To cook or not to cook: Students dish on the merits of making their own cuisine

By Shelby Devitt

Kevin Schwartz cannot cook.

“I tried,” the sophomore mechanical engineering major said. “My girlfriend was visiting, so I decided to buy steaks and tried to cook them on the George Foreman. It was a disaster.”

Living away from home for the first time can be difficult, and when it comes to meal preparation, some students are champions while others struggle.

Schwartz said his girlfriend appreciated the effort, and he saved dinner by making some tater tots in the oven of his townhouse. He said he planned on learning to cook from his mom last summer, but they never got around to it.

“I pretty much make everything on the George Foreman,” Schwartz said. “I hate Hot Pockets and all that stuff. I think it’s so unhealthy.”

Other students have the necessary skills to cook their own meals, but lack the appropriate space or equipment.

“I feel like it’s not so much students can’t cook, but it’s limited what you can do in the dorms,” said Dantasia Greer, sophomore family and child studies major.

Greer said her grandmother and mother taught her how to cook. Greer said she rarely eats in Neptune, occasionally eats in Lincoln’s dining hall and is looking forward to being able to cook more once she moves out of the dorms.

Michael Conroy, junior visual communications major, said he rarely cooks and mostly eats at the dining halls.

“I don’t really have the time and money to buy the materials, and then get the key to go down to the kitchen in the dorm,” Conroy said. “If I had a choice, I’d get fresh, healthy food. I hate fast food.”

Depending on where students live affects whether they can put their skills to use.

“I have to cook. I live in a fraternity house,” said Trenton Fuller, sophomore theatre studies major.

Fuller, a member of Pi Kappa Phi, said he has been working as a cook in restaurants since he was 16.

“If I want food, I have to walk down to the kitchen and make it,” Fuller said.

Some students may have no drive to learn to cook because it isn’t seen as a necessity yet. Katie Cornell, junior clinical laboratory science major, said she has friends who don’t know how to cook and don’t plan to learn.

“I could never live like that,” Cornell said. “There’s so many other places they could get food so they don’t have to cook.”