Cooking classes offered to Linfield students over Jan term


Students preparing butternut squash soup at one of the cooking classes. Photo courtesy of Bridger Hayes-Lattin

Riley Omonaka, News Editor

Finding affordable food options can be difficult. Finding food that is flavorful AND affordable can be challenging. For students just beginning their culinary journey grocery lists can be overwhelming. How do you even put together a nutritionally balanced meal on a student budget?

Haley Hmura, the coordinator of student wellness and survivor advocacy programs, aims to ease those troubles through the official Jan term cooking classes. With the help of guest cooks, Hmura is teaching students (free of charge) how to make a new delicious meal every week on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. in the Elkington Hall kitchen.

“I am so glad I had this opportunity,” Hmura said. “I think there are so many life skills students and even myself can learn from the grocery shopping process, prep and cooking process.”

Thus far the class has taught students how to make cheesy black bean bake, roasted butternut squash with hot honey chickpeas and creamy curried butternut squash soup. All recipes taught in the class cost less than a meal at the Dillin Dining Hall. Made with nutritionally dense foods these recipes are designed to be quick, filling and most importantly: tasty.

“You can take your flavor profile down so many different avenues with these dishes,” Patty Haddeland Director of student health, wellness and counseling said.

Haddeland, a certified foodie, shared many cooking hacks and tips during the classes. She encouraged students to use what they already have, like saving jars to mix salad dressing in. Her recipe included only two ingredients: mustard and vinegar, providing a tart and delicious topping to greens. Haddeland also had a myriad of cooking tips for newer chefs.

One of her favorites was “heat up your pan, then heat up your oil,” to prevent burning oils when cooking.

These hands-on classes taught students technical skills through practice. Linfield students got practice simmering, chopping, mixing and baking. There was also a fun bonus of learning how to grow microgreens. The final class hosted guest chefs Linda Levy and Martha Works, who taught a small class of students and staff how to make roasted butternut squash with hot honey. The class was laden with tips on picking spices and tweaking recipes.

Students may have come for the classes, but students were also able to get to know members of Linfield’s staff. Elkington was alive with the smell of rich spices and lively conversations.

“These classes can help people connect and make campus feel less empty,” attendee and Linfield senior Katy Schmitt said.

Jeremy Richards, university chaplain and director of student leadership was in attendance for the first class. He came as both a student and an educator. As a novice in cooking he too was learning, but he also took the opportunity to talk to students about the Wildcat food pantry.

There are several ways students and community members can help the food pantry. Students can donate extra meal swipes to students in need and everyone can donate to the food pantry via the donation box outside of Riley 301 or the pantry’s amazon wishlist.

The Jan term cooking classes were about so much more than free food. Those evenings in the Elkington kitchen were about accessibility, community and tradition. The classes have been going on for the last decade every January helping Linfield students and faculty alike learn.