Todd Miller Collegio Reporter
Our campus offers a lot for students in the way of classes. Of course, there are our required courses for our individual majors, but also several classes that are available or even that we must take for general-education requirements.
Sure, “gen-ed” classes may seem pointless to some on the surface, but they are useful for helping us survive in and even contribute to society. One class I’ve taken that especially comes to mind is “Consumer Education and Personal Finance.” The class is only one of a handful needed for general-education requirements, but can be useful in helping to prepare students for the future. I know it better helped me figure out how to keep my finances in order and better understand how the world of money works.
There is already something of a cooking class: FCS 401, Food Science and Preparation Techniques, which is offered only in the spring semester. From the title, though, it seems to be something like an in-depth look at cooking as a science.
That’s fine and all, but is too involved. I think a more general class would be appropriate for the rest of us.
Of course, not every student would need such a class, but it could help students like me who don’t instinctively know anything about cooking and don’t want to go through life subsisting on microwave meals and fast food.
See, the kitchen in general worries me. I’ve had so little practical experience cooking. I don’t know the ins and outs of food preparation, so I’m constantly worried that something will either get overcooked and taste horrible (or burn the kitchen down), or be undercooked and get me sick. I’m so literal-minded about cooking, I pretty mu
ch require a recipe to even attempt the activity.
But, of course, some recipes don’t consider available ingredients and I either have to go to the store, go without or pick a different recipe. It’s one thing to devote half a day for a large complicated meal, but it’s another to go to so much trouble just to cook a small meal for one.
But some decent instruction could help people like me. Of course, I’m not expecting a class that teaches haute cuisine. That’s not something we need, and the 401 class is good for someone wanting a more involved class. What we students need is just general instruction and practical experience in basic food preparation. How to tell when hamburger and chicken are properly cooked (and being confident about that) would help, too.
I’ve seen people survey a kitchen and still be able to pull something together from meager ingredients. I look at the same ingredients and can’t even imagine a meal existing between them.
The only part of this class I haven’t quite worked out is where and how it’d be held. As far as I can tell, the 401 class isn’t held in a location that is kitchen-prepped, and without having taken the class, I’m not sure about how well the lab portion is prepared for a “general cooking” class, if at all.
I can only presume none of the other buildings are prepped for one, other than Gibson Dining Hall or in the kitchens of the Overman Student Center, but I doubt classes could viably be held there. It would definitely get in the way of the cooks trying to work.
“Take-home work” could be possible. But that would favor those students with the means to cook away from class. I could see problems for the students living in the dorms, which could be difficult to manage while also sharing living space with everyone else living there.
The best option I can think of is offering the class online over the summer, since the majority of students taking the class should be somewhere where food preparation doesn’t require great lengths to accomplish.
So, there are some specifics to work out to make the class a possibility, but I think this would be an excellent class to have available for neophyte students who need the culinary experience, such as myself.