VOLUME 25 #3

Current cover


From ramen to real food

Image of students cooking
Photo by Eric Ruth
Gabby Francis whips up a frittata.

STUDENTS | For centuries now, the value of higher education has seemed inversely proportional to the nutritional standards of the educated. In other words, ramen noodles, caffeine and candy have fueled many academic achievements in countless college careers.

Step by step, student by student, UD is trying to change that.

First came the modern dining halls, stuffed with ever-expanding options of noble dietary pedigree. Now, as more residence halls are equipped with shared kitchens, students are being encouraged to cook (something other than ramen) for themselves.

But first, they need to be taught how, or at least given the confidence to safely try.

UD’s Food and Nutrition Education Lab has begun a series of free classes where famished undergrads can learn the basics of slicing, dicing and sautéing—and then happily consume the results of their scholarship.

“This is good, because I have to cook for myself for a full month in the winter,” says Gabby Francis, AS18, as she attempts to master a frittata one recent evening at the Willard Hall Education Building. “I’m definitely not an expert. I know how to do some dishes—like mashed potatoes or rice.”

The “Cook, Learn and Eat!” classes, offered in collaboration with Residence Life and Housing and Environmental Health and Safety, feature such student-friendly recipes as quesadillas and “s’more” sandwiches—stressing safety as much as simplicity.

Advice the students receive from UD Fire Marshal Kevin McSweeney—don’t leave pans unattended, watch for food particles in the burners—are the result of experience. He tells of the time a student microwaved “Easy Mac” and cheese… without adding a drop of water. Then there was the day someone zapped a bag of popcorn—for 20 minutes instead of 2—with predictably smoky results.

“I feel you can save money in the long run,” says Nickia Gibson, AS18, who decided to take the class after getting an apartment in Christiana Towers. “And living in the Towers forces you to cook for yourself, look after yourself more. It’s a good skill to have.”