Entries Tagged as 'Food and Drink'

3 Traditional Irish Drinks to Try for St. Patrick’s Day


By Emma Creighton

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We know you’re probably celebrating with a few pitchers of green beer somewhere, but if you’re looking for something different to drink today, look no further than these three traditional Irish drinks!

Irish Coffee st patricks day

Irish Coffee – For the Cultured Irish  

Invented by Joe Sheridan one winter night in 1942. Joe was a cook in the city of Foynes in West Ireland. Foynes was an airbase near Limerick and hosted many travelers. That cold night in 1942 Joe Sheridan came up with the drink to warm up some weary travelers. It had such a positive response it became a regular item on his menu and is now recognized internationally.

Here is Joe’s original recipe:

Cream, Rich as an Irish Brogue

Coffee, Strong as a Friendly Hand

Sugar, Sweet as the tongue of a Rogue

Whiskey, Smooth as the Wit of the Land.

Brew a cup of coffee dark and strong then stir in a spoon of sugar (I prefer brown sugar). Then add a shot of your favorite whiskey, I recommend Jameson Irish whiskey for full authenticity. Top off your drink with a big scoop of heavy cream or whipped cream to make it extra thick!

Guinness st patricks day

Guinness – For the Traditional Irish

Guinness is easily the most famous Irish alcoholic beverage and for good reason too! It has been around longer than the United States have been a country. It was first brewed by a man named Arthur Guinness in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland. At first it started as a Dublin Ale, but eventually diversified into a porter. This was revolutionary as it was one of the first porters and was characterized by its dark color.

Guinness is just as much of a symbol of Ireland as the shamrock is. Pouring it is considered a special skill. A “perfect pour” should take 119.5 seconds while being poured at a degree of 45 degrees. Any Irishman would be horrified to see it poured any other way.

If you’re ever in Ireland, simply walk into any bar and ask for the good stuff and you’ll be handed a pint of Guinness.

The Irish Car Bomb – For the Competitive Irish

The Irish Car Bomb is a pretty simple shot. And yes it is a shot, even though it includes drinking a pint of Guinness! However, the name of the drink is not so simple, and is in fact quite controversial. The name Irish Car Bomb is in reference to the extreme tactics used by the Provisional Republic Irish Army (a.k.a the IRA). The IRA was a series of movements in Ireland during the 20th and 21st centuries dedicated to Irish republicanism. For centuries Ireland suffered until British rule. Today, the majority of Ireland is independent, except for Northern Ireland which is still apart of Britain. Tensions still exist especially between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.

But basically the Irish Car Bomb encompasses every key Irish drink and liquor you should be consuming on St. Patrick’s Day.  Remember to drink fast.. it is a shot after all.  Here’s your recipe:


Guinness Stout

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Baileys Irish Cream

* Kahlua (Part of the original recipe, but is often left out)


  1. Fill your pint glass 3/4 the way with Guinness
  2. Fill the shot glass halfway with Jameson
  3. Fill the rest of the shot glass with Baileys (and/or Kahlua)
  4. Quickly drop the shot glass into the pint glass
  5. Chug! Chug! Chug!

And finally, St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a quick Irish saying. Cheers!

Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one! 

Photography by Maggie Russell

Home Cooked and Handmade: Become a Better Cook in College


By Kate Miller

cooking class-1

Maitri Patel comes home from a typical day exhausted. As a pre-med student at the University of Kansas, she spends her classes cranking numbers, memorizing anatomical parts and attending meetings with the pre-med club.

Coming into her apartment, Patel drops her backpack and puts away her things. Instead of collapsing on the bed for a nap, however, she makes her way to the kitchen, where she pulls out vegetables and starts her rice cooker.

As she chops celery and brussel sprouts, her mind goes into autopilot and she lets her hands do the thinking. The constant motion of the knife, combined with the savory aroma of the cooking rice, soothes her brain and the tension dissipates from her shoulders. At the end of the half-hour of preparation, she feeds her relaxed body with a healthy, home cooked meal – invigorating her to tackle tonight’s round of homework assignments.

Patel’s kitchen, though, isn’t the norm for college students. The stereotype that all we eat is ramen noodles and Chinese takeout? Well, it’s true.

A 2014 survey by GrubHub Inc and Spoon University found that, when it comes to ordering food, 10 percent of all college orders include pizza and of the top 10 foods ordered for take-out by students, five of them are Chinese dishes.

It’s easy to see why cheap, easy ordering is so popular among college students: for many of them, college is the first time they’re solely responsible for feeding themselves. Once they’ve moved into someplace with their own kitchen and no chef at their whim, many are clueless.

Paige Vandegrift, a private chef located in Kansas City, says the reason for this is simple – college students today haven’t grown up learning to cook at their mother or grandmother’s elbow and they’re not going to magically develop those skills in college, she says. “[To learn how to cook,] you either have to be a person of great discipline or thrown into a position where you’re forced into it,” she said. “You have to make the commitment; you’re not going to get it right the first time.”

Patel knows that feeling. While she grew up learning to cook by watching her mother, she had never cooked before moving into an apartment – and her first foray into food making was a disaster. She remembers making Tollhouse cookies from a package, burning them, and having to toss out the whole batch. “Cooking is difficult for everyone,” she says. “My mom didn’t let me cook at home because she’d make four entrees rather than just the one I could, so when I got [to my apartment], I had to work at it.”

Commitment is just the first step in learning how to cook. The next step? Finding easy, healthy, quick recipes that fit your cooking experience — no matter what it may be. Kelsey Fortin, a health educator at the University of Kansas who teaches free monthly cooking classes, recommends looking for those recipes online and in cookbooks specifically designed for the broke college student.

cooking class-5

Vandegrift says cooking classes are a good option, but the best option comes from learning from someone you know and being exposed to do-it-yourself cooking as often as possible.

For Sash Alm, another University of Kansas student, do-it-yourself cooking is the only kind she knows. As a Kuwaiti who came to the United States for college, her passion for cooking is cultural. She cooked for her parents at home, and as a college student, constantly experiments with new recipes. She attended one of Fortin’s cooking classes to find healthier recipes.

“I really started looking for healthier ways to cook since I came here to America,” she says. “I used to just eat fast foods, but all of a sudden, I realized it’s not really that tasty. Yes, it’s yummy; yes, it’s satisfying, but it’s not tasty. So I started trying to cook things that are filled with vegetables and eat more fruits and get to taste the natural taste of foods.”

Some of the best foods you can eat to get that natural taste are the versatile staple items: brown rice, black beans, leafy vegetables. Fortin advises, for the sake of cost, that meals include items in season to get the most out of your budget and the most nutritional value. Frozen and canned foods aren’t a bad choice, as long as they’re free of the preservative liquid full of salt and other unhealthy chemicals.

But cooking for yourself isn’t just an issue of health. For many, including Alm, cooking provides a therapeutic way to wind down at the end of the day, a way to express your creativity, and an opportunity to communicate and bond with who you’re cooking for.

Fortin says cooking provides a break from the stress of classes and academics. “When you cook, you’re using your body instead of your mind for a little while, letting your mind academically take a break, and letting your hands and body do the work,” she says.

Vandegrift, who worked for an insurance company before she attended the Cordon Bleu in (London), says cooking gives her tangible, short-term rewards for her work – being able to see the “fruit of her labors,” so to say. “To me, the value of sitting down with freshly-prepared food, I think that’s very valuable,” she says. “It’s easy to buy prepared food, but in the long run, the ability to prepare a meal for yourself is worth the time and energy and commitment it takes up front to figure out how to cook.”

Photography by Ikeadi Ndukwu


cooking class-8Looking for an easy recipe to begin cooking? Try this Greek Quinoa and Spinach Salad that Fortin teaches at Watkin’s Health Center’s free cooking classes.


1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 cup water

2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped

1/3 cup (15 oz.) can black beans no salt added, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup shredded fresh spinach

1/3 cup green onions, finely chopped

2 small ripe avocados or one large, chopped

1/6 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine cooked quinoa and water in a small pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  2. Transfer quinoa to a medium bowl. Add tomato, spinach, green onions, avocado, and feta cheese; stir to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, oil, and salt. Add to quinoa mixture and toss to combine.

Serve right away or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.

$20 Challenge: Downtown Dining


By Cassidy Ritter

After eating home cooked meals over break, it’s tough to face microwave ramen or the dining hall menu again. But as a college student, you have the ultimate superpower: thriftiness. Time to dust off that budget sheet and see how far you can make your dollar stretch. This weekend, we’ve got a brand new $20 challenge to keep you from going hungry or going broke.

On average, KU students say they spend $10 to $30 eating out on the weekend. College students’ time is spread thin and their wallets are even thinner. With an average meal costing $12.75 according to The Simple Dollar, it is often a challenge for college students to eat out. So, I left my credit card at home and hit the streets of Lawrence with only $20 in hand. My goal was to eat out all weekend, a total of six meals, on a $20 budget.


I spent $3 at Einstein Bros Bagels on a plain bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. For lunch I enjoyed two chicken tacos at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop totaling $4.34­­– my most expensive meal of the day. Spending only $9.84 on Saturday, day one, I felt I was off to a good start.

For Saturday’s dinner, my roommates and I went to McAlister’s Deli. We used our student football tickets to get $5 off our meals. With the coupon, the Stud Max, a baked potato, cost $2.50. This meal was a large portion of two loaded potatoes that could easily count for two meals.


Student Money Management Services employee Deanna Ambrose, a junior from Frankfort, Kansas, says if students are going to eat out they are better off paying more money for a filling meal that can result in leftovers for a second meal.

On Sunday I knew I needed to be picky about where I ate if I was going to make it through the weekend with $10.16 left in my pocket. My roommates suggested I indulge in fast food restaurants. Andrea Fogarty, a junior from Chicago, and Abbey Leis, a senior from Leawood, Kansas, say they eat at Wendy’s or Taco Bell when they need to save money. I steered clear of fast food restaurants because in my eyes, they were a cop-out.

Choosing not to eat breakfast at a fast food restaurant, I spent $1.72 on a strawberry knot and glazed doughnut at Munchers Bakery Sunday morning. For lunch I enjoyed two slices of pepperoni pizza and free honey at Pyramid Pizza. The pizza cost $6.01. For dinner, I ordered a single burger at BurgerFi where add-ons like cheese, onions, lettuce and tomato are free. I paid $5.95 for the burger, borrowing $3.52 from my friend to cover what was left to pay when my $20 bill ran out.


Over the course of the weekend I spent $23.52 on meals in Lawrence. After looking at receipts from the weekend, I talked to students at Student Money Management Services who had a few suggestions to other students eating out on a budget. Alex Alexander, a sophomore from Shawnee, Kansas, says if students can wait to eat dinner after 9 p.m. they should go to Chili’s for half price appetizers.

   Tips to Save $$$
Ask for a Student Discount: Though not many restaurants in Lawrence offer them, it never hurts to ask.
Drink water: Most places charge $2 to $2.50 for a soda, so always ask for a water cup.
Choose Carry-Out: Get meals to go to avoid adding a tip to your bill.
Use coupons: Whenever you can! Look for coupons in the student coupon book or planner, with football tickets, and through apps like Eat Street.

Ambrose recommends students to use the app Eat Street. “The more you use it to order food, the more coupons you get,” says Ambrose.

While it is nearly possible to eat out in Lawrence on just $20, it’s not the healthiest option. After six meals of doughnuts, pizza and any other bready delight Lawrence had to offer, I was ready to eat a homemade meal. My body and mind were sluggish and in desperate need of a detox. I ate bad meals because they were the cheaper option. I probably would not have made it through six healthy meals at restaurants on a $20 budget.




The Breakdown:


1)   Einstein Bros Bagels: Bagel with smear, water cup = $3
2)   Fuzzy’s Taco Shop: Two chicken tacos, water cup = $4.34
3)   McAlister’s Deli: baked potato (Spud Max), water cup = $2.50 (w/ $5 coupon from football ticket), could have counted as two meals


1)   Muncher’s Bakery: strawberry knot (.90), glazed doughnut (.60) = $1.72
2)   Pyramid Pizza: Two slices of pepperoni pizza (walk in), water cup, free honey = $6.01
3)   BurgerFi: single cheeseburger with onions, lettuce, tomato (all free add-ons) = $5.95

Total weekend costs = $23.52

LFK’s Best Kept Secret? Pie.


Pie display

By Cassidy Ritter

Ladybird Diner, at 721 Mass. St., is known for its specialty pies. We went behind the scenes with Ladybird bakers to see how the magic happens.

Walking into Ladybird Diner, I am welcomed by smiling faces, upbeat music and loud chattering throughout the room. To my left is a white bar with red, circular stools. Waitresses gracefully slide from the bar to tables throughout the room. I’ve walked into a 70s diner with a modern day twist.

Homemade pie is one of the life’s simple delicacies many people take for granted. That is, until you are a college student who no longer gets the luxury of homemade meals much less homemade pie. Luckily, this is what Ladybird is known for.

Ladybird was closed for almost five months after a fire ripped through the diner on March 3, 2015. Megan Heirford, owner of Ladybird, says the thought of staying closed never entered her mind. The diner reopened on August 13, 2015 bringing customers new and old through the door. “This time around I’m blown away by how people must have really missed it because we are selling more pies than ever.”

Once introduced to the staff, I am led downstairs to an unfinished hallway with a bright white room at the end. This is where the pie magic begins. Heirford introduces me to two bakers. They will show me the ins and outs of crafting the perfect homemade pie.   

On the weekends Ladybird serves about 600-700 customers and goes through about 250 pies a week. “We just fly through pies,” says Heirford. “There are some days we’re throwing them in the oven as quickly as we’re selling them. We run out of a flavor or two a day.”

Due to the high demand for pie, Ladybird bakes 45 pies at a time. “We start with frozen butter and keep everything as cold as we can,” says Heirford. The frozen butter is mixed into the dough and individually wrapped into 11-ounce portions, says Chris Shaw, baker at Ladybird. The dough then freezes for two to 12 hours while the filling is made.

Cherry filling

“You can’t just whip out a pie really,” says Heirford. “When you’re talking about dough if what you want is a result that’s going to be flaky but still have good structure then it needs to not be overworked and not rushed so things need to stay cold. So we start with really cold ingredients.”

Megan Lees, baker at Ladybird, mixes frozen fruit, cornstarch and about 14 cups of sugar over a conduction burner. When this mix begins to bubble the smell of sweet strawberries, rhubarb or cherry fills the air. Lees says this is about a 45-minute process.

Once the filling is cooled, the frozen dough is rolled out and placed in a pie tray. The filling is then added and crust is delicately placed on top of the colorful filling. The pie is then placed in the freezer overnight. The next morning the pie is placed in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes ready to be served by 8 a.m.

Adding pie topping

Ladybird offers six to eight pies at a time, but has 50 pie variations. “One day it’s cherry rhubarb, and the next it’s blueberry rhubarb, and then it’s strawberry rhubarb,” says Heirford. “So it all kind of circles around this core group of fruits and custard bases that we work from but we combine them different ways so that it stays lively.”

Eric Pahls, senior from Beloit, Kan., visited Ladybird with his mother for a Sunday brunch that promised huge portions, a home cooked meal and a pie with a twist. Pahls ordered a slice of the Brown Butter Whisky pie topped with fluffy whip cream.

“I actually got a couple pieces and still have one in my refrigerator and I’m just waiting for a time where it’s socially acceptable to eat it,” he says.

The pie was “euphoric,” he says. The texture is similar to that of a pumpkin pie, but not as thick, and the sweet caramel taste is balanced well with the bitter whisky. Pahls says he’s had classic homemade pies before, like cherry and apple, but never anything like this.  

Ladybird Diner

Aside from their famous pies, Ladybird offers an assortment of food ranging from breakfasts, burgers, and home cooked meals like pea-less chicken pot pie, doughnuts and hand-dipped milkshakes.

A piece of advice around town: “Get there early, they run out of pie.”

Photos by Cassidy Ritter

It’s Called Impromptu for a Reason


By Alec Weaver

Impromptu Cafe

It comes as a welcome shock that I’ve found myself enjoying a crispy pork belly gyro with a cup of tomato bisque in the Kansas Union. Like many students, my experience with food on campus has pretty much been limited to grabbing a chicken-cheddar wrap or a mass–produced plastic box of sushi between classes, but here at the Impromptu café in the Kansas Union, the hustle of campus seems miles away.

The Impromptu Café is a bizarre culinary entity at KU. It is staffed by the university’s catering service and students, and yet retains its identity as a genuine restaurant. After spending some time with the staff, who are more a family than co-workers, I am ashamed to admit that this is the first time I’ve actually stepped foot into the place and eaten the food prepared as ordered by the Impromptu’s head cook Chris Clark.

Clark, like others who make the impromptu tick, comes from a restaurant background. The line cook, who looks a lot like comedian Jon Lajoie, learned his trade from growing up in the restaurants his parents started. “I’ve been doing restaurant stuff for about eight to 10 years now,” he tells me while stocking his prep station with ice to keep all of the cooler ingredients as fresh as possible until plating. The Wichita native took a brief hiatus from the culinary world when he accepted a job doing tech support for the university, but in July of 2014 found himself right back in food service and accepted a position with KU’s Dining Services. “I guess I just can’t leave it. It’s in my blood,” he tells me.

Clark is just about the most easy-going guy you’ll meet. It seems nothing gets to him, even when Kim Nixon, manager for the Impromptu comes to him in the middle of the lunch rush to tell him that they have a customer with 32 food allergies. Nixon and Clark manage to hammer out a special order in a little under a minute, plain grilled chicken breast and wilted greens. As Chris gets the order started, Nixon returns to the dining room, what’s commonly referred to in the restaurant industry as the “front of the house.”  She tells me that in addition to two groups of six from the university, she also saw a lot of visiting “nametags” walking around on campus. “We shouldn’t be too busy today,” she told me, “but then again, you can’t ever be certain of anything in a restaurant,” Nixon says “It’s called Impromptu for a reason.”

                    Impromptu Cafe
Hours: 11 am-2 pm Monday-Friday, when classes are in session + Stop Day and Finals Week
Location: Level 3 of Kansas Union
Price: $10 or less! View the full menu here.

Nixon is simultaneously mother hen and Don Corleone of the Impromptu, and like Clark, she too has a long history in the foodservice industry. “As you can see, I never really had a chance,” she says, her blue eyes beaming from behind her multi-colored glasses as she holds a picture of her father sitting in the kitchen with her as an infant. “I was literally raised in the kitchen.” For the first few years of her life, her crib was in the kitchen of her family’s small apartment. It is apparent that her father, a cook in the National Guard and later for BSNF railroad, was a great influence on her. She takes down a hardback, railroad recipe book from the bookshelf behind the cash register and flips to a bookmarked recipe, a published recipe of her father’s.

Since her childhood in the kitchen, Nixon has spent 31 years in the restaurant industry, mainly sticking to front-of-house positions, and it is her veteran mettle that has made her an integral part of the Impromptu since it opened in February 2008. Her day starts at 8 am Two hours before anyone else arrives to work the restaurant. Between 8 and 9 a.m. Nixon has already checked the dates on the prepped food in the refrigerator, made notes on what she needs made fresh and what she needs to order for the next big shipment of food. Once she’s taken stock of what’s in Impromptu’s kitchen, she’s off to what Nixon describes as the “Mother Ship” next door.

Across the hall, in the belly of KU dining services’ massive kitchen hub, a buzzing hive of cooks, bakers and dishwashers are all hard at work performing the various tasks needed to feed the university. Kim must snake her way back to the walk-in cooler where she must once again note what’s available before writes her final food order on the whiteboard next to the heavy metal door. She works her way to the back of the kitchen, where the chef de cuisine describes the day’s specials to her. There will be a roasted tomato and bell pepper bisque today as well as a shrimp nacho plate with chipotle black beans  and what Nixon jokes are “the usual suspects,” i.e. salsa and cilantro.

Once we finish up in the “Mother Ship,” its back over to the dining room of the Impromptu where Kim makes the necessary preparations for her serving crew who will be arriving shortly. She stock’s their bill folders with plenty of tickets and draws up their zones on a laminated chart of the 16-table brasserie. Later I will come to find out that these dry-erase borders don’t mean much, as the close-knit crew operates with maximum efficiency. Each of the three servers help wherever they are needed, while Kim floats from table to table taking care of guests’ needs in between visits from their respective waiter or waitress. “It really is like a family here,” says Paige Kime, one of the seniors on the Impromptu’s wait staff. While I ate with them at the end of the work shift, her co-workers echoed her sentiment, especially Ben Honeycutt, a junior who applied to serve at the Impromptu for two years before finally being hired in February. “I just really wanted to work here,” he says, “I was just blown away by the work environment.”

The Impromptu is not the first restaurant to inhabit the Kansas Union. Before it opened its doors seven years ago, the union has been home to five other restaurants, three of which have occupied the space that Impromptu currently calls home, and with its student-budget friendly menu ($10.00 and under) the Impromptu isn’t going anywhere soon. Despite only being open for lunch between 11 a.m. to 2  p.m, Nixon is there for a full eight hours, making preparations so that the day can run smoothly without a hitch.

Aside from the food itself, the environment of the Impromptu is truly remarkable. The warm palate of decor complements the warmth of the staff; it is an oasis for students, faculty and visitors alike. A place to just have a little time for yourself away from the mad rush of the campus that can at times feel like a micro-city. I know that as I sat, eating off of an actual plate, using actual silverware, I wasn’t thinking of graduation or finals or careers, in that moment I was merely thinking of how good that pork belly gyro tasted.

Photo courtesy of Impromptu Cafe.

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