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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New Class Gets Students Cooking

By Aniela Wendt

Sick of eating Ramen noodles? Tired of the same old Outtakes? Take a bite out of this!

New to Grinnell this fall is a series of reformatted Wellness courses offered through the Physical Education Department. Beginning the fall series is a delicious new half-semester course titled Off-Campus Kitchen, which is taught by Jen Jacobsen, Physical Education.

“The lens of the class is how to make [food] quickly, affordably, and healthfully,” said Jacobsen, “ [and to] really [try] to balance those things—which is tough.”

In many ways, this class proves unlike any other classes offered at Grinnell. Forget about lofty hard-covered textbooks–the course reading materials for Off-Campus Kitchen are cookbooks. One of the books, entitled The Healthy College Cookbook, is written by college students for college students and boldly advertises on the cover to be quick, cheap and easy.

Though the class is not hosted in a kitchen per-se, scheduled within the syllabus are various community field trips, intended to provide hands-on experience. Activities include a visit to the Phoenix, a local restaurant, a stop by Dining Services to learn about food safety and a trip to nearby Heritage Farm.

Kristen Armbruster ’12 has already learned a lot in the first week of class.

“[Jacobsen has] dispelled a lot of myths about nutrition,” said Armbruster.

Another important skill to be addressed is cooking for a large crowd of people. Students will encounter this situation first-hand when they cook for Community Meal on September 27.

Armbruster, who currently uses the campus 10-meal plan and frequently cooks her own meals, enrolled in the class hoping to earn credit and gain some additional kitchen knowledge.

“I signed up because I’m living in a Cowles apartment this year … and I’ll be cooking a lot for myself,” Armbruster said. “Really, I just needed to learn how to cook quickly and affordably.”

You don’t have to be a Master Chef to enjoy this masterpiece of a class. While some students have quite a bit of culinary experience, others have never experimented beyond the microwave. Coming in with different skill levels and varying kitchen experiences keeps class time exciting and allows for spontaneity in regards to class material.

“Shaping of the class is a little bit of a collaborative effort as we go,” Jacobsen said. “A lot of the class depends on their participation and the sharing of their experiences.”

Off-Campus Kitchen is already popular for a new class, with 14 students currently enrolled, including Kate Edeker ’12.

“[It’s for students who don’t] have the convenience of their mom’s Schwann’s account,” said Edeker.

There are still spots open for those looking to add the class. If you’ve had your fill of Dining Services, Off-Campus Kitchen might be just the class to teach you how to cook for yourself in a college environment.

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