Calorie-laden burgers and fries? Greasy pizza slices? Skipped meals?
“Is this a good way to eat the week before exams? Probably not,” medical student Amber Beery asked (and answered) in her funding proposal to Ohio State’s Medical Alumni Society.
Since 1978, the Medical Alumni Society has offered support for one-time projects “to enrich the academic, cultural and artistic environment and programs of the College of Medicine.”
With visions of med students crammed in campus libraries, sustaining themselves on high-calorie, low-nutrition, take-out orders, Beery proposed to the Alumni Society this recipe for success – “Fun, Fast and Healthy: Medical Student Cooking Series.”
“I propose that the medical school offer a monthly or bi-monthly cooking class that focuses on smart and healthy cooking and eating, with special attention to easy and fast meals with fresh and local ingredients,” wrote Beery. “Some of the classes would be geared more toward beginners and participants would learn very basic methods and techniques, while other classes would provide an opportunity for those a little more seasoned in the kitchen to be exposed to new and healthy ideas,” she added.
With funding from the Alumni Society, administrative support from the College and the teaching resources of Local Matters, classes were offered in autumn 2011 to all Ohio State medical students. Local Matters is a community-based non-profit dedicated to increasing the availability and consumption of wholesome, local foods. Students paid $10 per class and ate what they cooked.
“The classes filled in less than an hour, and there was a waiting list. We hope to be able to offer more classes in the future,” says Eileen Mehl, director of Student Activities in the College of Medicine.
While classes focused on nutritious foods that are reasonably priced, easy to prepare and taste good, the cooking classes have much more to offer.
“If we as future physicians are better equipped with healthy and easy options, we will be much more prepared to counsel our patients and give them practical ideas for changing their own habits,” says Beery.
“We cannot overlook the cultural and artistic aspects of this project either. The cooking classes would be a fabulous way for students to learn a new skill or go beyond the basics. They would leave classes with several recipes to get them started in their own kitchens. Furthermore, it would expose them to new cuisines and ingredients that they might not have tried on their own.”
The cooking classes have left medical students hungry for more, so Mehl says she and Beery will evaluate the program, blend in a few new ideas and serve up new classes in the coming year.
See photos and learn more at http://local-matters.org/blog/laura-robertson-boyd/culinary-boot-camp
.Photo above courtesy of local-matter.org