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College Students

Just curious if there are other college students out there that are into food. I can't say I've met any, but maybe thats just me. I enjoy cooking, but for one its tough, and you can't really go out to eat alone (yes, I have friends that like to go out, but they're certainly not down for sweetbreads, or escargots, or anything of that sort, as well as the prices that come along with it).

Any ideas on meeting people that share this similar interest?

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  1. Does your college paper have a food critic/ column? If not, write up something and show it to the editor. You may be surprised about the interest. Once you're published, others may want to join you for your next foray.

    1. Where are you living, in a dorm or apartment? Does it have a kitchen? I would invite your friends over to dinner and take note of anyone who shows an interest beyond simple politeness. Maybe they want to come over early and help, or they ask how you made something, etc.

      My senior year of college I had a roommate who shared my enthusiasm for, and complete ignorance of, home cooked meals. We churned out some real stinkers that year but it was the most fun I've ever had, and at the end of the year we both counted ourselves pretty decent home cooks.

      1. As someone who learned to cook in college, and currently works at one, I say yes, there are many college students out there that share your affinity for food.

        I definitely agree with the student newspaper suggestion - great idea to enhance your own interest in food but to see if there are others that share your interest.

        Also, look into starting a club on campus - either a cooking club or a restaurant club that brings like minded students together. You can probably get some start up funding from your student government, and each member can pay small dues to do some cooking or go out to eat. Invite staff and faculty as well, since they can help connect students together with this same interest.

        You could also start a Facebook page or Twitter feed at your school that revolves around your cooking interest. Who knows... maybe you'll start the next big social media site.

        Finally, if you have a culinary or hospitality program on campus you should take some classes and target students in that area.

        Good luck, and get moving on starting the interest on your campus.

        1. My girlfriend and I are both juniors in college and huge hounds! Eating our way through Dallas and Houston on a trip right now actually!

          1. There absolutely are other college students who are passionate about food! If you enjoy cooking, one great way to share and maybe inspire others to be more into food is just to host picnics, dinner parties, brunches, etc. I did that in school and it was always greatly appreciated. As someone else has suggested already, you can start a cooking club on campus too. One on my old campus formed while I was a student and was really successful in partnering with local restaurants for chef demonstrations and that kind of thing. Another club formed with the mission of educating children (particularly low-income) on food at an early age and teaching them how to cook.

            One thing that I always found hard in college was convincing friends that spending more than $10-15 on a meal was worth it!

            3 Replies
            1. re: betterbeheaven

              There is a club, and I've tried emailing them several times to no response. I can't say I've noticed their presence on campus either.

              I totally get you on convincing people to spend on dinner! Admittedly it is expensive, but I'd rather spend my money going out to eat than on alcohol and getting into clubs.

              1. re: schoenfelderp

                Amen, I'm in the same boat, luckily, my school is paid for and all the money I make working goes toward dining and cooking

                1. re: schoenfelderp

                  Ask the Student Life dept at your school the current status of the club. They might be looking for someone like you to help resurrect it. Clubs can change membership and enthusiasm every couple of years but still wind up on the college club list. Good luck! I love your enthusiasm!

              2. Does your college have any culinary classes? The students may not be foodies, but the teaches may be able to point you in the right direction. Also check into culinary schools in the area. There's a nice culinary school near my college.

                3 Replies
                1. re: ThePiedPiper

                  Unfortunately my school doesn't have any culinary classes. I'd LOVE to take a class at a culinary school but I can't really afford it on top of my student loans right now.

                  1. re: schoenfelderp

                    I don't know where you're writing from, but out where I have, the local Extention Sevice (part of the department of agriculture) has classes and things you can do to get involved with food.

                    Also, look for high-end shops that sell culinary equipment and things of that nature. We have one here and they are always putting out flyers for nighttime cooking classes.

                    Check out your local community education programs, too.

                    1. re: natewrites

                      Providence in summer, Boston in the school year. I took one of the Chef's Choice classes at Johnson and Wales which was cool, but expensive to do on any regular basis.

                2. Yes. College students do love good food. When I was in college, other students would buy the food if I'd cook. I was on a really right budget and worked, so that was nice. We'd all eat well and all contributed in different ways. They'd cover burgers or steaks, and I'd grill them for example.

                  My son is now the cook and griller in his circle at college. He didn't do much cooking here at home, but I started a web site with family recipes that are easy and with detailed instructions. I add more recipes when I have time or when he asks about a certain recipe.

                  I also teach at the college, and some of my students ask for my recipes if I cook them something. I also post for them with an eye for costs and also with some rather simple homemade foods.

                  So, I would say, YES, for sure, college students do enjoy home cooked food.

                  1. My 19 yr old son loves to cook and calls regularly to get my suggestions for frittata, tagines (I bought him one in Morocco), stews, soups, etc. He also adores making dessert crepes, fruit cobblers. He has taken sous chef training as well.
                    His problem? Most of his friends won't even try his cooking preferring to live on frozen chicken nuggets and pizza. He is more than willing to do all the cooking in exchange for others doing the cleaning but they aren't interested. A man who can cook? What a catch!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ola

                      Wow. I can't imagine students passing on homemade food. My experience has been that students (back in the day and also currently) are thrilled to get home cooked food. I hope your son finds some friends who enjoy home cooked food. They are sure missing out by not trying his dishes.

                      My son lost 30 lbs his first year at college eating cafeteria food and fast food. He then learned to cook. He is now teaching some of his friends too.

                    2. My University has a community garden, if yours does that might be a place to find people with a shared interest. Also try and figure out if there is a hangout for people into the DIY movement - you might find people into cooking, canning, gardening there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: corneygirl

                        That's such a good idea! I'm definitely going to look into that!

                      2. there are a number of reasons college students may not appear interested in food:

                        1. many college students are struggling to survive on a minimum budget, the money they spend on the meal plan may be all they can afford. splurging for anything other than a date just isnt a reality.

                        2. they don't feel they have the time or energy to put into food.

                        3. they havent been exposed to much in the way of good food, didn't grow up wiith it and have enough new experiences that they can't avoid.

                        4. they really believe they LIKE the taste of fast food. I have a friend who will only go to fast food chains to eat. "normal" food tastes funny to him (yes, really).

                        5. gotta start simple. spaghetti, pot roast, mashed potatoes. I'm a pretty adventurous eater. I at least tried escargot, pate, and caviar before deciding it was nasty stuff (at least to me.)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          You make good points there.

                          On the flip side, it really is less expensive and healthier to cook. But, the student has to have that option with a kitchen in a dorm suite or with living off campus. Even with the options, it might not happen if the interest or knowlege is not there.

                          We live in a rural area, so fast food is not fast. It has always meant a trip to town to eat in or to pick up carry out. It is quicker to cook at home in this case. So, the boys have had more home meals than restaurant, although we do eat out or pick up as well.

                          My son's college friends really love his dishes and most that I've passed on are low cost and fairly easy to make.

                        2. I was a college foodie, and did a lot of cooking, but fine dining was completely off my radar. Sure, I could have gone out for an occasional higher end meal, but it would mean not going out at all for the rest of the month, which might be nice from a culinary perspective, but would have been pretty dull from a social perspective.

                          As an undergrad I rarely went out to eat anything more complicated than fries and gravy from the school cafeteria (one of their few identifiable, edible, affordable dishes). It wasn't through lack of interest, but money was *really* tight - I also rarely went out for movies, and even pub nights were maybe once every two weeks or so, and I would rarely drink more than one beer. An extra special post-exam treat would be something like take-out curry sauce and naan from a nearby Indian restaurant, combined with home-made rice, or take-out fish and chips. We tended to do house parties a lot (with or without a meal), which were strictly BYOB.

                          In grad school, finances were still tight but there was more money for entertainment and eating out. I had the advantage of living in the middle of a city with great international food, so for restaurants we tended to go for cheap hole-in-the-walls that had great food; Indian, Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian, the occasiona lower end sushi combo lunch.

                          I'm not sure about where to meet people - we had a number of food fans in my department - but home cooking and exploring local markets and neighbourhoods might be a better sell than fine dining when you do.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                            It's not necessarily fine dining I'm talking about (although yes, I am interested in it). It's going to a restaurant that I know is going to source the best ingredients; fresh, organic, and local, and thats something that is important to me.

                            I think at this point cooking for people is the way to go. Cooking things other students will recognize but are not things they would typically make, maybe some braised oxtails or gnocchi in brown butter with vegetables (from the farmer's market of course).

                            1. re: schoenfelderp

                              colledge students are going to recognize braised oxtails? gnocchi? Not where I grew up. Most college students are not going to be making anything they cant do in the microwave that they aren't even supposed to have in their dorm room. But then I was pretty much hopelessly white bread middle class. Gourmet food meant anything that didn't come out of a box or a can. If you are in a position to be able to cook, im sure you will find interested eaters.