Students Show Appetite for Food Writing

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When Alex Marcus was three years old, he went to visit his grandparents on Long Island. “They asked me what I wanted to eat, and I said Malaysian food,” the Wharton junior remembers, retelling the old family story. His patient, loving hosts chuckled and took the Manhattan toddler to the best place they could think of. “They figured, ‘He’s three years old, what does he know?’” Marcus says. “But when the food came, I said, ‘This isn’t Malaysian! It’s Chinese!’ I guess the rest is history.”

Marcus isn’t alone. Foodies are everywhere these days, and Penn is no exception. So it’s no wonder that one of the most engaging student publications of recent vintage is Penn Appetit

Launched by Emma Morgenstern C’10 in 2007 as a black-and-white pamphlet inspired by a food-writing class she took from former Penn senior writing fellow Tom Devaney (now a visiting assistant professor of English at Haverford College), the magazine has come into its own as a biannual glossy targeting the University’s growing contingent of epicures. Over the last year editor-in-chief Elise Dihlman-Malzer, a senior, has filled its pages with everything from an exploration of the history of catfish and waffles (a forgotten icon of 19th-century Philadelphia dining), to recipes for pickled beet eggs and homemade marshmallows, to a super-close-up photo of snow-white tripe. Marcus became the third editor-in-chief at the start of this semester.

Penn Appetit recently won the top prize—and a few others—in the Penn Publications Cooperative awards, which are sponsored by The New York Times. Check out the magazine and its blog at —T.P.

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