Graduate Student Spotlights

Chelsea Morse

Food Studies

Briefly tell us why you chose your program:
After many years post-undergrad working in art administration and considering a museum studies degree, an epiphany made me aware that art is not my passion - but food is! I began searching for a program that would marry my love of fine dining, soulful cooking, and creative thinking and expression. Steinhardt's Food Studies program offered the perfect blend of theory, practice, culture, and social awareness.
A book I would never sell:
Mark Winne's "Closing the Food Gap." An optimistic view of the possibility of changing American foodways.
My inspiration is:
Our garden plot. Nothing feels better than spending an afternoon pulling weeds and then enjoying a salad of lettuces still warm from the sun.
Something I collect:
Recipes! I am always on the lookout for new things to cook, particularly involving whole grains and/or kale. I'm a sucker for leafy greens. And brussels sprouts.
Why I went to Graduate School:
My brain needed a kick start after a series of dull post-college administrative jobs. I missed critical thinking, and engaging with folks who cared about food as much as I do.
The longest paper I've ever written:
My undergraduate thesis. I wrote 100 pages on photographer Nan Goldin's self-portraiture, when the requirements only dictated that I write 20 pages. Once I got started, I was so excited that I couldn't stop.
The professor who influenced me the most:
Professor Jerry Irish, a religious studies professor at Pomona College, who advised me never to worry about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life yet. "If people ask, tell 'em you're going to be a neurosurgeon. That'll shut them up." His humor saved me from taking myself too seriously and from feeling like I needed to have all the answers.
My favorite coffee:
Oren's. Especially when it's warm out, and I don't have to wait in the line outside in the frigid cold.
If I could take a year off I would:
Return to Nepal, where I conducted my undergrad study abroad research. I'd spend more time learning and absorbing cooking techniques in the kitchen, now that I know the translations of all the spices!
My secret passion is:
LOST. it's so embarrassing, but I've come to terms with it.
The best invention ever is:
My immersion blender. I couldn't live without it. I use it every single day.

Background Information

Where you grew up:
Mystic, CT. Have you seen "Mystic Pizza"? that's my town.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I'd like to be writing about food for a magazine or newspaper. Someday, I dream of owning a bed and breakfast with a small farm.
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
Pomona College Scholar
Community Service and Other Activities:
Member of Board of Visitors, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Natick, MA