Cooking it up with SCARF


Sean Siapno

Club President Amanda Ratti stirs the pot after adding the greens to the dish.

While scarfs may be out of season with spring rolling around, Skyline’s SCARF will never go out of style.

SCARF actually stands for “Sustainable Cooking and Real Food” and they are an unofficial club here at Skyline. They meet on the first Monday of every month at 2:30 to 4:00 in order to educate students about sustainability. CHEESY is their motto as it represents their five tenets: cheap, healthy, easy, eco-friendly, sustainable, and yummy.

Their origin roots from a statistics class that Club President Amanda Ratti took in the spring semester of 2022. This wasn’t just any ordinary stats class, however; this was where she met Club Advisor Richard “Rick” Hough. With the real world statistical knowledge she gained, she left with a bigger purpose: to start SCARF alongside her stats professor.

Hough describes himself as a “Climate-crisis solutions nerd” and has always been involved in the world of sustainability. In collaboration with Ratti, this club is a means to spread awareness on living a more CHEESY way of life.

“Food choice is essential,” Hough says. “I want to help people realize that they don’t need a lot of money, or experience making an inexpensive, long-lasting, and delicious meal.”

All of their work is hands-on. Not only will you learn healthy living habits, you will also leave with a full stomach. Every meeting there’s always a new recipe that the club will have to cook.

With recipe inspiration coming from The New York Times, Pinterest, and various cook books, SCARF makes meals that spark the message of their club.

In their most recent meeting, they prepared a Citrusy Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup promoted by The New York Times. Through an induction cooktop, a great alternative to the gas stoves we normally use, SCARF cooked this recipe in just 30 minutes to serve the many people around them.

SCARF serves the Citrusy Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup within the MESA center kitchen. (Sean Siapno)

Since their club cooks within the small kitchen in the MESA center, the people within the center got a taste of the citrus-bundled soup they prepared. Most people finished their food in a timely fashion as the flavors blended together nicely.

This soup is just one of the many dishes that SCARF hopes to share. The ingredients used in this recipe are super simple and accessible. It also uses green lentils as a substitute to meat for protein. Meals like this highlight their goals.

“A person really just needs a vegetable, a carb, and protein,” Ratti says. “Let’s get a group of students, cook a meal, and get more into sustainability and climate crisis.”

Similar to Ratti, Club Secretary Patrick Talavera is all about SCARF’s lessons.
“Amanda introduced me to SCARF. I really like to eat good food and sustainability,” Talavera says.

Talavera is a prime example of what SCARF hopes to achieve. The stigma that surrounds sustainability derives from ineducation. With organizations like this club, people get to learn that the switch to better diets, and a better way of life isn’t hard. It isn’t expensive either.

Although the club is still small in numbers, their impact can be huge. With the climate crisis still ongoing, SCARF can be an outlet to get educated. It’s never too late to learn, and especially eat great food.