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Oak Leaves

March 11, 2016

Salad

WHAT’S COOKING? Meatballs stuffed with fresh spinach. Photo courtesy of Emily Ryder.

Bake, Blend, Broil: Res Hall Chefs Share Tips

Sarah Farnam

Manchester University’s tradition of not serving dinner on Sunday nights leaves students to find their own food once a week. On other nights, students may not want to eat at the Jo Young Switzer Center (JYS), or may simply not feel like going out. And they don’t need to, because students have access to any kind of dish they could want right in their residence halls.

When juniors Holly Conway and Nathan Hawkins grow tired of eating at the same restaurants around town and need a new way to spend date night, they hit the residence hall kitchen to cook dinner together. Conway’s favorite dish that they’ve made is a buffalo ranch chicken pizza. “You get pizza crust, and then put buffalo sauce and lots of chicken on,” she said. “Then you add blue cheese crumbles, mozzarella cheese, more buffalo sauce, and then cook it!”

Hawkins raves about the pizza as well, but has his own favorite meal. “We made some pretty good hamburgers for the Ssuper Bbowl this February,” he said. “We made two different kinds – one had avocado, egg and salsa on it, and the other had pineapple and barbeque sauce – a Hawaiian burger.”

If students do not want to go out and buy their own groceries to cook with, sophomore Addison Neher has some tips for ways to work with resources found on campus. She and her friends make banana ice cream with ingredients that can be found in JYS. “You take three or four bananas from (JYS) and you peel them and stick them on a sheet and freeze them,” she says. Once they are frozen, they should be blended, and Neher recommends adding some cinnamon, vanilla and coconut milk. “Or you can use regular milk from (JYS) if you’re feeling thrifty!” she adds. “You blend it up and it tastes like ice cream, and it’s healthy!”

First-year Emily Ryder was inspired to begin cooking on campus thanks to her January Session called “History of Foodways” taught by Professor Katherine Tinsley. Her biggest feat has been making apple pie from scratch, which took her over an hour to complete. “We put a layer of dough on the bottom of the pan, then we put the apples in the middle with cinnamon and sugar, then we put another layer of dough on top, crimped the edges, and slit the top,” she explains. She has also made banana pudding, jello, meatballs and spinach.

Each residence hall is equipped with a variety of cooking supplies for budding chefs. According to Katherine Brown, resident assistant for Helman Hall, Helman has “pots and pans of all sizes, a can opener, a knife set, baking sheets, a pizza cutter, spoons and spatulas, oven mitts, mixing bowls, measuring cups, a crockpot and a blender.” Though students must locate an RA to get any of these tools for them, Brown believes that the search is worth it. “You can choose what you eat and make your own food, and it’s also a fun thing to do!” she says.

Though it is fun, Brown advises students to be careful not to set off the fire alarms. “Setting off the smoke alarm happens a lot,” Conway confirms. Brown also suggests that cooks clean up as they go so that they do not face a daunting mess at the end.