Cooking center attempts to prevent student disasters


    By Christina Broadbent

    Not everyone can cook like a seasoned grandmother. Most of the time, students can’t even come close.

    As many students are learning to cook for themselves after leaving home, disasters abound in the dorms and in off-campus housing — and the Heritage Halls Resource Center wants to help.

    “My main problem is when I put something in the oven I forget about it completely and start doing something else,” said Josh Holt, 22, a junior from Dubuque, Iowa majoring in physics.

    Holt has burned cookies, cupcakes and cakes to crispy pieces of charcoal in the oven.

    The Heritage Halls Resource Center’s plan is to stop these disasters early on in students’ college career.

    Kathy Hiatt, 21, a family science major employed at the Resource Center, enjoys teaching residents basics about cooking, mending, budgeting and shopping.

    “We teach practical, down to earth, basic stuff,” Hiatt said. “This is the students’ home away from home.”

    Students, primarily from Heritage Halls, attend weekly workshops and demonstrations put on by the staff and home economics majors.

    Abby Hasson, 19, a sophomore from Washington, D.C., said her freshman year was a year riddled with kitchen catastrophes.

    “I would often come home to smoke in the hallway,” Hasson said. “My roommate burned anything she tried to cook.”

    After dealing with pasta fires in the kitchen, Hasson said it was safer for the apartment if some members ate out.

    Loren Mortensen, 18, a freshman from Roy, Utah, said his troubles started when a roommate put his meal in the oven and turned on the cleaning cycle.

    “The chicken was burnt immediately because the oven gets so hot during the cycle,” Mortensen said.

    The apartment reeked for a week when a hot dog was left boiling on the stove until the water all evaporated, leaving the hot dog to burn in the saucepan unattended for hours.

    Resource Center employee Jennifer Williams, 21, a home economics education major from Layton, Utah, said any type of question from residents is welcome.

    “Once we had a boy come down here who had a date in five minutes, and he hadn’t started cooking,” Williams said. “We had fun helping him out.”

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