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Off the meal plan: What students are cooking

With award-winning dining facilities available on campus, UNH students often take for granted the ease with which they can stuff their faces for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Whether it be a 10:30 p.m. run to late night at Philly or one of HoCo’s many delicious, themed dinners, the process of eating at the dining halls is incredibly simple and almost mindless; you realize you’re hungry, walk to the dining hall, grab a plate and choose whatever it is you want.

But what about those students who don’t have the dining halls available to them at all times? How do the commuters and the other students living off campus keep themselves fed regularly?

The Gables, as well as other off-campus housing facilities generally provide their residents with basic cooking appliances such as stoves, ovens, and refrigerators. The students are given the accommodations. The real question is, how often do they utilize them?

Andrea Jaskulski, a resident of the Gables, admits that she rarely uses the appliances in her apartment.

“I cook pasta and occasionally buffalo chicken dip,” said Jaskulski, “but that’s about the extent of my cooking.”

With an unlimited dining plan, Jaskulski claims to frequent the dining halls exponentially more than she cooks in her apartment.

“The only types of food I normally buy are snacks to hold me off until I go eat at the dining halls,” Jaskulski said. “I very rarely cook huge meals in my apartment.”

Since the process of eating at the dining hall is so easy, some may argue that it doesn’t make sense to cook your own food at all. Is there actually anybody who cooks his or her own meals every night?

“I used to make pasta in large quantities in the beginning of the week and have leftovers every night for dinner,” said Will Amar, a former resident of an off-campus apartment in Madbury. “I was too far away from campus last year, so I never really wanted to make the trek to the dining halls.”

“I probably spent around 40 to 50 dollars a week on groceries; mostly canned goods and pasta and the usual; milk, eggs and cereal,” Amar said.

Now a commuter, Amar limits himself to 150 swipes a semester and spends most of his time on campus in the dining halls before making the 45-minute commute home to Pembroke.

Having a full kitchen set, however, can be quite a fun experience, according to Lauren Rousseau, a student living in the Gables.

An individual of Italian descent, Rousseau cooks old family recipes usually 3 or 4 times a week in her apartment.

“I most often cook chicken piccata,” said Rousseau, “to make it you cook the chicken in chicken stock in a pan on the stove and throw in some lemon juice, parsley and capers and put it over angel hair pasta– its delicious.”

For those living off campus who want to try cooking, the option is there, and for those who would rather not make a mess in the kitchen, HoCo is open 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

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