even though he can’t reach them. We put them on everything: sandwiches, pasta, and pizza.
ST: Is there anything you won’t eat?
MM: I really don’t like zucchini. I don’t know if it’s a childhood thing, or it’s just that it’s a terrible tasting vegetable. But I like a lot of things that other people don’t like, like licorice, and mayonnaise.
ST: What is your dining hall go-to?
MM: I like to take all of the ingredients from the salad bar–okay, not all. I take a lot of the beans, and then I’ll put cheese and Sriracha sauce on it, and then microwave it. It’s healthier than the prepared options, and it’s good.
ST: It’s late and you’re in the library. What are you craving?
MM: I’m always very upset when I’m in the libe late at night, so I’m craving something comforting and warm. I really like steamed milk from the snack bar, with almond flavoring.
ST: Did you ever steal your roommates’ food from the fridge?
MM: My roommate and I share food very freely. But sometimes when I was drunk I’d run down to the substance-free floor because they always have the best food. We would steal the ingredients for mac and cheese, and then make it really spicy.
ST: What is your drink order when you go to a bar?
MM: In Ireland, it’s hard cider—-it’s like beer for kids. It’s not too sweet, but it has a good apple flavor. But I also really like gin and tonic; it’s the classic drink.
ST: What’s the most creative concoction you’ve ever made in the dining hall?
MM: One time we tried to make a dessert panini. It had peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, and marshmallowy sauce that was lying around. It was, well, pretty good.
ST: Do you use recipes when you cook?
MM: I use recipes when I bake, because I don’t understand the chemistry enough to improvise. But when I cook I like to find one really unique, good-looking ingredient to form an idea around. Sometimes I’ll look on the internet for inspiration, but I never follow recipes exactly.
ST: Favorite cooking website/site you visit every day (besides Small Kitchen College)?
MM: I really like Tastespotting. They have really beautiful photography, and they often show how to use seasonal ingredients.
ST: Favorite dessert?
MM: Fruit tarts, like lemon curd with berries. I have made it, but when you buy it it’s so much more beautiful.
ST: Your go-to date night meal?
MM: My family always made homemade pizzas. That’s my go-to for dates because it’s casual and has a fun vibe. People are really impressed when you make pizza from scratch, and you don’t have to present it well, because you can’t.
ST: Last one: cake or pie?
MM: Pie, so much. Cake is just sugary, but pie has flavor. We had a raspberry patch at home, so we’d always make pie with our garden berries.
Sarah Trautman writes for Small Kitchen College from New York and Ireland but she loves that dirty water of her hometown, Boston. She can’t wait to go back to Carleton College in the winter for some snowy running.