Food 101: A College Student’s Survival Guide

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The life of a college student is hectic. You wake up early in the morning, grab your keys and you are out the door. You’re in your car and realize you didn’t have time to have breakfast so you grab a cup of coffee and a bagel. Before you know its noon and in between studying for an afternoon exam, you grab a slice of pizza and a soda. By 5:30 you hear your stomach growling, and how do you respond? With some fast food. Finally, you’re home with papers to write and no time to eat. Congratulations: You’ve just endured the nutritional nightmare that is most college student’s typical day. Most students probably never think about food until they are hungry, and forget about cooking anything nutritious for themselves. There ought to be a book to teach you how to cook and eat healthy meals on a college budget and now, there is! Nisa Burns is a chef, culinary graduate and author of Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy and Delicious Food. Her cookbook shows students healthy, accessible alternatives to the cafeteria or the drive-thru lanes of fast food restaurants. Chef Burns teaches students how to become best friends with their kitchens in order to feed them for life, a process she calls “kitchenability”. In an interview with the Campus Slate, Chef Burns says “Kitchenability is not just a name and it’s not just a brand, it’s a way of life.” “When people embrace kitchenability, they embrace learning, developing kitchen skills and simplicity.” “Kitchenability is all about finding your inner ability.” The book provides shopping plans, supply list, budgeting tips, skills and recipes for cooking in college spaces including dorm rooms, apartments and houses. Chef Burns is a breath of fresh air in the cooking field. She is vibrant and energetic, and brings a new youthful perspective to the age-old topic of cooking. Burns didn’t start out to become a chef. She was attending Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach studying for her nursing degree. Then she realized being a nurse wasn’t her true passion. Unsure of her future, she spent her time cooking while she tried to figure things out. One day her boyfriend told her “why don’t you cook?” In that moment she knew she was meant to be a chef, “The reason why I wanted to be a nurse is I love the thought of helping people,” said Burns. “I love the thought of giving back.” “The whole thing of making people happy and seeing people get better was totally cool.” She decided to go to culinary school transferring to the Art Institute of Virginia Beach. There, she started a blog called Nisa’s Cooking; posting easy and healthy recipes online gained her fans on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Her goal of helping others and giving back was the inspiration of writing her first book “Kitchen 101”, which focus on college students; motivating them to create foods that fit their lifestyle, instead of just eating whatever is fast and available. “No one has ever focused on this specific demographic in cooking,” said Burns. “I think that students don’t understand what healthy means and they’re not educated on what may or may not be healthy and that may not be their fault.” We are told to eat healthy, but what exactly is healthy? What types of food should we eat that is beneficial to our health? This is where Chef Burns steps in and teaches us how to plan meals for the week. “I feel that my biggest goal was to develop a way and a lifestyle and a cooking method that this generation can follow and learn from and develop and take with them” said Chef Burns. Part of Burns message is that cooking can be a route to greater independence and greater sense of your own identity; which of course is a large part of why we’re in college in the first place. “You’re creating something that is specifically you,” said Burns. “You’re going out, buying the ingredients, setting yourself a budget and setting yourself a menu for the week.” The most important thing she highly stresses to students is not to cut out anything from their diet that they like. “Healthy food is regular foods in moderation,” said Chef Burns. “Healthy is all a matter of moderation or interpretation, it’s all about self-control and will power.” She has amazing recipes in the book that students can attempt, like an avocado lettuce wrap for lunch. Its light and easy, all you need to do is cut avocados and tomatoes in a bowl with fresh cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper. Mix it all together, marinate it for 15 minutes and roll it on a lettuce leaf like a taco. How about gnocchi with pesto for dinner, this may seem like a lot cooking for you to, but it’s not. You can buy gnocchi pasta at your local market and cook it in large pot or a rice cooker (for those who live in dorms). You probably think it’s easier to buy pesto sauce, but it’s not that difficult to make. All you have to do is put garlic and basil in blender or food processor then just add pine nuts, cheese and olive oil until it’s thick and smooth. All that’s left is pour the pesto sauce in the pasta and dinner is ready. These two recipes are the many meals that students can take with them on- the- go. They’re simple, delicious and healthy meals that are easy on the wallet.   Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy and Delicious Food will be on sale in October this year. For more information on the book go online at: www.kitchenability.com. Also, if you want to see the recipes online the book has QR codes that link readers to Chef Burns’ online demos. Chef Nisa Burns is on mission to spread ‘kitchenability’ to college students nationwide. While Burns has much to teach students, she says that she’s learning every day from her readers. “It has become such an amazing journey and amazing experience,” said Chef Burns. “I started this with no anticipation of making it as big as it has gotten.” “I have developed a system and a way of doing things in the kitchen that is different than what others have not been able to do. I just don’t give you a recipe. I tell you what you need. “I tell you how your skills can benefit you. Take it, Embrace it and Love it.”

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Food 101: A College Student’s Survival Guide