Free cooking classes at HPER

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Elizabeth Stevens
CONTRIBUTOR

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the holiday season filled with family, friends and good food has officially kicked off. While most people look forward to spending time with the former, the time spent in the kitchen trying to perfect the latter can be a nightmare.

If you’re a UNO student in need of help this holiday baking season, Food Services and Campus Recreation have you covered with their series of free cooking demonstrations.

The demonstrations take place at HPER. Once students arrive, they listen to a PowerPoint presentation and watch the presenter prepare a few recipes. Afterwords, students have the opportunity to try a free sample of the dish and receive a few extra recipes.

The classes are designed for people who don’t know anything about cooking and want to learn how to cook.

“We’ve done them (the classes) for two semesters,” Food Services Director Wyatt Stuard said. “The first one we did was on food safety.”

In the food safety class, the instructors stressed the importance of hand washing between making different dishes, Stuard said.

Students were also taught how to properly thaw products and how to cook beef and chicken to their proper temperatures.

“We did a class on soups and casseroles,” Stuard said. “I’m from South Louisiana, so I showed people how to make a gumbo.”

During that class, students learned how to make Roux, which is a base sauce made from flour and oil that is used in gumbo, Stuard said. Roux is one of the five French mother sauces used in cooking.

Two out of three of the last cooking demonstrations for this semes-ter are holiday themed.

“We taught a baking class a few weeks ago where students learned how to make peppermint crinkle cookies and chocolate crinkle cookies,” Stuard said. “These recipes were geared toward the holidays.”

The final class, on Dec. 1, will be taught by UNO Catering Manager Brandon Williams. He will be showing students how to make and present hor d’oeuvres for holiday parties and gatherings.

Like most people, Stuard has his own favorite holiday recipes.

“My favorite thing for the holidays, coming from South Louisiana, is a turducken. It is a stuffed chicken, inside a stuffed duck that is inside a stuffed turkey,” Stuard said.

Stuard said preparing a meal should be an enjoyable experience and that students should put away their phones, computers and televisions.

“We make it a family deal,” Stuard said. “I have a 4-year-old…and she loves to cook with us. It is a family deal, where the three of us cook together.”

UNO student Crystal Akwani had a positive experience attending the cooking demonstrations.

“I attended the event because I wanted to learn about alternative cooking styles,” Akwani said.

“I loved that we got free food,” Akwani said. “They (the presenters) were already part of the school and they were showing us something new that we don’t know.”

On Thursday, HPER and Food Services will present stir fry recipes. They also sponsored a stir fry event last spring.

Students interested in attending a Cooking Demonstration should visit the events page on the UNO website.

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