Tucked away in Schlesinger Library lies a stapled stack of printer paper printed in a simple serif font. Made in 2005, “Pfoho Cookbook” features dozens of creative 5-step recipes highlighting the best Pforzheimer House dhall creations.
The cookbook is the product of two Pforzheimer students, Lauren M. Wolchok ’07 and Maureen Baur ’07. The two authors are still friends today, laughing and reminiscing as they speak to me about their inspiration for the cookbook.
“There’s this one peanut butter ice cream topping that we really liked making and so we wanted to compile other dining hall recipes and make them available for people,” Baur says.
That original recipe can be found within the book: a Peanut Butter Topping for Ice Cream recipe, submitted by Caitlin S. Bergin ’06 and credited to Adam W. B. Roben ’06.
The dining halls in 2005 differ from what students find today. At the time, Pfoho students had access to grills where they could heat certain foods themselves, like onions and spinach. Still, Wolchok remembers the dining hall food to be a “little bit repetitive,” explaining that she and Baur wanted to introduce variety into the menu.
The co-authors sent out a call for recipes on the Pfoho House email list. After the call for recipes, Baur and Wolchok applied to and received funding from the Pfoho House Committee for printing and stapling copies of the cookbook.
“We left them in a little basket and people could just take them,” Wolchok says. It came as a surprise when, after graduation, the Schlesinger Library reached out to add the cookbook to their collection. “So now we are basically published authors, right?” she says with a laugh.
Recipes within the book range from highly detailed processes to simple recipes. All are designed to enhance the dining experience. Patrick F. Baur ’07 — now Baur’s husband — submitted a one-step zucchini recipe directing students to “get zucchini and add parmesan cheese on top.”
To the authors, the “Pfoho Cookbook” was an entertaining one-month project, since their other extracurricular activities did not involve their interest in cooking. “It was fun to be able to do different things in the dining hall,” Wolchock says.
Baur volunteered with the Harvard ExperiMentors teaching science in schools across Boston and was responsible for renting out videos through the Pfoho Video Closet. Wolchok performed with the Mainly Jazz Dance Company and was a First-Year Outdoor Program leader.
For Wolchok and Baur, writing the “Pfoho Cookbook” was a way to introduce creativity into the dining hall and bolster house spirit.
“We had a great house. And a very tight-knit community,” Wolchok says. “So we felt we were definitely a part of a community and that the little cookbook project was welcomed and appreciated by the community.”