Cooking is an important part of being a newlywed. Think about it. Popular gifts for newlyweds cater to the cooking scene. When couples register, they often spend a great majority of time picking out their favorite dishes, forks and pots. But once you get all the stuff, what do you do?
There’s a class for that!
Today I attended a lunch I was invited to for a family and consumer sciences cooking lab in FCS 240, Family Resource Management. Senior Katie Sullivan and sophomores Paige Ried and Alissa Buckner were my gracious hostesses. Sullivan, whom I have known for many years, contacted me and explained that as a part of the class’ weekly cooking lab, she had to cook a meal and prepare a table setting for a guest.
I’m not the most stable at the table. I’m the one knocking over glasses, dropping my silverware, and ramming the table with my knees. (When you’re almost 6-feet tall, there’s not much anyone can do for you.) I stated this disclaimer at the start of the meal, but these girls made me feel right at ease.
While Sullivan talked about making Mexican rice and taco rings, my curiosity spiked. What do you actually learn in a class called Family Resource Management?
The class is split into groups of three. Each member of the class takes turns cooking meals and assembling a table setting. When one member cooks, another member helps. The third member plans for the next meal. In addition to developing and preparing a menu, students have a budget to stay within, an etiquette expectation to maintain, and a table setting format to create.
Dr. Denise Fisher, associate professor of FCS, grades students on a given rubric of requirements that starts with a detailed schedule of the meal from start to finish and ends with a clean-up routine. I didn’t realize how helpful a schedule actually would be in using every moment of time wisely to make preparations for a guest.
Though logistics and etiquette are a huge part of the process, learning how to host someone and prepare something nice for them is valuable experience for anyone to gain at any age. It beats my go-to process of popping some pizza rolls in the oven and serving lukewarm tap water in whatever cup is clean.
Students hold themselves to high standards in this class, which was obvious in interaction with my group who didn’t miss a beat. They were graceful and poised, and the meal was delicious. Maybe I ought to have considered taking this class when I was in college. My husband probably would have appreciated it.
Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services