Off-campus students try their hand at cooking



Jenn Lypka, a second year computer engineering student, was making soup one evening in her apartment kitchen when she smelled something bad.

It was too late when she realized the burning smell was her grilled cheese sandwich she was making for dinner.

“I turned and looked – it was pitch dark and smoke was going everywhere,” Lypka said.

Lypka and her roommates tried to blow the smoke out of the room by waving towels, but the smoke detector went off anyway. Finally, Lypka has just removed the battery from the smoke detector.

All because of a grilled cheese sandwich.

The kitchen can be one of the most intimidating parts for students leaving dorms and moving into off-campus accommodation. Some are unfamiliar with the cooking process and are usually forced to learn once they get to school. Some students cook easily, while others find it difficult.

Dan Charette, a sophomore computer science student, said he cooked a bit growing up, but now that he’s moved off campus this year, he cooks five to six days a week with his roommates.

“When I first got here it wasn’t that consistent, it was different from having to do grocery shopping at first, and we were a bit lazy so we started eating a lot at restaurants,” he said. declared Charette. “But now that we’ve gotten into the swing of things, we tend to cook most days of the week.”

Charette said he and his roommates made fried rice, pretzel chicken and crunchy wraps. He and his roommates once made a mistake and didn’t cut a clove of garlic before putting it in their food.

“We had some of it in our food and it was, you know, kinda gross,” he said. “But it was good. It’s just a learning process. It hasn’t necessarily been bad. We didn’t cook anything awful by any means.

Riley Szara, a second year elementary school student, lived in the dorms last year and said she had never been tasked with cooking her own dinner before. Since going to school, she has been cooking herself twice a week, usually making pasta, frozen chicken, or quesadillas. The other nights, she does not cook; instead, she eats her leftovers because she is busy with classes.

“Sometimes my schedule gets shifted because I have classes until 7 am, so I’ll eat later,” Szara said. “I’m going to cook a quick meal instead of a real sit-down meal with my family. “

Lypka often searches Pinterest for ideas. She said she chooses two or three meals, makes a shopping list and goes from there.

On the other hand, Szara came to school with a homemade cookbook with recipes from a website she loves. The cookbook is personalized with his family’s notes: they prepare the recipe, then everyone notes the meal and leaves notes. Some of the recipes that Szara uses are the lemon chicken fillets, the broccoli casserole, and some soups.

“We rate it out of 10,” Szara said. “We say if we liked it or not, and if we have to do it again. Or what to change, like adding more seasoning or not adding sauce. It’s very useful.

Taking notes is a habit that Lypka started to do too because it helps her keep track of what is working. For example, she said that she tracks the time it takes to cook meat or which casseroles to use with dishes.

“It becomes a lot easier for me, and I feel like it becomes a more natural process,” Lypka said.

For people nervous about cooking, Charette recommends cooking with your friends.

“Whether you’re more experienced or they’re more experienced, just to have that ability to learn with your friends,” Charette said. “And it strengthens relationships, I think. Even if it’s just to nourish the day, you can use it to grow and have a lot of fun experiences.… It just allows you to be more creative.

This story is part of our October 12 print edition. See the full issue here.

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