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Comfort food is having a moment and science faculty member Heather Zimmer is showing students how to make it at home on a weekly cooking show. It’s part of the new Opt-In Program, where faculty host casual and fun Zoom sessions such as trivia nights and current event discussions. 

The Opt-In Program started earlier in the semester after a few faculty members and student head monitors Eliza Dunn ’21 and Garvin McLaughlin ’21 thought about ways to keep the strong sense of community at Milton while in a remote/hybrid environment.

Zimmer said she and her husband, the head chef at 2nd Street Café in Cambridge, loved cooking with students when they lived in Norris House and this is a fun way to replicate that experience. On their first episode, they taught students to make mac and cheese from scratch. 

“First, we taught everyone to make a comfort-food-style cheddar and then helped students customize based on what they wanted to eat that night,” she said. “One particularly tempting version, made by Luke Witkowski ’24, had cheddar, bacon, and scallions!” 

The Zimmers provide the recipe in advance so people can cook along with them if they wish. “We also welcome anyone who just wants to hang out and chat about their favorite foods while we cook,” said Zimmer.

Last week, a group made snickerdoodle cookies, and next week they plan to make a “hearty chili as well as a quick dish of Rice Krispies treats with candy to celebrate Halloween.” 

“We are planning to continue through the semester if there is interest, with a few special sessions between Thanksgiving and Winter Break that will focus on making holiday candy and cookies from scratch,” she said “Anyone who has ideas on what we should cook just needs to reach out to me, and I will do my best to incorporate it into a future event!”