Tamera’s Adventures in Cooking, IU Cinema and 3D Projects, Photos from the Ice Storm, and Norbert Herber’s Brown Bag

Cooking with Telecom, Part 1: Tamera Theodore

Polenta with meat sauce and reggiano

Graduate Program Administrator Tamera Theodore is the mainstay of our graduate program.  Students and faculty alike depend on her for answers to questions, help with applications, problems with paperwork, and troubleshooting in general.  In addition to her dedication to the grad students and the grad program, Tamera is also passionate about something else: local and organic food.

Quinoa stuffed poblano peppers

Tamera fully admits that she had no interest in cooking whatsoever until she had to start doing it on her own.  Her mother would try to get her into the kitchen as a child, but Tamera wouldn’t have any of it.  It was around the age of 25 that she realized she didn’t want to live on Hamburger Helper alone.  Her first creation was a batch of meatballs, courtesy of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

Chicken breast, grilled red pepper, tomatillo & pumpkin seed sauce with cilantro and avocado

Since then, her passion for food and food preparation has grown exponentially.  While she doesn’t admit to having a favorite food, she cooks with seasonal food whenever possible and avoids any processed foods.  This results in at least two grocery store trips a week.  “Bloomington is a great town to cook in.  With Bloomingfoods and the Farmers Market, even in the winter time, it’s easy to cook good food here.”  In addition to supporting local farming and food production, Tamera has taken interest in food presentation as well.  Thanks to programs like Top Chef, Tamera has gained an appreciation for presentation plating and the connection between food and art.  “Food should be a sensual experience – it should appeal to all the senses, not just taste.”

Mediterranean lamb kabob with red onion and soy bean salad

Tamera’s cooking adventures have gained some popularity in recent months.  At first, she took pictures as a personal memento of completed dishes.  Once she posted the pictures on Facebook, she received a number of comments and compliments from friends and family.  Her food has earned quite a following.  “At first, the pictures were my trophy case.  Now I need to organize them in an album.  I always tell people, ‘Come over sometime and I will cook for you.’  They don’t have to just look at the pictures!”

Braised lamb shoulder with root vegetables and whipped potatoes

For all of her successes, Tamera’s cooking experiences haven’t been without misadventures either.  “The first and only time I tried to make homemade bread was a disaster.  I even have video of it.  It was hard as a rock, you needed a chisel to cut through it.  It wouldn’t have fed anything.”  In the future, she plans on taking local cooking classes to enhance her culinary skills.

Tamera shared with us one of the recipes in her repetoire; a batch of cookies she made for last week’s graduate committee meeting.  While she doesn’t consider baking to be one of her strong points, these cookies were a big hit with the committee.  “Literally, this was the second time I’d ever made homemade cookies that were not Toll House.”

Crispy Cocoa Pecan Cookies
Crispy, oversize cookies with a hint of butterscotch flavor.
Makes about 16
  • PREP TIME: 20 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 5 hours (includes chilling time)
  • Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (scooped into measuring spoon, then leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 tablespoons (11/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips


  • Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon (generous) salt in medium bowl. Stir butter and next 5 ingredients in another medium bowl until smooth. Stir in flour mixture, then nuts. Cover and chill until firm enough to scoop, at least 4 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
  • Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment. Measure 2 level tablespoonfuls dough; roll between palms into ball. Place on prepared sheet. Using fingers, spread out dough to 3-inch-diameter disk. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 5 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies 8 minutes; reverse sheets. Bake cookies until flat and beginning to darken around edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to rack (cookies will crisp as they cool). Can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
  • Place rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Place chocolate chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Heat chips in microwave in 15-second intervals until smooth, stirring occasionally. Place cookies on rack. Drizzle melted chocolate over cookies. Let stand until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Note: Tamera substituted walnuts for pecans.

IU Cinema and Telecom 3D Projects

Last week marked the official opening of the IU Cinema, with the festivities kicking off on January 27th and concluding with 3D screening on the 30th. Over 200 tickets were issued for the 3D event. Telecom grad student Chris Eller, who studies 3D production in the department and assists with the undergraduate 3D production courses, said that the screening featured four original projects from students here as well as animation work from IUPUI and mixed live action/CG work from the Advanced Visualization Lab.

The cinema, which seats about 260 people, is equipped with 3D capabilities and viewing glasses for all guests. “The IU Cinema is, at the moment, the most advanced teaching cinema at a university in the U.S.,” Chris says. “It is only the 10th university-based cinema in the country to receive a THX sound certification.” The IU Cinema has a full calendar scheduled for the remainder of the school year. Click here for the complete list of what will be shown (and if you’re a basketball fan, be sure to check out the viewing of Hoosiers on April 8th!).

To learn more about IU Cinema, follow this link to the main page: IU Cinema

Photos from the Ice Storm

The ice storm that swept through the Midwest last week shut down IU’s campus for parts of Tuesday and Wednesday. PhD student Lindsay Ems took some photos while running on Wednesday morning. Here are some of the images she captured from the aftermath of the ice storm:

Brown Bag Presentation

Professor Norbert Herber shared his audio endeavors at this week’s T600 seminar.

First-, Second-, & Third-order Cybernetics for Music and Mediated Interaction

Abstract: Implicitly or explicitly, Cybernetics plays a role in works of Experimental, Ambient, and Generative music. This talk will introduce Amergent music, a genre that draws from these musical traditions and creates a third-order cybernetic stipulation in works of technoetic and media art. Drawing on the work of Maturana & Varela and Martin Heidegger, Amergent music establishes a new relationship between listeners, generative systems, and the musically mediated environment that is created in the course of interaction, play, and presence. Some recent projects, including Londontown and Dérive Entre Mille Sons, will be used as examples of this approach in the music of virtual worlds and mobile device applications.

You can listen to the full audio here:

Norbert Herber Audio

And check out the visuals here:



Nicky Lewis:  Cooking with Telecom, Part 1:  Tamera Theodore, Brown Bag Presentation

Katie Birge: IU Cinema and Telecom 3D Projects, Photos from the Ice Storm, Brown Bag Presentation

Special Thanks

Tamera Theodore:  For photos of her culinary creations

Lindsay Ems:  For photos of ice clad IU

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