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Twins' blog adds flavor, flair to Ratty fare

Can you have your Ratty cake and eat it too? With recipes from the new blog "Ratty Gourmet," launched earlier this month by twins Connie Wu '13 and Annie Wu '13, you can — using just a dash of creativity and a few simple ingredients from the Sharpe Refectory or the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall.

With vivid color pictures of their creations — such as blueberry banana waffles and turkey cranberry quesadillas — and step-by-step guides to making them, Connie and Annie have created a site where students can also submit their own recipes or look for inspiration.

While the only recipes currently featured at are the twins', they "want to make it a huge database," Connie said. "It wouldn't just be our blog, it would be everyone at Brown's."

"It you're nerdy enough and analyze your food, I think anyone can be a good cook," Connie added.

The sisters' love for edible creations began in seventh grade, when they took a cooking class and enjoyed their first taste of the culinary world, Connie said.

But their appetite for fun with food didn't end in the kitchen. During their senior year of high school, the twins started their first food blog: "Artful Food," a collection of photos and commentary about the creations they cooked up.

"It's really immersing yourself in food," Connie said, "trying to imagine what it tastes like."

After starting their freshman year at Brown, the twins found that they "really missed baking," Annie said. To satisfy their urge to create delicious concoctions, the sisters started their second blog, "Ratty Gourmet."

Annie had heard that "after a while" the selection at the Ratty seems "drab," she said. "A big part of that is presentation." The twins hope their new blog — replete with striking photos — "make it a little more appealing, more appetizing," Annie said.

Originally, they wanted to share their recipes and photos in a newsletter, but due to the costs of printing and distribution, they decided a blog was easier, Connie said.

The costs and complications of printing color photos were key to their decision, Annie said, calling the blog "super convenient."

The Ratty tried in the past to create a place to house student recipes that used its ingredients, Connie said. But, because of the excessive number of recipes the binder accumulated and food's penchant to splatter on it, the idea didn't pan out.

Though the pair works at the Ratty on Saturdays, their passion for food goes beyond the walls of Brown's main dining hall. Both sisters are avid viewers of the Food Network, citing "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," "Good Eats" and "Chopped" as some of their favorites.

In "Chopped," chefs compete against the clock and each other to create a dish from a basket full of mystery ingredients that, when revealed, initially seem like an odd combination of flavors.

"It reminds me of the Ratty," Connie said. "You have all these ingredients waiting to be discovered."

Connie is currently taking BIOL0190E: "Botanical Roots of Modern Medicine" and is writing a paper about "how tea affects appetite," she said. She also created a meatball mask in a studio foundation art class.

"Food is going to be a huge part of my life no matter what I do," Connie said.



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