Cooking classes teach Roanoke’s summer students meal-making basics

by rcnewsblog on July 11, 2013

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Roanoke students cut green peppers for a pork chop and rice meal on Monday in New Hall’s Honors kitchen.

Roanoke College summer students, are you tired of eating Ramen noodles to fuel your midnight munchies? Is your bank account dwindling from frequent restaurant visits?

Summer students have undoubtedly fallen into the pitfall of where, when, and what to eat during their summer stay on Roanoke’s campus.

The Commons is open sporadically during the summer for camps and special events hosted at the College, but the Cavern remains closed until the fall semester begins. Meal plans also are not available during the summer, leaving these students to provide their own food.

Dr. Julie Lyon, director of student/faculty research at Roanoke College, decided to help summer students find a dining solution. She created a cooking demonstration series this summer for students, taught by Roanoke’s faculty and staff.  The weekly demonstrations teach students how to cook a simple meal on a budget.

So far, the classes have been a hit.

Since the first week of June, students have gathered each Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the Honors kitchen inside the College’s New Hall, for a meal-making lesson.

Roanoke librarian Piper Cumbo has taught students how to make pita hummus pizza, while biology professor Dr. Marilee Ramesh introduced a simple stir fry recipe.  Other staffers have taught students the basics of grilling and making spaghetti and tuna and egg salad sandwiches. Vegetable curry, garden pizzas, and a mushroom noodle casserole courses are planned for the remaining weeks.

On a recent Monday, seven students learned how to cook pork chops and rice, with instruction from Kathy Lester, who is the payroll coordinator in the College’s Business office.

Lester began the demonstration by coating a non-stick pan with vegetable oil, while students sliced a green pepper and diced a tomato. Lester put a package of boneless center cut chops in a pan and on a stove top.  She cooked the pork chops until both sides were a light caramel color. Then, she layered the sliced tomatoes and peppers on top of the pork chops, along with a can of diced tomatoes. She covered the skillet and cooked the meal on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Then, Lester showed students how to boil rice. She added water and three cups of instant rice to the pan. She cooked the rice and pork chop meal together for five more minutes before it was ready to eat.

After tasting the food, Roanoke student Kaitlyn Bell ’14, said it reminded her of grilled stuffed peppers, with pork.

Some students have come to the weekly cooking demonstrations eager to learn to cook something new, tasty, and cheap. Some have even tried the recipes on their own.

Taryn Johnson, a rising sophomore, is on campus this summer for research that involves studying a strand of Tuberculosis. Johnson said she learned to make stir fry during one of the cooking demonstrations, and since then, she has made it on her own.

-By Allison Shannon ’15

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