Today’s Exec Profile highlights recruitment chief Aly Gideon and her adventures with street food in India.
Culinarian: Gotta get the basics out of the way, major and year?
Aly: I’m a first year, majoring in Anthropology!
C: What made you want to become a part of the magazine?
A: I thought that Columbia would pay for me to go and eat at restaurants. I was sadly disappointed. I have yet to relinquish the dream that one day, all Culinarians will eat for free, but for now, the other Exec Board members provide 7 fabulous reasons for sticking around.
C: What memory holds a special foodie place in your heart?
A: Finally getting to eat street food in India. When I went for the first time for 6 weeks over a summer vacation, I was too afraid of getting sick, so I did all of that stupid stuff like drinking only “filtered” water. When I went back for a year, I realized that eating contaminated food was inevitable, so I just went all-out and ate everything I denied myself the previous time. And it was completely worth it! I laughed at everyone who told me I would die or get horribly sick, because I was eating all of the most delicious foods on planet earth: kulfi, channa bhature, gol gappa, papri chaat, jalebi, parathas…
C: That sounds amazing! If your dream date asked you out to dinner, and you got to pick, where would you go?
A: I would take him to The Bent Spoon, this absolutely mouth-watering artisanal ice cream shop in Princeton, NJ. If he got something boring like vanilla bean or dark chocolate or mango sorbet (albeit those flavors are actually really special, as the vanilla is made with madagascar vanilla bean and the chocolate with 61% fair trade Guittard chocolate and the mango with Indian Alphonso mangoes), then I don’t know if a second date would happen. But if he was on the adventurous side and got something like their olive oil, or ricotta, or cardamom ginger, or lavender mascarpone, or sweet corn ice cream: he’s a keeper.
C: Admittedly, we aren’t all perfect foodies…do you have an embarrassing (read: funny!) anecdote?
A: One time, I tried cooking an “American” meal for my friends in India. First, I had to think of something that could be considered American that didn’t have meat, and that was really hard. I eventually had to go the Italian route and make pasta with red sauce. I had never made my own red sauce before, and I thought that I could just buy tomato puree and heat it up. Turns out, tomato puree just tastes like warm tomatoes! It was just bad and very bland. Then I made a soup, but I couldn’t find any vegetable stock, so I tried to make my own, which was also a total disaster. Something like 10 people showed up, waited hungrily at the table for around an hour, and after realizing that I was still floundering about the kitchen, they threw on aprons and lent me a hand; we had a blast throwing random spices and things into the sauce (ketchup, chili flakes, you name it), and attempted to rescue the soup.
Needless to say, I did not do a good job representing America.
C: Haha! Well, now we’re sure you’ll do a good job representing Culinarian (:
Got questions for Aly? Have your own travel story? Share your thoughts in the comments!