Western students learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget

Once a week for six weeks, thirteen students filled the Mears and Moffat kitchens to learn how to cook healthy meals on their own.

The Cooking Matters class prepared students for life beyond the dining hall, where mealtime means fending for themselves. The class taught students how to cook, buy groceries on a budget, and make healthy decisions in the face of tempting, easy meals.

Throughout the course, students worked together to prepare the ingredients and make their dinners. They cooked everything from stir fry to jambalaya—all in a healthy manner. A nutritionist explained the benefits of cooking at home, and volunteer instructors provided participants with enough ingredients to make the meal of the day again on their own time.

Cooking Matters

“I knew how to cook before, but this class helped me refine my skills and learn different techniques for cooking.” said sophomore Audrey Bell, who made it to every class.

If participants made it to half the classes, they earned a certificate of completion, while those who attended every class were rewarded with chefs knives.

Mears resident Alexis McGuffie proclaimed, “If this class was offered again I would take it again. It is a great experience and you learn a lot of skills, like how to properly handle foods and cut foods. I really enjoyed it.”

Cooking Matters has been offered in Gunnison for three years under a grant that Mountain Roots obtained from the national nonprofit Share Our Strength. This fall, Mountain Roots brought the program to campus for the first time.

“Students should go to this class if they are interested in learning some basic cooking skills, getting free food and meeting new people.” said sophomore Adam Parks.

Not only did these students make new friends and eat good food, they learned a life skill that they will be able to use and refer back to for the rest of their lives.

Story and photos by Grace Flynn

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Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 9:15am