For many undergraduate students, college is their first real whiff of independence. And if it is, successfully executing small tasks such as cooking and cleaning can feel impossible.
At Pepperdine University, freshmen are required to live on-campus and purchase a 1,500-point meal plan. It makes the transition easy because having 1,500 points means the majority of freshmen eat almost every meal in the school cafeteria.
However, after students go through the deer-in-the-headlights first year phase, sophomores, juniors and seniors are given more freedom in selecting meal plan sizes. The question of, “To cook or not to cook?” comes into play.
Throughout this feature, sophomore Conor Burke; juniors Alina Ching and Yi Quin; and seniors Chase Vanderpol, Brandon Scheirman and Patrick Rear share their experiences and opinions surrounding the topic of “College Cooking.”
[Full disclosure: I have worked closely with Scheirman and Rear as fellow staff members of the Pepperdine Graphic. Currently, I am the print managing editor, Rear is the Perspectives section editor and Scheirman is a photographer.]
Do you like to cook?
While cooking at home rather than buying Caf food may be cheaper, healthier and even more enjoyable, students’ busy lives can hinder the development of their inner-chef.
Vanderpol is often busy with pre-med studies, Qin takes an abundance of night classes, Ching competes on the NCAA Division I women’s golf team and Burke is a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Rear participates as a member of the Graphic staff and the Pepperdine Debate team, and Scheirman is a photographer and serves on SGA.
While breaking out the pots and pans daily is unrealistic, the six of them said that at one point or another they have cooked meals while attending Pepperdine. That led straight into the next question.
What’s your go-to dish?
Each person brought up a variety of dishes from pizza to pancakes. Additionally, Scheirman and Rear explained that studying abroad in Germany sparked their passion for cooking.
“In Heidelberg we had a kitchen and we all often made giant feasts,” Rear said as Scheirman nodded in agreement.
Now, the two host a monthly brunch in their George Page apartment.
“There’s nothing more exciting and more fun than making a giant dinner or a giant breakfast with ten of your favorite friends,” Scheirman said.
Because Scheirman and Rear express such joy in routinely flexing their culinary skills, I then asked if they would give a mini tour of their apartment kitchen and provide tips to any college students struggling to grasp the cooking concept.
“Welcome to our apartment”: Kitchen tour and cooking tips
Something to note is that these guys didn’t become pro-chefs overnight. Both began cooking from a young age and it carried over to enhance their college experience.
Rear grew up living abroad in Austria as well as in Portland, Ore., and said he always had an interest in food.
“When I came to Pepperdine, I was dismayed I did not have a kitchen,” Rear said. “So it became a goal to get a kitchen.”
Likewise, Scheirman said he also expressed sadness upon the lack of a kitchen his freshman and junior years. He was a freshman RA his third year.
Scheirman’s love for cooking was brought about by the fact that his grandparents “had a couple of restaurants in the Portland, Ore., area.”
Even though Scheirman and Rear have extensive culinary experience stemming from childhood, they encourage everyone to join in on the fun — as Rear stated at the end of the above clip:
“Just do it. Don’t be afraid. It’s a great time to bring friends together and bond and have fun. And you get good food out of it in the end.”