Nurturing (the) Environment
(Page 2 of 5)
Lipschultz completes his tour just as a handful of his roommates enter, eager to find out what’s for dinner. Warren Green residents have committed to a lifestyle of cooperative shopping and cooking. Translation: you won’t find ramen noodles in the cupboard, or students inhaling leftover pizza alone in their rooms. Instead, residents of Warren Green pitch in $25 per week for groceries, and rotate shopping duties. Every Saturday morning, two students visit a local farmer’s market to stock up on fresh vegetables and fruit, while another pair goes to the grocery store to replenish other supplies, including dairy products, bread, and grains.
Even a standard shared living arrangement has the potential for conflict. But the Warren Green students are taking the idea of cooperative living to new levels. In addition to sharing space and depending on one another for meals, they have also agreed to a strict code of low-consumption living, following such voluntary measures as limiting the number and length of showers, not flushing the toilet unless absolutely necessary, and unplugging cell phone chargers when not in use—which was the first rule the house agreed upon at the beginning of the semester.
The kitchen is brimming with laughter, music, and the aroma of dinner. The windowsill over the sink is lined with jars of spices, pots and pans overflow from the dish rack, and the energy-efficient dishwasher is adorned with magnetized finger puppets of Che Guevara, Gandhi, Einstein, and Nelson Mandela. On the refrigerator door, a scrap of paper reads: When cooking for 13, use 3 pounds of pasta, 4 cups of rice, 3–4 cups of lentils, 3 cans of whole/diced tomatoes, 4 ½ cups of black beans, 10 potatoes (Yukon gold).
Yesenia Marquetti ’09, a petite pre-med student, is sharing tonight’s cooking duties with Justin Butler ’10, the energetic RA, who has taken a leadership role in the house. With hip hop playing in the background, Butler and Marquetti sail around the kitchen, making couscous with local eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. As they work, they talk about everything—their classes, their friends and families back home—occasionally interrupting themselves to admire each other’s culinary skills.
“Oh my god, that’s so good,” Marquetti sighs, watching Butler cut up an eggplant.
Butler turns his knife on a block of cheddar. “I was thinking about this during my literature lecture,” he says. “My professor was talking about cultural studies, and I was thinking about cheese.”
When the dish is ready, Marquetti rings a bell, and residents wander into the kitchen, picking up plates, ooh-ing and ah-ing over tonight’s feast. The last student in the self-serve line waits next to a post-it on the refrigerator: Remember! Leftovers are delicious.
But judging from the way students are filling their plates, this is one conservation tip that won’t need to be followed tonight.
Laurie Mittelmann ’10 studies with her friend Sonia de Laforcade ’11