A class for the cooking-impaired
Will Meyer | Crumbs
Whenever I’m missing home, my sentimentality usually has something to do with cooking. Though eating at Bob’s multiple times a day is convenient, food at home is somehow more substantial. Maybe it’s something to do with the tradition, or its constancy in my life over the past nineteen years.
To get back into the groove of things, I decided to attend Vandalizing the Kitchen, a free cooking course held monthly each semester in the Student Recreation Center. The course focuses on practical and fun meals with preparation catered nicely to the busy, frugal life of students.
The UI campus Dietician Marissa Rudley, who instructs Vandalizing the Kitchen, implements her knowledge of complete meals to combat the stereotype of college students eating poorly. The meals that students learn to make in these hour-long courses are carefully thought out, creative and delicious.
Each class is oriented around a certain type of food. The class I attended was aptly called “Dinner is served,” in which we learned to make three different entrées. Each plate had a unique characteristic that made it especially handy for all sorts of students. One of the dishes was vegetarian, one vegan and the other a twist on an old classic.
Fun plates such as Pizza Casserole and Microwave Enchiladas are some of the things students who want to prepare an awesome meal with a few unique conveniences added to it can learn to make.
While instructing on preparation, Rudley explains alternative options throughout her recipes for those who want a little more flare or have food restrictions to show that the dish can be versatile to a variety of situations.
For the third dish, Rudley chose a Red Lentil soup — a healthy and fast meal packed with protein and other nutrients. It may have shied away from the spotlight in comparison to the two other decadent, savory dishes, but it was a healthy option that can be made with all fresh ingredients.
For those who are conscientious of what they eat, the class provided insight on healthy options and also provided nutrition facts for each dish. After a dish had been prepared, Rudley took a moment to explain what is inside of it.
You might not want to know what is inside comfort food, but this explanation illustrates the characteristics of the food beneficial to the body, and why they make a good meal. At the end of class, “Dinner (was) served.” Everyone noshed away at the hot meal we had just learned to make.
Though it wasn’t home, having a moment to learn the preparation of a new meal altered to fit my college schedule was a nice middle ground. Though I will always yearn for my own kitchen, it was nice to be reminded that cooking in general is a nice way to calm things down, and create something you can enjoy.
Will Meyer can be reached at email@example.com