Photos by Reyer Boxem

Emily and Spencer

‘Oh, no! I put pepper in the salt grinder!’

Photos by Reyer Boxem
In many student houses, having dinner together is a daily repeated ritual. Who’s joining in, who’s cooking, and most importantly: what’s for dinner? UKrant stops by to see what’s cooking. This week: Emily and Spencer’s.
15 September om 13:45 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 26 September 2022
om 12:03 uur.
September 15 at 13:45 PM.
Last modified on September 26, 2022
at 12:03 PM.
Avatar photo

Door Ana Tudose

15 September om 13:45 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 26 September 2022
om 12:03 uur.
Avatar photo

By Ana Tudose

September 15 at 13:45 PM.
Last modified on September 26, 2022
at 12:03 PM.

Emily and Spencer’s falafel wraps

tortilla wraps
falafel balls
salad mix
green onion

For the guacamole:

2 avocados
1 small onion
4 cloves of garlic (Emily likes it ‘garlicky’)
1 chilli pepper
1 small tomato
half a lime

Cut the avocados and take out the pits. In a bowl, smash the pieces with a fork. Cut the onion, garlic, chilli pepper and tomato into small pieces. Put them into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Squeeze half a lime into the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To garnish, cut some cilantro, mint, and green onion. Put them on a plate, separate from each other, along with the salad mix. 

Place a pan on the stove to warm up for 3 minutes, with a dash of oil. Fry the falafel balls on one side for 2 minutes. With a spatula, reverse them to fry them on the other side for another 2 minutes. When they are crunchy, take them off the stove and serve.

‘Where is Adriano? He’s supposed to bring the cilantro and green onion’, says Emily while glancing at her phone, checking if he texted her. ‘Well, you know Italians…’, her boyfriend Spencer replies with a cheeky grin. Their friend Olaf shrugs his shoulders, laughing. ‘Adriano’s always fashionably late’, he explains. But when Adriano arrives, laid-back and stylish, he brings what was required, plus a bunch of mint.

And so the cooking begins at Emily and Spencer’s humble home in the Nieuwe Blekerstraat. Both guests do their bit and contribute to the making of the guacamole: Adriano cuts the tomatoes, while Olaf minces the chilli. 

Too much weed

The hosts met in Groningen three years ago and both have lived in international student houses. ‘I used to live in a student house where I would share the bathroom and the kitchen with five other people’, says Spencer. It wasn’t the cleanest or the quietest house. ‘The dishes would stay in the sink for quite some time and things were all over the place. People would come back to the house early in the morning and make noise. And we smoked too much weed together.’ 

Emily has lived in five different houses. In one of them, the girls would throw an occasional house party, which Emily didn’t mind at all, she says. ‘At the end of a busy and tiring day at uni, it was always nice to let your hair down.’ 

But a few months ago, they decided they’d had enough and moved into an apartment with just the two of them, and now, they can fully enjoy their privacy. Still, they cherish the company of other people, like Adriano and Olaf. And dinner is a good occasion to catch up and joke around.

Bird crap and cigarettes

The apartment isn’t very big, but spacious enough for two people to live together. The kitchen opens up into the living room, where a long dining table awaits. A steep flight of stairs leads up to the bedroom. On the balcony, a plant clings to whatever it can. It grew there when the couple was away for the summer. ‘I think you can make beer from it’, Emily says. ‘We could sell this as ‘real Groningen beer hop’ on Marktplaats’, Spencer jokes, ‘but it tastes like bird crap and cigarettes.’

It would take too much time to make the falafel

Next to a small extendable second-hand lounge chair across from the tv, three beautifully coloured and well-kept guitars reveal the presence of a musician in the house. They are Spencer’s. With a sense of melancholy, he explains he used to be in a band that played in music cafe Lola, before the pandemic forced it to close its doors permanently. Then he calls out: ‘Adriano! When are we going to start that band?’ 

His friend eagerly answers with a counter question. ‘What do you guys say about going to the Zolder to enjoy a live jazz night after dinner?’ ‘YES!’ Spencer exclaims. ‘Yes, why not? We could give it a try’, Olaf adds. Emily joins in enthusiastically: ‘I would also be down for it; I’ve finished my reading for tomorrow’s lectures.’

Albert Heijn

Big windows and jazzy background music create a cosy and a homey atmosphere that reflects Emily and Spencer’s personalities. In the small kitchen, Emily has to stand on her tiptoes to reach the upper cupboard, squeezing herself between Spencer and Adriano. Eventually, she manages to grab the dark blue plates and comes back down on her feet, looking over at Spencer. Their eyes meet and they give each other one of those loving young couple smiles. 

Spencer fries the falafel balls in a frying pan for a crunchy bite. ‘We’ve just bought the falafel from Albert Heijn’, Emily confesses. ‘Otherwise, it would take too much time.’ Time flies when you both study and have part-time jobs.

‘Oh, no! I put the pepper in the salt grinder!’ Spencer cries out from the kitchen. His friends laugh. But then they conclude: it is actually quite a smart move to make this efficient condiment mix. Perfect for the guacamole. When everything is on the table, silence takes over and the wrap, the crunchy falafel balls, the guacamole and all the other garnishes are gone in a blink of an eye.

Photo Reyer Boxem