July 12, 2017

Homestyle Turkey Dinner

Annie Leister '10
Annie Leister '10 serves up pumpkin pie,
after mom cuts into it

My best Bucknell food memory takes place not in Lewisburg but in Granada, Spain, where I studied abroad in fall 2008. Our wonderful professor and the program director of Bucknell en España, Manuel Delgado, hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at his apartment for 12 students, nearly the same number of visiting family members, and countless friends. It was the first Thanksgiving away from home for almost all of the students, and we were preparing to resign ourselves to no turkey and no pumpkin pie. But somehow, after days of searching, our marvelous program coordinator, Fátima, found some smoked turkey in an upscale supermarket. And my mom flew in for her week-long visit with two precious cans of pumpkin in her checked luggage. She fashioned two pumpkin pies on the fly with the closest approximation we could find to pie crust. To top it off, someone managed to track down a can of aerosol whipped cream.

So for our Thanksgiving feast, we had Spanish olives, wines and cheeses; chorizo and smoked turkey; and fragrant Moorish desserts typical to Andalusia sharing counter space with our makeshift pumpkin pies. It was crowded and loud, and there were plastic cups, paper plates, singing and dancing, and toasts made in many languages. What a night!

¡Muchas gracias, Profesor!

Annie Leister '10
Charlottesville, Va.

Lewisburg's Natural-Food Harvest

Diane Silien '76, M'78 and Mitch
Farbstein '73, M'78
in front of their
restaurant, The Endless Harvest.

My favorite Lewisburg restaurant — that's easy for me. Lewisburg's first natural food restaurant, The Endless Harvest, had its grand opening Sept. 16, 1976, at 28 N. Second St. in a former bakery. The Endless Harvest was the brainchild of Diane Silien '76, M'78, resident director of Roberts Hall and me, Mitch Farbstein '73, M'78, then resident director of Swartz Hall.

The idea for the restaurant came to Diane the previous year when she was writing a biology final on nutrition, while we were both in graduate school. As a biology and education major, I bought into Diane's idea of providing a more natural food choice in Lewisburg. Having been heavily into sports at Bucknell, I knew that the meat and stuffed potatoes flag flying over the training table were not nutritionally ideal. After months of summer remodeling, the bakery became a restaurant. Originally, I came up with the name The Eternal Harvest. Diane convinced me that it sounded like a funeral home and we changed eternal to endless.

Our food philosophy was that there is a strong relationship between nutritious food and healthy minds and bodies. Yvonne Smith, the wife of Professor Richard Smith in the English Department, provided our patrons with an amazing international cuisine journey based on her food preparation skills learned growing up in Ghana. Along with Diane, Cathy Wilner '76 was one of the cooks. I have remained a quasi-vegetarian, eating some fowl and fish, but never any meat products. We sold the restaurant two years later, when we had both finished graduate school and left Lewisburg. Diane died in a freak accident cleaning the outside of a refrigerator — cleaning fluid was ignited by a spark from the appliance. So Diane, thanks and this Harvest is for you!

Mitch Farbstein '73, M'78
Phoenixville, Pa.

Learning How to Get Ahead

I started my dining hall work at UC Cafeteria my sophomore year. Mrs. Goodall was the boss, and she was super to work for. I started in the "slop chute" (dirty dishes), where we had so much fun with "pineapple delight fights" (throwing half-eaten deserts!).

I graduated to the "milk can" installation position in my junior year, and then front-line ticket puncher, where we had to make sure students were using their own meal cards.

I also worked upstairs serving special guests meals when needed. We had a great crew and had so much fun, as all of us were non-Greek.

I learned so much about job duties and the chance to get ahead in the three years I worked there, and I had so much fun and am still friends with at least two co-workers after almost 50 years.

I'm following in my father's and brother's footsteps and have been in the hospitality business for almost 20 years. Son Patrick '01, just 3 years ago, took over running our family business.

Thanks for the chance to tell my story. Bucknell got me started in the service industry!

Fred Clauson '69
Weirs Beach, N.H.

Frugal but Fine Eating

My favorite food memory from my Bucknell days is not of a particular eating establishment in and around Lewisburg (although I always loved the Amish restaurant out past Mifflinburg) or a dining hall but rather learning how to cook and eat on a budget as a senior living in an off-campus apartment. I was schooled in the fine art of discount, reasonably healthy cooking by dearly departed but fondly remembered Peter Murtha '75. The pièce de résistance of his cookbook was a tuna-noodle casserole, dubbed somewhere along the way as Poseidon's Delight. Tuna-noodle casserole is of course nothing new and can be made in a variety of ways. But to be true to this recipe and worthy of the title, it had to be made with Chicken of the Sea tuna and the "cheese of the Gods," Velveeta. This protein-rich, cheap-beyond-compare dish sustained me that final year at Bucknell, throughout my similarly lean graduate school years and then some. I have enjoyed passing along Peter's on-a-budget menu planning and execution to my children as they strike out on their own, not only to share the tips and tricks of maximizing your food dollar but to also reduce the frequency of calls for supplemental funds.

Bob Wagner '76
West Hatfield, Mass.

Peas in Timbales?

Jacinta Bunnell '93 shares a menu from a
1920s Pi Phi luncheon that she found in
her grandmother's scrapbook.

I recently inherited my grandmother Marjorie Nichols Bunnell '24's scrapbook from Bucknell. She was a very meticulous saver of ephemera. It is filled with dance cards half-filled and valentines from my grandfather back home, who was working at the family's hardware store. He had an 8th-grade education. It was she who went to college, returning home after Bucknell to raise five boys, one of whom was my father, Judson Bunnell '52.

I never met my grandmother, as she died before I was born. But one of the strings that ties us together is that we both went to Bucknell.

I love old menus and the little window into food we rarely prepare anymore. Peas in timbales! When was the last time you had that? It's included on a menu from a sorority luncheon in 1921.

Jacinta Bunnell '93
Stone Ridge, N.Y.

Beer and a Cheesesteak

The dining hall was one of my first employers, but the memory that stands out most was going to [the Bull Run Inn, known as] Dunkle's on Friday nights to have a cheesesteak sandwich, salad with blue cheese dressing and a Miller beer. Between the Miller's beer and Dunkle's that really dates me!

Leslie Heinkel Engler '66
Moraga, Calif.

Working the Line

Henry Cotsalas '77
Henry Cotsalas '77 impersonating a tray
dispenser in April 1977

Fond food memories of Lewisburg? Ham loaf and shoofly pie at Country Cupboard … peanut butter fudge sundaes at Bechtel's … onion pizza at 'Za … bagels and cream cheese at The Bison … omelets at Perkins … Christmas dinner at Roy Grier Bostwick — lobster tail, filet mignon, steamed shrimp and the dessert buffet (grasshopper pie!) in Larison … Yum!

I was employed in the cafeteria from 1974 to 1977. My coworkers made the experience fun. I worked with so many Bucknellians who I otherwise would not have met. I was not overly fond of the dishroom (there was the day I broke a dirty glass on my foot while wearing my Dr. Scholl's exercise sandals) until classmate Kathy Jones introduced me to the joy of unloading the dishwasher — clean dishes! I loved sorting silver and working the line. I even chose my classes so I could work lunch Monday, Wednesday and Friday (perhaps not the best of priorities!). But the most awesome thing was being able to eat before the cafeteria opened and knowing exactly where the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies were kept!

Audrey Harniman '77
Mercersberg, Pa.

Dinner with the Boys

In the '60s there was a little hole in the wall take out place on the main drag, next to the railroad tracks, that had the best cheese steak sandwiches I have ever had. Also, chose to eat at UC instead of Larison dining hall, because there were men eating there as well.

Karen George Watson '68
Schenectady, N.Y.