Doctorate in Snacks


I need your help!

My BF Matt is working on his Doctorate in Computer Engineering and has his PhD proposal exam next Thursday. This essentially means he has to talk and defend the last 4 years of his research (aka last 4 years of his LIFE) for 2 hours and then the committee either says, yes that’s good, go ahead and you will graduate or nope sorry we think that sucks – SO VERY STRESSFUL!

As if this wasn’t stressful enough, Matt informed me that he is expected to provide snacks and beverages for his committee! Can you F-ing believe that! The last thing you want to be thinking about is what food you are going to bring to impress these people!!

So I told him don’t worry, I’ll take care of the snacks. And I thought what better way to get ideas on what to make than from the ES community!

What are your ideas? It is at 10:30am, and I also need to have beverages, and most importantly, if they expect snacks, then I want them to have the best damn snacks they’ve EVER had!

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  • Liza August 7, 2008  

    Thoughts on baby quiches?

  • JoeHoya August 7, 2008  

    Are you thinking you want to follow a theme, or do you just want to give them good stuff to munch on?

    How many people?

  • Liza August 7, 2008  

    I think just good stuff but I’m open to a theme!
    It’s only 3 people, but I want a lot of snacks! I want to blow their minds basically!

  • vio August 7, 2008  

    I say, 10:30 am, coffee and bagels… get an assortment of pastries… but def coffee! people will be stoked and stay awake!

  • Liza August 7, 2008  

    OK I’m slightly embarrassed that i didn’t think of the coffee because that’s perfect!!! I think I will have a pot of coffee and a pot of hot water with an assortment of teas

  • JoeHoya August 7, 2008  

    You might also offer a cold beverage that goes just a simple step beyond ice water – Bon Appetit’s June issue had a great recipe for Cucumber-Lime Agua that is light and refreshing and really doesn’t take a lot of effort.

  • BS August 7, 2008  

    homemade pastries w/ coffee would be pretty wow-ing

  • Pinch o Minch August 7, 2008  

    Beef brisket platter!

  • Edouble August 7, 2008  

    i think baby quiches are a great idea.

    and/or you could do apple slices wrapped in bacon–just a random thought. it’s lunchtime and i’m hungry:)

  • MissGinsu August 7, 2008  

    Wow… it’s so hard to judge the tastes of a group you’ve never met. You could do a nice iced tea for any non-coffee people. Ginger-Peach tea or a Moroccan Mint is really nice in the morning.

    For me, I’d go with a muffin basket. Maybe one or two healthier ones and at least one decidedly unhealthy one, like chocolate chocolate-chip. (Offers freedom of choice.) Serve alongside fruit salad. All that travels well and only requires forks, cups and napkins.

  • Keri August 7, 2008  

    Quiches are a great idea. 🙂 I would add a salad (with dried fruits & maybe nuts) & a homemade dressing.

    I would say to make anything that would keep the committee bright-eyed & feeling good. Anything non-coma inducing (protein, fruits, veggies, not too many carbs). Inspire happiness from within! 🙂

  • BS August 7, 2008  

    let’s talk more about these quiches. what are you thinking? I feel like it’s great but risky. what if they are weird and people are picky and don’t try them,??? He will freak out. I need more info on what kind of quiches we’re thinking.

  • gansie August 7, 2008  

    banana bread. butter. done.

  • BS August 7, 2008  

    you butter your banana bread?!?

  • gansie August 7, 2008  

    holy shit. it’s bread isn’t. why wouldnt it be buttered?

  • El August 7, 2008  

    if you go the muffin route, i’d recommend mini muffins. those are always a hit at my office events.

    the more variety the better.

  • JoeHoya August 7, 2008  

    Thinking of the focus of this thing, you may want to limit yourself to things that are relatively bite-sized – inobtrusive and easily munched on between questioning.

    If you want to get all food-science on it, you could make it a point to incorporate foods that are believed to have mood-elevating or focus-enhancing properties…help put the committee in the right frame of mind to pass him!

  • Melissa August 7, 2008  

    Crostini with heirloom tomatoes and thyme, basil, or cilantro. Bacon wrapped figs. Deviled eggs. When my work used to have breakfasts, I never loved that it was so starch heavy. I felt like it was family breakfast on the Simpsons.

  • gansie August 7, 2008  

    oh, melissa. brilliant with the deviled eggs. liza—you could sprinkle the deviled eggs w/ bacon to add that breakfast feel. or if you wanted to incorporate eggs, but not make them deviled, try my Mustard-Horseradish Egg Salad Toasts. You could even sneak in a layer of smoked salmon underneath.

    i’m also with vio on the bagel thing, but i feel melissa on the no-carb overload. what about you buy whole wheat mini begals and top them with cream cheese, scallions and lox.

  • Matt August 7, 2008  

    What amazing ideas! My committee will have no choice but to pass me if they taste such goodness! Here are some thoughts:

    Coffee/tea is definitely required, vio. They’ll likely already be carrying a giant sized mug of their favorite caffeine, but I had better at least have a refill. Something cold and refreshing could be good too.

    Bacon wrapped anything sounds delicious! Given the ethnicity of two of my members, though, anything meat would be risky. I’ll have to go veg. Apples? Figs!? Please Edouble/Melissa, I want these (wrapped in bacon).

    Bite-sized is where it’s at, JoeHoya. Muffins are safe yet could be interesting. Some of these professor types are probably up at the crack of dawn — they may be wanting more of a pre-lunch rather than post-breakfast.

    More quiche details please! Crostini could be versatile as well and might hit the spot between two meals.

    Let’s keep these ideas coming!

  • BS August 7, 2008  

    Matt – I think you should explain the theme of your research to us, and then we can craft the snacks accordingly.

  • Evo Diva August 7, 2008  

    For my comprehensive oral exam (to become a PhD candidate) I went with the “impress-them-with-your-cleverness-then-put-them-in-a-sugar-coma-so-they-stop-asking-questions” route. Since I use fish to study evolution, I brought in Swedish fish (yep, the red candies!) and sugar cookies in the shapes of different fishes (fish cookie cutters from ebay!). I don’t know if my committee members were thrilled with the snacks, but I passed my exam!

    Also, sometimes these exams are scheduled strategically because their lengths can differ depending on the moods of the committee members. So a smart grad student would indeed schedule the exam for 10:30…hopefully once the noon hour hits, everyone will want the exam to be over with so they can go get lunch! (This also works with exams at 3:30pm – then everyone wants to go home for the day) So don’t fill them too much – they might be willing to stick around for another hour to keep asking questions!

  • Rubygirl August 7, 2008  

    Trail Mix individually wrapped in re-cycled computer paper….tied with raffia or some sort of string material. The wrapping paper could have math formulas/or something that has to do with your thesis printed on it ??…..simple….. theme oriented and energizing. Creative in the packaging instead of the food….
    I may be from an older generation but “real men don’t each quiche” always comes to mind when I think of this dish….more of a ladies luncheon item in my mind. Also, what ever is served needs to be tasty at room temperature unless you want to haul a bunch of equipment to this setting.
    Orange juice is a little more refreshing than coffee. I am guessing they would have had enough coffee by 10:30. I guess Bloody Marys might be a little risky??

  • Beth August 9, 2008  

    You could also do little finger sandwiches. This would be an easy thing for both veggies and carnivores. Maybe cucumber, tomato and avocado on a dinner roll. Put some cheese on half. Dress them w/a vinagrette. For the carnivores ham, roast beef. Even smoked salmon. Some of the veggies mentioned. And a mayo perked up w/some fresh herbs would be good. You can go to most bakeries and buy fresh dinner rolls, which would make perfect finger sandwiches.

  • Britannia August 12, 2008  

    I had the pleasure of eating sme freshly baked petite muffins with a drizzle of honey and a spoon of plain yogurt this past Sunday. It was a great morning treat. And a nice extra to the muffin, if thats the path you choose.

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