Cassie Sousa knew it was time to make lunch, and noodles seemed like such a simple option. But she learned the hard way that it is, in fact, possible to burn noodles in boiling water.
Bosch Appliances recently conducted a survey with surprising results. They found that over 28 percent of Americans do not know how to cook, almost one out of three adults. With students entering college, learning to feed themselves for the first time and a stringent budget, the kitchen could be the most dangerous place on campus.
Sousa is just one of many students who had to learn to cook the hard way. Jenny Gray, a recent BYU graduate in exercise science, spent her freshmen year learning food reality from roommates’ criticism.
“When I met my freshman roommates, we decided to take turns cooking for each other,” Gray said. “I took the first night. I had my chicken shake-n-bake, mashed potatoes from a box and canned green beans that I heated up on the stove.”
When she presented her meal to the roommates, they were less than thrilled.
“That day I learned mashed potatoes came from real potatoes,” Gray said. “Yes, I had no idea before. And that you could buy fresh vegetables, not ones from a can. There are other cheeses besides Kraft singles, gravy doesn’t come from a packet and fresh produce is amazing!”
With shows like “Chopped” and “The Next Iron Chef” from the Food Network, another common problem students face is the false hope of fixing any type of food in the kitchen.
“Freshman year I was very low on groceries so I made spaghetti,” said Whitney Call, a graduate student studying creative writing. “I realized I had no marinara sauce so I used my baking supplies to turn my spaghetti into a cinnamon-sugar pasta dessert. I ended up just going to bed hungry.”
Budget restraints also limit students in their culinary education. Buying fast food can save time and Top Ramen can save money. Marshall Bowerman, an animation student, knew how to utilize the ingredients in every college student’s kitchen to get a little creative.
“Macaroni and cheese gets boring by itself,” Bowerman said. “So I’ve made my own version — take a normal box of Mac & Cheese and prepare it normally. Instead of milk, use ranch dressing and a bit of salsa. Amounts of each are to taste. I’ve had other people try it and say that they never knew macaroni and cheese could taste so good.”