No taste like home

March 21, 2013 noon
No Taste Like Home index

Photos by Matilda Luk

No Taste Like Home first place
No Taste Like Home third place
No Taste Like Home second place


Princeton University students come from all 50 states and nearly 100 countries. While students form close-knit friendships and communities on campus, a taste of a well-loved dish can bring them home, even if only for the duration of dinner.

To bring this taste of home to campus, Dining Services recently held the annual "There's No Place Like Home" recipe contest, inviting students to submit their recipes for their favorite dish. The winning recipes were served on Feb. 14 in the residential dining halls, the Center for Jewish Life, and Food for Thought in the Frist Campus Center Food Gallery.

Freshman Anqi Dong's recipe, which won first place, is an adaptation of a traditional Chinese sweet served at new year's celebrations. "This cake is rather unadorned, flavored only with sugar," he wrote, and the lemon and blueberry are additions his family made when they immigrated to North America. He said, "the addition of fruit … makes the flavor more interesting." Like other foods served at Chinese New Year, the name of the dish, "nian gao," has an auspicious double meaning: "nian" means "year" and "gao" can mean either "cake" or "higher."

No Taste Like Home Roberts

Thomas González Roberts, with Luz, won second place with his mother's Venezuelan black roast beef recipe.

Freshman Thomas González Roberts also submitted a festive recipe, his mother's Venezuelan black roast beef. Marinated for a least a day before the beef is cooked and served, the meat is deeply caramelized and swathed in a dark, thick, sweet sauce made from the drippings. "It's usually a Christmas dish," Roberts explained. "Or a dish you serve when you want to impress someone."

No Taste Like Home Bennett

Luz and third-prize winner Annika Bennett with her mother's sunburst tofu stir-fry.

Sunburst tofu stir-fry was Annika Bennett's mother's only concession to her daughter's sudden vegetarianism. Bennett, a sophomore, claims her mother refused to cook her a special meal, as the rest of the family were happy omnivores. "I ate a lot of peanut butter at the beginning," she admitted. But in the words of Bennett's mother, "It has become one of her favorites."

Two students received honorable mentions, both for sweet treats from home: Kimmey cookies from freshman Clarissa Kimmey and apple and cinnamon multigrain pancakes from freshman Lydia Cornett.

No Taste Like Home group

The student winners pose with Luz and Executive Director of Dining Services Stu Orefice (far right).