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Juniors navigating the kitchen

Augustana juniors are in their first few weeks of navigating the kitchen and some of them are embracing the adventures of cooking.
For juniors, living in an apartment means a new level of independence to buy and cook their own food. Some students have found that cooking for themselves is not so bad. They have been cooking for their roommates and finding easy, go-to meals.
“Grocery shopping is kind of annoying and I had to text my mom a couple of times and have her remind me how to make things, but it’s been fun. I actually like it a lot more than eating in the dining hall,” said junior Sophie Bolanos.
However, Bolanos misses the variety of food the dining hall always had to offer. “Here it’s whatever you make is what you’re eating,” said Bolanos.
According to Bolanos, her and her roommates cook for themselves at least once a day and sometimes they cook for each other. On Saturdays Bolanos and her roommates have apartment dinners.
Bolanos and her roommates are not the only ones who like to make dinner a social event. According to junior Antonio Rojas, he and his roommates cook a meal at least four out of the seven days a week, and they try to eat together when everyone is home.
Rojas does not mind cooking either. “I would usually help my mom with cooking food at home,” said Rojas, “so I feel like I have a good understanding of how to cook.”
Rojas and his roommates’ go to meal has been pasta. “Pasta is easy to make and is filling,” said Rojas.
For Bolanos, cheese quesadillas have been a go-to meal. “They are so good and so easy,” said Bolanos.
Cooking may involve a learning curve for some students but Ariel Rodgers, the area coordinator for Transitional Living areas, thinks it can be an exciting exploratory experience for juniors.
Junior Jarek Andrzejewski learned the hard way that some dishes take longer to cook. “I was like I’ll make chicken parmesan for everybody, and I was cooking chicken for like an hour, an hour and a half, and by the time I was done everybody had left to do other things,” said Andrzejewski.
What is one of the biggest issues students have in the kitchen? According to Rogers, students may just have a hard time using the right temperatures and responding when things start to get out of control.
“A majority of fire alarms are set off by cooking incidents,” said Rogers.
According to Rogers, eggs are one of the foods that cause fire alarms most frequently.
Cooking things on higher heat is not always the most productive way to cook. “It will still cook the food,” said Rogers, “but it will probably cook and taste better on a lower temperature.”
Additionally, Rogers thinks it is important for students to be aware of the best ways to respond to flaming food in the kitchen.
“Don’t put water on it because that’s just going to make it smoke more,” said Rogers.
Using the exhaust fan is an important tool for students to be aware of. According to Rogers, the fire alarms in Swanson are especially sensitive so for students who live there, and in all the TLAs, it is important to have a plan when food starts to smoke up.
“So, if you know that you are going to cook something that might produce a little bit of smoke, try opening up the windows or turning on the exhaust fan,” said Rogers, “That is important in all the TLAs because the exhaust fan is pulling out that smoke.”