Between the lack of kitchen space in the residence halls and the challenges of finding healthy food that fits into a student budget, cooking as a college student can be difficult.
University of Idaho Campus Dietician Marissa Rudley said she is excited to teach her ninth season of “Vandalizing the Kitchen” classes. Partnering with the UI Sustainability Center, Vandal Health Education will host four free cooking classes this semester designed for college students who want to improve their cooking abilities while living in the residence halls.
The first of these classes will go from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 13th in SRC 103 at the Student Recreation Center, with the theme “Breakfast-to-Go.” This class coincides with Moscow’s “eat local week,” and the UI Sustainability Center is sponsoring the use of local and in-season ingredients from the Tuesday Grower’s Market.
Attendees can look forward to recipes including oats, eggs, yogurt and other breakfast favorites. Themes for future classes are “Grain Bowls” for Oct. 3, “Global Cuisine” for Nov. 9 and “Snack Smart” for Dec. 7. All classes begin at 4 p.m. in SRC 103.
The interactive classes will include food trivia throughout the hour, with prizes provided by the Sustainability Center and the Vandal Health Education. Each class can count toward a personal fitness credit.
Interested students need not sign up for the classes, but should plan on arriving before each session begins. The classes operate on a first come, first seated basis, and are expected to fill completely.
The classes are taught through demonstrations and include three recipes geared to interest a variety of skill levels. These recipes are also chosen because they are affordable but do not compromise taste or nutrition. At least one recipe in each class is designated as “no-cook” and can be prepared using only the microwave and mini-fridge provided in all UI residence halls.
Participants will receive ingredient lists, which include expected prices per item, the price for the full recipe and the approximate price per serving. Rudley said she expects most students will be surprised by how much they can save by making their own food rather than eating out.
“I think when it comes to cooking, sometimes we get a little sticker-shocked,” she said.
This is the first year the Sustainability Center has supported Vandalizing the Kitchen by covering the cost of fresh ingredients for a class, but it could be the start of a tradition. Because the Grower’s Market and Moscow Farmer’s Market both take place within walking distance of the UI campus, local produce is highly accessible to students.
The class themes for the Fall 2017 season incorporate the use of such fresh ingredients, and allow class participants to work with a wide array of foods in a variety of colors and textures.
Rudley said she hopes that, if nothing else, her students will get excited about trying new foods.
“The whole goal is to get students in the kitchen,” she said. “The recipes are fun to make and wholesome, but without sacrificing taste.”
Beth Hoots can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org