Life as a PhD student at MIT isn't easy. Endless problem sets, exams, sponsor visits and committee meetings result in many sleepless nights. Your research work becomes your life and you feel guilty for every moment spent not working.

One of my guilty pleasures is baking. Whenever I need to celebrate or drown my sorrows, which occurs frequently as a graduate student, I find a new recipe. Over the past couple of years, I have subjected many of my friends and neighbors to my concoctions. They haven't seen anything yet!

For Christmas, I received the Flour cookbook. For those of you who don't know what Flour is, I feel sorry for you. Flour is a fantastic bakery and cafe located close to MIT. I'll often stop off here on my way home after a bad day for a sweet, sugary pick-me-up.

After receiving the cookbook, I decided with all my copious free time (yeah right) that I was in need of another project. My mission is to bake every recipe from the Flour cookbook before I graduate. Now the race is on.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sucessful First Committee Meeting - Time to Celebrate with Cornmeal-Lime Cookies

My first PhD committee meeting took place on Friday.  This is a pretty big event in the life of a PhD student.  A group of leading experts in your field evaluate your progress and scrutinize your research.  Needless to say, I had been fairly stressed out about the whole thing.  Good news!  My committee members actually seemed happy with my work and my aggressive schedule that has me graduating in 16 months!  For the first time in my PhD, I'm actually starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

After celebrating the successful meeting over drinks with a friend, I decided to start this baking project.  Will I be able to finish the Flour cookbook before finishing my degree?  It's definitely going to be a challenge, I'll need to bake a new recipe every 4.9 days.  If I can make it, another question arises.  Will my clothes still fit?

To celebrate my committee meeting success, I decided to make the cornmeal-lime cookies on page 118 of the cookbook.  I'd never tried them myself at the bakery, but they came highly recommended by my friend Heather.  I spent an hour zesting, mixing and baking and the results were delicious!  They have the interesting texture of cornmeal and a distinct lime zing.  It's a really great recipe.  I think I need to compare my results to the professionals at Flour this week. 

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