By Nora Lelivelt
Saturday, Apr. 17, marks UC Davis’ 107th Picnic Day. This is one of the largest student-led events in the nation and brings together students, alumni, friends and family to celebrate all that the UC Davis community has to offer.
As we are still in the midst of a pandemic, UC Davis strongly discourages in-person gatherings and prepared a website with information on virtual live and asynchronous events to celebrate the day.
Additionally, for COVID-19 safety, individuals may review the new state gathering guidance that began on April 15 and refrain from large student parties and enjoy the festivities from the safety of home.
The theme for the 2021 Picnic Day is “Discovering Silver Linings.” The 2021 Picnic Day board selected this theme because, “despite all that has happened this year, the UC Davis community has continued to find silver linings everywhere.”
UC Davis Chancellor, Gary May, shares his perspective: “One of the silver linings I’ve found is that in times of great challenge, the UC Davis community never fails to rally together, show strength, and support one another.”
As per tradition, Picnic Day began with the Grandstand Ceremony acknowledging and giving thanks to UC Davis’ main campus land.
For thousands of years, three federally recognized Patwin tribes have been committed to the stewardship of this land, and the Davis campus is “honored and grateful to be here today on their traditional land.”
Next, the Cal Aggie Alumni Association brought back one of the favorite traditions: the Picnic Day pancake breakfast sponsored by the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. This virtual event featured live cooking demonstrations and tips on how to make the best morning coffee and pancakes.
Juliet Han, the Head Roaster at the UC Davis Coffee Center, visited the group live from the roasting room on campus to help “kickoff Picnic Day with a great cup of coffee.”
Fun fact, the chemical engineering department provides a class called “Design a Coffee” in which students are encouraged to play with tasting notes and methods of brewing. Han shared the research and recommended these three steps to aid in a better cup of coffee:
First, coffee is primarily water, and using filtered water (not distilled or tap) will provide the most balanced result.
Second, buy coffee as whole beans, then grind the coffee right before brewing for a fresher and crisper flavor; however, if you prefer the convenience of ground coffee, you may find similar results by storing it airtight in the freezer.
Lastly, try the coffee black before adding your usual creamer or sweetener – this allows you to further play with the subtle notes of flavor.
Next, food science alumni, Jadey Gonzalez and Kevin Locke provided recipes and tips for buttermilk pancakes.
Most importantly, Gonzalez said, “when adding the mixture of wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl, mix gently just until the flour is hydrated to avoid over mixing and getting a tough pancake later on.”
Also, if you let the batter sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes, you will see more rise in the finished pancake.
Two vegan substitutes to the classic buttermilk pancake recipe include mixing six tablespoons of water with two tablespoons of chia seeds to create a paste that acts similarly to egg whites.
Additionally, the best vegan substitution for buttermilk is to mix 1.5 cups of plant-based milk and 1.5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and let the mixture refrigerate overnight.
To view the full vegan and buttermilk pancake recipes and instructions, visit https://alumni.ucdavis.edu/events/picnic-day-pancake-breakfast.
For more coffee information, or to purchase coffee expertly roasted by the students and staff, visit the UC Davis Coffee Center’s webpage: https://coffeecenter.ucdavis.edu/.
And finally, to view asynchronous Picnic Day events or to prepare for next year, please visit https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/. Enjoy Aggies!
Nora Lelivelt is a fourth-year Cell Biology major at UC Davis, also minoring in Professional Writing and Biodiversity.
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