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Watch and Learn --Eating Healthy Cooking Demonstrations

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
November 21, 2007

Eating healthy is all about know-how. That’s why, a few years ago, Dining Services began offering cooking demonstrations for students to show them just that. Now, three times a semester students have the chance to sit in on a cooking class where they can learn to make good food taste great.

Previous menus featured such delectables as nest of spaghetti squash with asparagus, julienne butternut squash and red pepper; seared tilapia on collard greens with tomato-basil linguini and tomato sauce; and tornado of beef with wild mushrooms.

Oh, so much better than a diet of lettuce and yogurt.

“We’ll make just about anything anyone asks,” says Ralph Coughenour, director of culinary services. “We’ve had demonstrations in the dorms; for grad students.”

The demonstrations were added to Dining’s repertoire three years ago as an added value for students as well as a way to educate them on healthful food preparations and presentations.

“We also wanted to show the students who we are and what we are really all about and that is high quality service and food,” Coughenour says. Typically between 25 and 30 students attend the cooking classes. Sometimes a student will bring a recipe and ask for help in its preparation.

Coughenour takes the time to talk about the ingredients being used in the demo and where students can buy them. As he prepares each course, he explains the cooking techniques and how to build what he calls “flavor profiles.” Take soup, for example.

“There’s a lot more involved in making soup than tossing all of the ingredients into a pot and simmering it until it is cooked,” he says. “For example, certain vegetables need to caramelize before they are deglazed and allowed to sweat.”

In addition to the cooking demonstrations, Dining Services’ Web site offers nutritional tips such as focusing on all the food groups when deciding what to eat, eating slowly, paying attention to portion sizes and not skipping breakfast.

The next cooking demonstration is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Piscataqua Room, Holloway Common.

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