Last night’s Ferry Dinner accomplished a feat that seldom occurs on the Vassar campus (and far beyond): it featured a dish of which I had never heard before. Not to majorly toot my proverbial culinary horn, but I consider my gastronomic knowledge as rather expansive thanks to a childhood of foodie tours of Italy, Food Network marathons, and hours of paging through cookbooks. As such, I become overwhelmingly intrigued when confronted with an unfamiliar dish, and never expected to enter this state while living in the rather basic (though always scrumptious) culinary space of Ferry House.
My good friend and Mercy for Animals employee Alan introduced me to last night’s unknown dish—a casserole of lentils, shredded vegetables (including eggplant, carrots, bell peppers, and tomatoes), and sourdough starter known as “breadmeal,” of which Alan learned through fermentation expert Sandor Katz’s acclaimed book Wild Fermentation. The dish harbored a deeply savory flavor undercut by just a smidge of sour yeastiness, while the texture of its chewy, crackly crust immediately wooed me. I look forward to partake in Alan’s future fermentation-related ventures, including an attempt at culturing our own tempeh in the Ferry dehydrator.
Alan and “sous chef” Hannah accompanied the breadmeal with simple side dishes of short-grain brown rice, garlicky roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes, and a lightly dressed kale salad with celery, carrots, and apples. A well-rounded and educational meal!
Until next time, Ali.