Thursday, 10 April 2014

Vassar College Eating Club #2 Deece Stroganoff

Deece Stroganoff

Alright all you Deece-goers, ready to shake things up? Well, here's a recipe that's guaranteed to make your tastebuds think they've died and gone to heaven. We decided to prepare this dish using beef, but you can easily substitute it out for chicken, tofu, or some of your favorite veggies. Also, we used a reduced tomato-based soup as the sauce's foundation, but you can use any soup available at the deece–the creamier the better!


Cook time: 13-15 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Vegetarian: No
Course: Main 


  • 1 Bowl of ACDC Hungarian Mushroom Soup
  • 5-7 Strips of beef from carving station
  • 1/3 cup of half and half
  • 10 halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Mustard seed
  • Pinch of Red pepper
  • Pinch of Paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste

1) Reduce soup in a preheated pan on high. Although we used Hungarian Mushroom, many soups can be substituted based on what is available at the Deece.

2) When soup begins to thicken, stir in 1/3 half and half, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil.

3) After the half and half is thoroughly and evenly mixed in, add salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in one pinch of mustard seed, red pepper, and paprika.

4) After a minute or two, reduce heat to medium-high and add beef to pan. Let this cook for 5-8 minutes. Although this recipe uses beef, you can substitute in chicken, tofu, or some stir-fried veggies based on your dietary preferences.

5) Remove from pan when the meat has absorbed some of the sauces's color. Serve over a bed of rice, quinoa, or other grain or with a simple side salad like we did.

6) Glance around at the other Deece goers who didn't cook their own food; revel in your accomplishment and find solace in the fact that you have lived to deece another day.

If you are interested in getting involved with this column, would like to help cook and photograph, or have any scrumptious Deece recipes you'd like to contribute, please email Michael Gambardella at or send a message to the Vassar Contrast Facebook Page. The more the merrier!

Peace, Love, and Bacon Grease,
VC Eating Club

Prepared by: Michael Gambardella, Amy Sullivan, and Saskia Comess
Photography: Amy Sullivan

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Vassar College Eating Club #1: The Menu

All Campus Dining Center (ACDC, aka "the Deece"), photo:

Hello Hello Students,

Ever feel like the our All Campus Dining Center has let you down? Are your Deece meals more appropriate for Tumblr's Dimly Lit Meals for One than they are for human consumption? Well then does Contrast have just the fix for you!

Our newest column, the "Vassar College Eating Club", is a weekly publication committed to bringing you quick and easy recipes that transfigure basic ingredients from the Deece into delicious and nutritious meals. 

Our goal is to bring the student body an alternative to campus-cuisine that is:

  • Cost and time efficient
  • Tasty and delicious
  • Fun and simple
  • Healthy and diverse
  • Guaranteed to make you stop uttering the phrase "I feel full, but not satisfied" when describing your dining experience

Retro Vassar Dining, photo:

The VC Eating Club will be experimenting with a variety of ways to utilize those asymptotic remaining meal swipes that never seem to approach zero. Our recipes will use both the hot plate stations at the Deece as well as your dorm/TH/TA kitchen, so get ready to cook no matter what your culinary situation may be!

Curious as to what our first recipe's going to be? Well here's a riddle:

What starts out beefy and saucy, yet becomes thick and mushroom-capped before it reaches your mouth? What is tender and pink to the eye, yet smokey and savory to the tongue?

No clue? Well, I guess you'll all just have to wait and see what's cookin' next week here at the VC Eating Club!

Peace, Love, and Seasoning,
Michael Gambardella, Amy Sullivan, and Saskia Comess

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sneak Peak: Stepping Off Campus

Behind the Scenes of Contrast's Latest Photo Shoot

Exec Board recently took a cast of models and photographers to the Poughkeepsie train station to get a few shots for Contrast's upcoming magazine; this semester's theme is getting off campus. Here's a sneak peak of what you can expect to find in the Spring 2014 edition.

So we took to Poughkeepsie,
Adorned in neon and black.


After some waiting around and a transportation hiccup or two, we started to shoot.

Photographers: Rachel Garbade, Jacob Gorski, and Jake Solomon.

Women's Style done by Margot Mayer and Olga Voyazides

Editor & Chief, Emilia Petrarca

Men's Style done by Christopher Farrell

Photography: Michael Gambardella

Thursday, 13 February 2014

VC Voice: Valentine's Day Reclaimed No Longer a Couple's Holiday

Photo Credit:

If the thought of Valentines Day makes you nauseated, youre far from alone. For years, generations of us singles have groaned at the sight of chalky candy hearts and corny Hallmark cards. For those of us seeking romance, V-Day serves as a glaring reminder of  our solitude, rubbing salt into an already aching wound. And for those of us who happily choose to fly solo, it always seems to give the nagging feeling that we’re doing something wrong.

In elementary school Februrary 14th was the best day of the year, but there comes a time when we all have to dismantle those little paper mailboxes filled with love notes, sticky cherry-red heart lollipops, and pink tinfoil-wrapped chocolates and accept the harsh fact that we don't get goodies in the real world. Instead, we just throw boxes of chocolates at the TV screen (Legally Blonde style).

Photo Credit:
But, WAIT; it doesn’t have to be like this. Isnt Valentines Day supposed to be about love? Who says that love has to be limited to romantic affection? Maybe Parks and Recreations Leslie Knope had the right idea when she coined the term Galentines Day,a day to celebrate the love between you and your closest friends with food, dancing, and laughtera day to clink your glasses to the eternal bonds of camaraderie! Even more importantly, why not celebrate the love you have for yourself rather than fixating on someone elses validation? What could be a more appropriate time to celebrate the fact that youre single, free, and happy?

Vassar students are starting to catch on to this feel-good V-day wave. First-year Anna Blum could not be more excited to be a single lady this February 14th, saying, Single [students] take on a defeatist attitude around this time of year. They deny a lot of positive energy and love they receive if its not romantic [] I think [they] are doing themselves a disservice by worrying about finding a romantic partnership, thinking that the most important thing is having a date for Valentines Day. Sometimes, the happiest and most full-of-love encounters can be found in friendships.” 

This sentiment is being echoed around campus, resulting in manifold celebrations of different kinds. Some choose to go the festive routeSamantha Guss, 17, says shes hosting a Galentines Day bash with her girlfriends. We wanted an excuse to eat cheese, sans hookup anxiety,she laughs. Others choose to stay in and enjoy the time to themselves, savoring a welcome chance to relax. Im so looking forward to just ordering in food and watching movies,says first year Rachel Marklyn. To be honest, that sounds better to me than any conventional Valentines Day date.” 

  Come February 14th, we will all be celebrating Valentines Day in our own wayand it deserves to be a good one, regardless of relationship status.

Photo Credit:
Written by: Faith Hill
Edited by: Michael Gambardella

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Contrast Launch Party!!!!!

Saturday Night Style Profiles

What Would You Don?

It's Saturday night and you're about to hit up the THs, TAs, (dreaded) Mug, or maybe even College Ave. if you're feeling adventurous in this weather; what do you slap on?

Sylvia Haigh, 2016

How would you describe your style?  Honestly, I dress like more grunge than girls. I love beaded accessories and usually throw a whole bunch on! I'm really into comfy pants and socks.

Where do you buy your clothes from? Brandy Meville, Urban Outfitters, and also hand me downs.

What are you wearing now? Funky different beads and jewelry from different countries. I really think my hair adds a twist to the sweet, innocent blonde girl look; it helps me stand out.

Isabella Luksh, 2016 

How do you usually decide what to buy when shopping for yourself? I usually walk into a popular store and pick the wildest thing ever and add my own twist to it to make it original and my style. I mean if everyone was wearing the same cute sweater from Forever 21 that would be so blah! So, I overlook the sweater and snatch the pair of crazy patterned leggings instead!

Where you buy your clothes? Topshop, Asos, & Thrift Stores.

And, what are you wearing now? Saturday nights are all about wearing fun things! I would never wear these clothes to class so I like to show a little skin once a week.

Nathalie Freeman, 2017

How would you define your style? My style is eclectic; some days I look like a normal girl from Nebraska and some days I look like I'm trying to fit in at Vassar.

Where you buy your clothes?  Free People and Urban Outfitters.

How would you describe the outfit your wearing right now? Tonight, my outfit shows off my love of earthy tones. By covering my legs, it makes my exposed midriff stand in contrast against the dark colors of my top and bottom.

Saturday Night: Picking Out "The Outfit"


Sometimes it feels like we are expected to look a certain way or fit a certain mold when dressing here at Vassar, but it's important to cut loose every once in a while. You know, we all need to go out, have fun, cut a rug, and maybe even put on sometime a little sexy every now and again! Saturday night is the perfect time to break out of your shell.

Interview and Photography: Parisa Halaji

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A Week in Her Boots: Ryan Holguin, Journal #1


Who: Ryan Holguin
From: Los Angeles, CA
House: Josselyn
Year: 2017 Field of Interest: Biology/Art History

Journal #1

In the 1954 film A Star is Born, Norman Maine advises aspiring actress Vicki Lester, “Don’t settle for the little dream. Go on to the big one.” While I am not an aspiring 1950s actress, I did go on to dress with this in mind everyday. I try to wear clothing that will make me feel happy throughout the entire day. 

For example, when I took the SATs, I chose to wear a powder blue, 1950s dress with oxfords instead of sweatpants and a hoodie. I was the only person in the room who was happy about anything.

Personal style is very important to me because I often use it as a kind of diary entry. What I wear that day is how I woke up feeling and how I hope to feel. There are days when I am Grace Kelly on her wedding day and other days, I might as well be an extra on My So Called Life. This is how I felt this week:

Day 1:

“Never say never” when browsing the defective clothing on sale. I found this silk dress with a sticker on it and a stain maybe smaller than this font. I did not pay $80 for it and I did get the stain off. Made my mom proud. I am not entirely sure how to wear these socks yet. At least I knew I had cats on my feet, looking out for me.

Day 2:

Today felt like an Angela Chase sort of day. I woke up with a lot feelings so I was ready to dress “90s high school.” The dress was a purchase in San Francisco three years ago. I knew I would wear for years to come. It’s a great go-to without exerting too much effort. The long sleeve shirt is very important to me. My father bought it thirty years ago in Quebec on one my parents’ first trips together. My dad didn’t get much use out of it because in Los Angeles 50° weather is terrifying. I cut the bottom and hemmed it to fit me. I strongly suggest learning how to sew. Take an intro class over break. You will save money by avoiding the tailor and everything can look exactly the way you wanted it to. 

I found my shoes on Etsy and they are pretty sturdy. However, they mysteriously do not have any type of label or marking on them. I don’t really want to know why, so I don’t ask questions. My socks remind me of my AP Spanish teacher in high school. One day, she made a point of telling us that her favorite color was dusty rose. Browsing the sale page on needsupply, I found these “dusty rose” APC socks that were on sale. Like, really on sale. It was a great purchase and getting the actual package in the mail made it worth the wait.

A lot of people in high school thought I was a witch doctor. I just really like bones but not in weird, creepy way. They’re beautiful to me and maybe I am a witch doctor. I made this headband by hot glue gunning coyote toe bones onto the top.

Day 2 Photography by: Clare Neal 

Day 3:

So I may or may not have worn a dark mustard suit to my senior prom. I had already gone two years before that and it was time to wear what I really wanted to. Guess who was the most comfortable girl there? Yep. Me. Well, the pants are from the suit, which I am glad I can wear again. You can’t wear a lot of prom dresses again unless you went to prom three years in a row. For a suit, it was great quality and reasonably priced at Zara. In the next few sentences you’re either going to hate me or love me. My shirt is a Comme des Garçons shirt from their PLAY collection. I wasn’t about to pay $150+ for a shirt but I wanted it; I dreamt of it—I’m not joking. I finally found one on eBay for less than 25% of the original price. Resale queen alert.

My shoes are used Dr. Martens but they are actually pointed unlike rounded, combat boots. 

Pro-Tip: If you’re scared of wearing used shoes or if you’re going to wear used shoes at all, swabbing the inside with rubbing alcohol is wise.

At the end of the day, I added multiple layers. Here is a picture of me in the library looking like “Big Edie” Beale and “Little Edie” Beale of the documentary Grey Gardens. Never be ashamed to look like a crazy person especially if its 40 degrees outside.

Day 4:

This is a picture of me trying to model in my room but it didn’t work. The outfit did work though. 

My friend from high school didn’t want this dress anymore. I gladly took it off her hands. It seems like a handmade vintage dress because there are no labels or lining. 

My headband is from American Apparel. The headband has wire in it so you can wear however you want. I liked this outfit so much, I wore it again to the Decades Dance in the Villard Room. I got bumped around so many times but the headband stayed strong and kept my hair out of my face.

Day 5:

I am always glad to take this dress out of my closet because it means that it is most likely fall. The dress is wool but has ties on the side so it does not  provide coverage on the side. It was cold enough outside that I wore it with a black long sleeve and Uniqlo Heattech tights, which have made my days here infinitely better. Many of the shoes I brought here are not practical because I did not think ahead and I am from Los Angeles. These shoes were a recent purchase. They are Eastland hiking boots. They cradle my foot, so they're very comfortable, but also appropriate for non-hiking endeavors.

Day 6:

I took a risk today and wore two tartan items that were different colors and slightly different patterns. Cher Horowitz wore patterns on patterns in Clueless so I gave myself the okay.

The green skirt is one of my favorite items of clothing that I own. I purchased this Banana Republic skirt for a grand total of $3.00 I bought the skirt at a vintage store down the street from where I live. It smelled really odd but I washed it in boiling water and it has smelled great since. Don’t let a little stank chase you away.

My faux-leather jacket lined with jersey is a recent purchase from Topshop. They killed it this season with outwear. I hope they keep it up. Another recent purchase is the light olive, cashmere beanie I have on. It’s from the Marc Jacobs website in the “Special Items” section, which is probably why it costed a lot less than everything else on the website.

I mentioned earlier that I really like my hiking boots. Well, I wore them again today.

Day 7:

This was my favorite outfit by far. I’m not sure why but this outfit turned out to be animal themed.

My L. L. Bean dress was another purchase from Goodwill. It is one of my favorite pieces because it has pockets and there are very few dresses that provide the luxury of pockets.

Alright, so the sweater. My mom was going through boxes in the garage and found this keeper. This is a sweater that truly makes me happy to wear. It’s easy to wear black and grays every day, but this sweater forces me to wear a color I rarely wear.

Yes, the socks do have geese on them. I purchased them on sale from Hansel and Basel. They came in a two-pack—it was a smart purchase.

I wear these Y. R. U. flats as slippers in my room. They’re really easy to wear with everything, but they also manage to attract attention despite their simple design.

Article by Ryan Holguin, '17
Photography by Imrul Islam, ‘17

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A Behind the Scenes Peek at the Vassar College Drama Department's Performance of "The Way of the World"

Taking a Closer Look Behind the Curtain

Last week's Drama Department production of English playwright, William Congreve's, "The Way of the World" took campus by storm. The three-hour-long Restoration-period comedy premiered at the Martel Theater on November 14th and ran until the 16th. The costumes were prepared by Kenisha Kelly and the set was designed by Stephen Jones. Here are few exclusive photos from behind the scenes.

Photography by: Emily Selter
Written by: Michael Gamabardella