Gym-goers stopped at the smell of freshly chopped vegetables and simmering soup coming from the Student Recreation Center classroom Wednesday during the premier of this semester’s Vandalizing the Kitchen series.
About 20 students attended Souper Bowls, the first of five free cooking classes for students taught by campus dietician Marissa Rudley. During the class, Rudley demonstrated how to cook two different soups and an easy-to-make side.
“Nothing is more comforting, satisfying or inexpensive than a big party bowl of soup,” Rudley said.
Rudley explained and showed every step of the cooking process, including small steps like cutting up vegetables. She also provided tips and tricks about possible substitutions and how to avoid crying while handling onions.
Every step of the demonstration was viewable by students because of a demo mirror, which allowed attendees to see the cooking process from above.
“I really appreciated being able to see the whole process,” said Tessa Brusven, senior at the University of Idaho. “I was impressed.”
Brusven said she attended Vandalizing the Kitchen for the first time Wednesday because she loves soup and wants to start trying to cook more meals at home. She said she wants to try exploring healthier options and liked how Rudley packed the soups full of vegetables, but they still tasted great.
“Soup is a true one pot wonder,” Rudley said. “It’s easy, inexpensive and it really stretches and makes awesome leftovers.”
Between recipes, a student from the UI Sustainability Center, which co-sponsors the class, asked trivia questions about nutrition and offered prizes such as reusable bags, water bottles and cans of soup.
Rudley said the class is interactive and a great opportunity to not only see recipes being made but to taste them and make sure it’s something attendees really enjoy before they make it at home.
“My goal is to inspire students to try a new cooking technique or even just a new food,” Rudley said. “I want students to be inspired, and I want to plant that kernel of curiosity.”
Rudley said she started Vandalizing the Kitchen about five years ago, and since then, the focus has been to make it so anybody who attends could prepare at least one of the recipes. She said she does this by having at least one recipe per class be no-cook or microwave only.
“I want to showcase how cooking is affordable and also easy to do,” she said.
When advertising this class, Rudley said she doesn’t include anything about the meals being nutritious. She said nutrition is always secondary to ease and to flavor.
“These meals are tasty, delicious and affordable,” she said. “Typically when you make it at home, it is going to be nutritious.”
Rudley said she hopes the class attracts both novice cooks and those who already love to cook. She said she wants both groups to find something of value from the class and hopes to reach a broad audience.
The next Vandalizing the Kitchen class, Just Desserts, will be Wednesday, Feb. 7 in the Student Recreation Center classroom. Rudley said the class is the one and only dessert class, and that it will cater to people’s tastes but also dietary needs.
“This is the only opportunity to learn how to make desserts, so if someone has a sweet tooth, they should probably come,” Rudley said.
Jordan Willson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org