It’s a challenge that would perplex even an Iron Chef: whipping up a fresh, healthy meal in a college dorm room or apartment.
But Kristen Baughman and Sarah Beitzel, graduate students in extension education, took on the task this fall of introducing their fellow NC State students to alternatives to pizza and peanut butter.
Two weeks ago, it was lemon walnut green beans and lime-steamed fish fillets. In eight weeks, they’ve led a group of curious college cooks in stir-frying, baking, indoor grilling, using a slow cooker and baking fish and vegetables in parchment paper packets.
Baughman and Beitzel, who have taught cooking classes for other age groups, adapted the Cook Smart, Eat Smart program from N.C. Cooperative Extension for a college audience. University Dining publicized the classes and provided space in the catering kitchen of Talley Student Center.
“I enjoyed the variety of things we’ve cooked,” said senior Alex Osborne, a parks and recreation major. “I like the way they’ve laid this class out—I appreciate the hands-on model.”
Osborne recently prepared two recipes from class: cornbread and slow-cooker turkey chili. His girlfriend is a good cook, and he would like to impress her with his kitchen skills.
“This has been a great experience,” said junior Terri Palmer, who experimented with class recipes in her campus apartment kitchen. Even her mother was impressed when Terri shared healthful cooking tips she learned in class, along with food safety information.
Both Palmer and Kiyana Harris, a sophomore biology major, were disappointed to see the end of their Tuesday ritual of cooking and eating together. The group’s last supper of the semester was baked ziti and a salad with homemade dressing. But Cook Smart, Eat Smart has inspired Harris to enroll in a nutrition class next semester.
Baughman and Beitzel hope to teach the class again in the spring. To learn more, see the class blog and photos at ncsudiningcook.wordpress.com or view the full version of the story on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences site.