Whether students are living on or off campus this semester, finding the time to try out new recipes while staying within their budget can be a struggle. Students already have little time and money to spend on preparing meals, but this is especially difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Pew Research Center, about one in four college-age adults are unemployed as a result of the pandemic, making splurging on expensive ingredients or nights out at restaurants impractical.
To combat this, Pilots After Dark is hosting a Zoom webinar series, Cooking it UP! to teach students how to cook delicious, low-cost dishes using easily accessible ingredients.
“The goal is to have a cooking show that focuses on the student experience,” Director of Student Activities, Jeromy Koffler, said.
The series debuted on Sept. 25, and featured Bon Appetit Supervisor Kirk Mustain spicing up ramen noodles, adding ingredients such as egg, onion, sesame oil and seaweed. The ingredients cost less than $13 total. During the episode, Mustain gave tips about other creative things to do with ramen, including putting it into salads or using it to make a cooked rice cake, while answering live questions from the audience. Future episodes will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays.
The goal is to create exciting and versatile meals from basic foods that college students typically have. But while you could add plenty of ingredients to any dish, Mustain emphasizes that more often than not, less is more.
“Simpler is better — I try to stick with fresh things. I use a lot of herbs in my cooking, a lot of garlic, good oil,” Mustain said. “If you spend some money on these seasonings or ingredients up front, they’ll definitely enhance everything and make the overall product better.”
Mustain’s top five tips are:
Buy high quality, kosher salt
Don’t be afraid to add seasoning
Buy ingredients in-season
Learn how to cook pasta properly
Buy a rice cooker.
Future episodes will feature not only professional cooks, but students and other guests from around campus showing how they make their favorite foods.
“Father Jim Gallager is going to help us bake some bread later in November, and a couple of student groups are going to cook some dishes as well,” Koffler said.
The next Cooking it UP! livestream will be on Friday, Oct. 30, partnered with the CHamoru Club, teaching viewers how to make spam and Portugese fried rice.
In addition to the cooking series, Pilots After Dark is hosting a board game show, “Victory Points”, every Friday at 6 p.m. until the end of the semester. There’s a new game every week. “Can’t Stop”, “Point Salad”, “Butterfly” and “Incan Gold” have been played so far.
“It’s a good chance to learn something new, have a little fun and maybe meet some people as well,” Koffler said.
Contestants compete for small prizes based on the theme of each game. The next game is, “10 Minute Heist” on Friday, Oct. 30.
The Zoom link for all future events will be available on Engage.
Lindsey Warren is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.