Last year, Piper Goeking invited members of the Tufts Mountain Club to share their favorite recipes. These were dishes that had been prepared in the cozy kitchen of the Loj, a Tufts-owned property up in Woodstock, N.H. Food is a great source of comfort in this space, as these warm meals are often shared among friends, acquaintances and strangers after a cold day outside. Contrary to common belief, the Loj is open to both TMC members and non-members who want to experience the outdoors.
One thing that is noticeable about the Loj is the immense amount of collected stuff: signs from Mt. Washington, posters from outdoor brands, stickers from breweries and many phone numbers with the note along the lines of “call for a good/bad/mediocre time.” Among all this stuff, it is clear that no single generation of students could have decorated the place. The magnetic words “we are always better with you” on the stove fan are a mark of these efforts.
However, what happens when this space is disconnected from the people who make up its community? And the year after that, it is only accessible to the immediate Tufts community?
Piper’s time with TMC has been greatly impacted by both current and former Tufts students; but COVID-19 created a gap as the Loj was restricted to current students. If alumni and students couldn’t get outside together, how could Piper mend the connection between the two? Through the meals that brought them together when they were in person. Piper even bridges this gap in her own cooking. Two of her favorite recipes are for banana and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. The latter is the transformed pumpkin loaf recipe of former TMC President Max Migdail.
For her final year at Tufts, Piper is living in the new Foodie House. This living community has spent time bonding over making apple cider and pancakes from five different continents and are starting to plan events for the rest of the Tufts community. This wasn’t Piper’s first experience in themed housing, as last year she lived in the Spanish Language house; while she doesn’t consider herself to be fluent, Piper finds the process of learning new languages to be fascinating. You can also find her barista-ing at Tamper, a popular café that borders the Medford side of campus.
We ended with a tour of Piper’s Nalgene water bottle. The deep blue bottle was covered with free stickers that she had collected over the years. She pointed out the ones from Buffalo Exchange, TMC and cafes from home. There were also stickers designed by Tufts alumni Ella Do and Tara Steckler. As Piper makes her way through her senior year — and eventually beyond Tufts — she knows that she can always go to the outdoors to find friends.