Posted: November 7, 2017

I’m here to identify leaves and eat food, and right now I’m fresh out of leaves.

Here at the Center for Rainforest Studies we are well fed. At breakfast you can eat kiwis until your mouth tingles, and then eat more until you’re suddenly seven kiwis in and your friends think you have a problem but you can stop whenever, but you don’t because you just need your vitamin C. You can do it at lunch too, if it suits you. Breakfast selection also includes a bunch of other cereals, fruits, yogurts, eggs, and avocado toast all cooked and prepared exactly to your liking because you have to do it.

Lunch is when you get to flex your creativity. After the counter has been sanitized for leptospirosis, it becomes your palette. Containers, side by side, full of chicken, pepperonis, lettuce, pineapple, beets, onions, carrots, cheeses, and an expanse more. Your canvas: a tortilla of the finest flour, or bread slices – snow white or deep and wheaty. If you’re more into the abstract you can just throw everything into a shiny tin bowl. Once you whip something up, if you’re feeling spicy, there are lots of sauces and dressings to choose from. You can press your wrap or sandwich on a griddle, too. You can’t press a bowl, though. Lunch will also often have a special extra something from the kitchen, or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. We’ll get to that. When it’s not meal time, there’s a reach in fridge that’s always stocked with snacks to choose from throughout the day. There are plenty of healthy and indulgent options to choose from during meals and for snacks.

Through the annals of creation many great artists have come and gone; some sung of, and others lost to time. Canonized among the greats are those such as the skillful Picasso, the curious Marie Curie, and whoever invented sliced bread. We call them inventors, visionaries, and even geniuses. I call them Marianne and Ricky.

Okay, so there are two chefs named Marianne and Ricky who make bomb dinners and other snacks to boot. Ricky cooked for the first half of this semester (we miss him dearly) and Marianne has taken over for the rest of the program. Both cook a staggering variety of the kind of food you need after a long day of chasing brush turkeys. You want lasagna? Well how about some baked salmon with lemon and roasted pumpkin slices? Chicken parm and honey carrots the next night? Oh, you are vegetarian? I got you some bean burgers. Vegan? Here’s a specially prepared dish. Gluten free, too? You will eat as lords do. Everyone’s dietary needs are covered. We also have celebrity features from our SAMs: Mike, Anne, and Jade. They made us churros in the middle of the night during field exercises as a study break, just so you can get an approximation of how spoiled we are.

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Send him to the Center for Rainforest Studies, and he will eat exceptionally well for three months.

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