Mushrooms Climb the Ivy Tower

We recently sported our crimson swagger while hanging out with the crème de la crème of college students: the elite ivy leaguers of Harvard U.

harvard logo final

As an encore to last year’s successful mushroom festival on this Cambridge, Mass. campus, another mushroom event with Harvard Dining Services took place at the end of March. Our nation’s brightest young minds were put to the test in a new subject: creating the perfect mushroom pizza.

Harvard students from the 13 campus dining houses submitted their best mushroom pizza recipes and had to assemble their pizza creations in the dining hall for judgment from their very own peers. One winner from each house was chosen, and a mushroom extravaganza ensued.

Mushrooms were found everywhere on campus: all of the dining houses were armed with full-blown mushroom sauté stations, each equipped with live chef demos; lots of signage touting the health benefits of mushrooms; and extensive mushroom displays (including specialty varieties like enoki, maitake and shiitake, which the students were thrilled to taste-test as they noted that it was a rare occasion to dabble in such delicacies).

harvard table

While on campus, not only were these awesome sauté stations set up, but the winning mushroom pizzas from the student contest were served hot off the line at each house, allowing all 6,600 students to enjoy their own house winner. Wondering how to cook for such a large group? Well for starters, it may look something like this:

harvard bin

We made stops at each dining house, kicking-off the evening at Kirkland House, the old stomping grounds of Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones. We got to walk the halls of where these two icons once lived, breathed, and ate… mushrooms of course (we hope!).

On our rounds, we heard from the lively coeds that Quincy is in fact the most fun of all the dining houses at Harvard. We also noticed that Cronkhite House took their mushroom displays very seriously (fitting that Cronkhite is home to the grad students, huh?):

harvard assortment

The night ended at Annenberg House, the spot for the frosh class to dine. Their customer service manager told us that whenever Annenberg serves mushrooms on the menu, students can’t seem to get enough. Their winning feta and shiitake pizza ran out as students were taking two-three slices at a time, but we sure aren’t blaming them!

Overall, the ivy leaguers confessed their love for ‘shrooms throughout the night and were able to learn all about mushroom nutrition, how mushrooms are grown, plus some fun mushroom cooking tips. To see all of the event photos, check out our album over on Facebook.

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