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Because it’s strange and beautiful and hot, people from everywhere converge on Florida and they bring their cuisine and their traditions with them. The Zest celebrates the intersection of food and communities in the Sunshine State.

Students dish on dorm food, shared kitchens and cooking in college

students sitting around a radio recording booth

These students talk about the challenges to balancing cooking and classes, and offer some advice: Spice it up.

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Learning how to cook for yourself can be an interesting process, especially while living on your own for the first time. Three University of South Florida undergraduate students talk about meal prep, dorm food, and cooking in college.

The Zest Podcast’s Intern, Lily Theisen, lead the discussion with two other USF students, Brilan Christopher, and Kessid Vonderhaar.

Lily is a Student Athlete on the Women’s Varsity Sailing Team. She is passionate about cooking and food accessibility. She said the hardest part of cooking in college for her is making sure she actually eats enough.

Brilan Christopher is also a sailor on the Women’s Varsity Sailing Team at USF. She is a second-year student and is spending her first semester in a dorm that has a kitchen. She said the biggest advice she could give incoming college students about cooking is to buy spices.

“If you are cooking or if you have a meal plan, it doesn’t matter if you have one or the other, get spices. Get spices, get salt, and pepper. Like that is so important because when you are cooking obviously you need it, but with the dorm like a lot of the time the food is bland,” Christopher said.

Kessid Vonderhaar is also a second-year student and lives in a dorm without a private kitchen. She said her main source of food would be her meal plan, however, because she has type I diabetes, she cannot eat most food from the dining hall and has to cook at friends’ apartments off campus. Kessid said she recommends grab and go food in college because as a student you are always on the go.

Related episodes:

  1. No Recipe? No Problem: How to Cook Using Your Intuition
  2. How to Snack Smarter
  3. Season 3 Premiere: 14 Tips For Cooking Faster at Home
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