From right to left, baking soda, baking powder, and a gigantic brick of yeast, with some coins for scale.
To be perfectly honest, the kitchens in Beit Clore don't particularly inspire great feats of culinary artistry. In fact, with the exception of having a sink and full-sized refrigerator, they aren't really any better than the last time I lived in a dorm, when my room contained an electric burner, a toaster oven, and a hot-pot. Nevertheless, some basic baking supplies really are necessary, and for the life of me I wasn't able to locate them.
In fact, I'd looked right over them many times in the supermarket, and I've taken this picture as a reminder of just how invisible things can be when they're a completely different size than what you'd expect. What I'm ever going to do with a half-kilogram brick of yeast is utterly beyond me.
Frequently thanks to, and on occasion in spite of, the meager cooking facilities we're allotted, food plays a considerable role in the social life of the Clore House. So continue reading and meet the crew.
Our first rooftop dinner party. On the left, Miriam's head partially obsures Andreas. On the other side, from the right, Miki, Olivia, Christian, and Sam. 2004:10:29 20:39:51
That we go out for food together on a regular basis is easy to understand; especially in the gregarious cafes of Rehovot, going out alone is a good way to be ignored by your waiter. Moreover, better service can often be obtained by hanging around in the lobby until someone who speaks fluent Hebrew can be convinced to come along. Fortunately, this doesn't generally take long.
I don't know that I'd go so far as to actually recommend anyplace here to eat. Of course, lunch is easy -- Israelis are big on lunch. On the Institute campus, there's about a dozen decent cafeterias serving up large and mostly tasty lunches, plus numerous bakeries, pizzarias, and fewer falafel joints than you'd expect out in Rehovot. And, the Shekel being what it is relative to an international grad student's pay grade, it's all quite cheap. For dinner, on the other hand, the many restaurant-slash-bar-slash-cafes in town are all mediocre copies of each other, serving the same beer and bland vegetable sandwiches.
So some of us make it a point to cook. Above, a picture I took of the crew at our first rooftop dinner party, featuring Miki's homemade pasta. He's not actually a student, but a local (well, a Michigan-educated Israeli who came back) who we met because he likes to play the piano in the lounge. I'm not clear on how the rest of the group met, since most Beit Clore residents arrived about a month before me.
Evidently Andreas (a self-identified "weirdo Swede"), visible behind Miriam, is responsible for merging two groups of acquaintances, by virtue of his habit of playing Go in the lobby and thereby attracting an audience. My first trip to Tel Aviv was in part to check out his Go club there. He's especially handy because he has the power to summon Christian, who has a car (and a Ph.D., a Danish background, and friends who seem to know everyone in Tel Aviv).
The Americans (and friends) at Miriam's rooftop birthday party. Left to right, in the front: Naomi, Miriam, Lin, and Ian; in the rear, myself, Sam, and Alexi. 2004:11:11 01:05:10
Sam's my roommate, a Minnesotan physics undergrad at MIT, along with suitemate Alexi, a Ukranian who somehow manages to make Borchst by the gallon in our apartment. Since he'd already met them, Sam introduced me to the other two Americans in Beit Clore, Miriam and Naomi. Although Sam likes to reminisce about the industrial-size dishwasher and deep fryer in his frat house, I'd wager that I'm actually the better cook under dorm conditions where some, shall we say, flexibility is required. Just as well, as Sam's too fond of his meat to have much interest in my meals. Miriam appreciates them, though.
Others appearing in the above photographs: Lin, an Oxford-educated Israeli who hangs out with Naomi; Ian was a visiting grad student from Manchester for a week; and Olivia, the Estonian student who organized our Thursday movie nights.