Though Bon Appetit always offers a sure and ready meal, some students have made use of the kitchens in their dorms and off-campus housing to whip up their daily meals.
Cooking is intimidating and if you happen to be scared of your kitchen, or looking to switch up what you’re eating, here is the ultimate guide to cooking on campus, created by some of Hillsdale’s best.
- All you have to do is dive in
The hardest part is getting started. But what’s the worst that can happen when you venture into your kitchen? Picking up that spatula and bowl might lead to something special.
Senior Trevor Vogel decided to take the leap into the kitchen when he had some down time during the nationwide lockdown last spring.
“Starting last spring, during the pandemic, I was here with roommates and we had nothing else to do but to go to class and hang out so I picked up cooking,” Vogel said. “I started experimenting because I had the time. I tried lots of new things. I made corn beef briskets, got into baking, and steak is the most ambitious thing that I have done.”
But if you don’t even know where to dive in, freshman Caroline Beall said it can be as simple as starting with what you like — and what you don’t.
“I’ve been cooking my own food since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was a junior in high school,” she wrote in an email. “ Just think of something you love to eat and find a simple recipe and practice it a lot.”
- It brings you a ‘slice’ of home
According to Hillsdale College’s website, 70% of Hillsdale’s student’s come from outside of Michigan. Students come from all 50 states and 14 foreign countries, so there is a chance someone, somewhere is a little bit homesick, and cooking is a good way to cure that.
Junior Rachel Kiti came to Hillsdale from Kenya and began cooking when she found the food in the U.S. was making her sick. Additionally, cooking Kenyan food brought her a slice of home.
“It is a time for me to feel nostalgic, you know, create a calm moment,” Kiti said. “There’s just some things that you want to do to feel like you’re at home. So I think food does that, it makes me feel good.”
Ask mom for her buffalo chicken dip recipe and bring home to Hillsdale, no matter how far away.
- Your friends will appreciate it
Who doesn’t like a friend who can whip up a nice meal? But in all seriousness, food is a great way to entertain, make friends, and get closer to others.
“Cooking is a good way to be with friends,” Vogel said. “We make something we can all enjoy together. That is definitely the biggest thing, it is a good way to grow closer to people and care for them.”
And if you become really good, word might get around and people might start asking you to cook for them.
“People allow me to cook for them which shows they appreciate cultures,” Kiti said. “There is fellowship through sharing food.”
- Invest in cooking and it’ll pay off
Ever heard of the saying “you’ll get out of it what you put into it”? That goes for all things: sports, school, and especially cooking.
“It is a good idea to invest at least a little bit in nice equipment. Get a nice knife or two, a cast iron skillet, and some more exotic spices that can make a recipe really good,” Vogel said. “But have fun with it and don’t make it a task or a chore. Cooking should be something you enjoy; you want to enjoy the food and the process.”
Investing doesn’t have to mean purchasing expensive tools, it can mean spending time finding cheap, but good ingredients, Vogel said. He and his housemates shop at Kroger for most ingredients and then get their steak from Ferry Farms in Litchfield, Michigan.
Kiti suggests whipping up a good stew is the best place to start.
“I think any stew that is sold to anyone should just add garlic and ginger, a pinch of ginger, cilantro, salt and black pepper,” Kiti said. “Those are the basic ingredients, that’s where the magic happens, even if you don’t add so many, like Italian. I think if you just get those five things, you’re good to go.”