Submitted by Naci Konar-Steenberg

Junior Naci Konar-Steenberg enjoys some hot pannekoeken.

Konar-Steenberg de-stresses in the kitchen

In the stress of a school year divided between in-person and distance learning, junior Naci Konar-Steenberg finds some peace in pannekoeken. Otherwise known as a Dutch baby or Dutch pancake, Konar-Steenberg regularly finds himself making these in his free time off-screen.

“Often, we won’t have something to do during advisory… what I’ll do is I’ll go downstairs. And I will make [it],” Konar-Steenberg said. “I just started making those, and they’re good, they taste like pancakes. You can put syrup on them and everything.”

But distance learning and pannekoeken is not where Konar-Steenberg’s passion for cooking begins or ends.

“I’ve been doing this for a while. A lot of people in my family like to cook,” he said.
“I’m mostly the kind of person who makes savory dishes and foods that are salty. My sister is more of a dessert person. And my brother is really good at making an array of dinner food very well.”

But even though his entire family enjoys cooking, Konar-Steenberg appreciates working on his own.

“I like making a dish by myself, seeing it through to the end,” he said.

He also feels there are many joys to cooking.

“I love cooking because there’s no feeling quite like setting the table for a meal you made yourself,” he said. “A lot of the time it feels like there are two different categories of food: the type you eat at home, and the type you eat at a restaurant.
Cooking, for me, breaks the divide.”

He started cooking at the age of eight motivated by a realization he had early September one year.

“I kind of had an experience that was basically how most teenage vegans and vegetarians started being vegan,” he said. “I wondered ‘Hey, you know, actually shouldn’t we be treating animals better? Even if we’re going to kill them for food we should be treating them better.’”

Shortly after for his birthday his mom got him the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

“I read it, read it through again, and I was like, okay so it is possible to eat meat in a more ethical way,” he said. “And I thought, you know, I guess if I just cook, I know more about how my food is being made.”

He also tries to be aware of where the ingredients he gets come from, whether it’s his local community garden, a co-op, or the farms where the food is grown.

Ethical eating is central to the way Konar-Steenberg cooks, eats, and de-stresses.

“I know one person eating a burger made from a cow that lived freely versus one that lived in a factory might not change everything,” Konar Steenberg said. “What is more likely is substantial legislative action will do more than that.”

But still he makes the decision to eat ethically anyway.

“I don’t think it’s good to do something bad because the alternative wouldn’t accomplish anything,” he said. “And in this case, the alternative actually accomplishes a lot.
He reemphasized how he wants to make a difference even if it’s not evident in the numbers.

“Maybe it’s just one less chicken in an eight inch cage or one less cow in a warehouse, but it’s taking action to do what you think is right, which I think is a lot.”

From pizza to pannekoeken they can all be found, ethically sourced, in Konar-Steenberg’s kitchen.

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