The Pantomime Chef

As a privileged student in the College of Communication, I have the option of forgoing a "traditional" math/science requirement via an exploration of "math-like" classes. Last year, I took a class called "Introduction to Computers" that finally helped me figure out where that elusive power button was on my desktop. This year, I am taking a class entitled "Introduction to Nutrition" - a class in which my final project seriously included one of my friends wearing a bag over his head and pretending to be Dave Thomas. God bless the College of Communication.

The nutrition class has actually been pretty helpful, though. And in this modern world, we need people who know how to cook a delicious, nutritious meal … or at least know of the concepts behind such a feat. Now that Julia Child has dusted off her luggage, sold her kitchen to the Smithsonian and filled her suitcases with wine before moving to California, she has left us only with Emeril and the Iron Chefs to entertain and / or cook for us. While the Iron Chefs may be ridiculously entertaining, I sure as hell ain't eating anything they cook with live squids, crabs or other sea vermin … and we all know Emeril's not in the least bit entertaining - in sitcom form or otherwise. So what is America to do? Eat tubs of margarine with our fingers until we die of malnutrition? Not anymore, America. Not anymore.

For this week, friends and countrymen, I will remove my well-worn pantomime horse suit and instead don a swank chef's hat so that I can share some of my delectable recipes with you. Ranging from sandwiches to full-blown meals, these recipes are guaranteed to fit within the lifestyle, nutritional and sociopolitical needs of college students the world over. And to top it all off, these recipes are high-fat and delicious - because you'll need those five extra layers of fat when you slip on some ice and fall flat on your ass.

First up is my patented "Lightnin' PB&J Foldover Sandwich." For this, all you need to do is be late for some important engagement. Grab a single slice of bread - there's no time for the usual pair - slap some peanut butter on one side, jelly on the other and fold the bread before you run out the door, leaving the mess for someone else to clean up. Perfect for that urban go-getter when he's going toward the getting.

The "Indie Cred" is also nice and easy. For this, all you need is knowledge of an obscure musician, band or style of music. Stir in an $80 Urban Outfitters sweater that looks like it came from a thrift store and let simmer before adding an overwhelming superiority complex. Serve only in the company of those you consider to be cool.

If you're looking for something to spice up your post lunch-break power-walk, then you need to try a batch of "Sidewalk Recognition Burritos." Begin with a year's worth of unexplained silence and throw in some legal council and absurd conspiracy theories. Fold into a tortilla of trite feminist rhetoric and serve at an extremely conspicuous location. Don't forget to dress nice for the cameras!

To create the "Unfounded National Panic BLN," you need to do a little bit of prep work. Preheat your oven to 451. Add a Bible-toting, ineffectual leader, some right-wing nuts (available at your local grocer), legal-sized envelopes and an easily curable disease. Bake for 20 minutes before removing. Let cool and serve with media frenzy, feverishly whipped.

Is family coming over to eat for some reason? Afraid of hearing that "so, where's your girlfriend?" line because it makes you face the undeniably horrible reality of being utterly, utterly alone? Instead of breaking down into tears like a schoolgirl, you need to serve them up the fantasy world that comes along with the "Significant Other Mousse." You can throw this impressive web of trickery together by simply sprinkling some pictures of random people in prominent locations and pretending those people are romantically involved with you. For garnish, invite a friend-in-the-know to dinner, too, and have him or her bring up your imaginary beau and talk about how great he or she is. It's refreshingly deceptive!

There is also, of course, the simple pleasure of a crisp, fresh salad. The "GPA Destruction Deluxe Salad" is guaranteed to make a perfect addition to any lunch or dinner … or breakfast for that matter. Hell, it'll even work at 2 in the morning. It consists of you, your roommates, an N64 console and the game "Super Smash Brothers." In fact, I think I need one of those right now. Get out of my way, orphans! I needs me some 64-bit smack!

If you've enjoyed these recipes, look for more in Casey's upcoming cookbook, "Eat Me," published by Harper-Collins and on the bookshelves just in time for the holidays. Just $19.95 hardcover.