For many students who only experience home economics in middle or high school, college “cooking” becomes reduced to heating year-old ramen on the common room stovetop or chowing down on burnt Hot Pockets from a low quality microwave.
Founder and president of UMBC’s cooking club, Chew-MBC, Tola Abu ’20, chemistry, believes that college cooking should be different. “It’s such a fun, risky, and innovative craft. It’s also one of the few passions that has results that [are] shared with others,” said Abu.
In college, many students develop poor eating habits, or simply snack more than they eat nutritious meals, purely stemming from convenience. “Our goal is to teach UMBC students about the culinary arts and diet tips in a fun, easy, cheap, and healthy way,” said Abu, who counts cooking among his favorite hobbies.
Abu partnered with campus Dining Services, which provided space in The Commons for the students to practice food preparation and cooking every week, and offers guidance around cooking techniques, as well as access to campus executive chef Tim Dunn.
“Students should be able to gain a good understanding of nutrition during their college years,” said Tom DeLuca, Resident District Manager for Chartwells. “The habits that they form during college will continue after they graduate.”
Over the course of a semester, students make all types of delicious foods, and even took a trip to Baltimore’s famous Lexington Market.
“We made blueberry pancakes [the other] week and those were amazing. We baked some hash brown casserole and bacon…and last semester, we made macaroni and cheese, burgers, and brownies,” said club secretary Alexis Richardson ‘20, a computer science major with a minor in biology.
“What I like the most about Chew-MBC is that, after cooking, we can sit down, relax and enjoy our food with other people who share the same interest,” said Richardson.
– Anjali DasSarma ‘21
Photos by Kiirstn Pagan ’11 for UMBC Magazine.