‘Live to eat, don’t eat to live’: How UC students adopt home-cooked meals | News

Cutting board, ingredients, cook from home

At the University of Cincinnati, more and more students are electing to skip the expensive food delivery apps and opt into getting a little messy in the kitchen. 

The aroma of sizzling onions, the satisfaction of plating your hard work, the change in how your body feels: There are countless reasons why students choose to engage in creating home-cooked meals and investing time into cooking as a skill. At the University of Cincinnati (UC), more and more students are electing to skip the expensive food delivery apps and opt into getting a little messy in the kitchen. 

The satisfaction of a home-cooked meal is arguably hard to beat. Cole Kueper, a second-year marketing student, has begun to live by the motto, “Live to eat, don’t eat to live.” His love of cooking came from a very young age. 

“I was first interested in cooking ever since I could walk, my family are very big foodies,” said Kueper. “My family always made me try new foods, which was the real source of my cooking passion. I was eating salmon at the age of two and have not stopped since. As of today, I have a full-blown cooking passion.”

What started as a passion has become a skill for Kueper, which he sees as necessary for living on your own. Fourth-year accounting student Sydney Ginter shares this sentiment. 

“One thing I’ve found super beneficial about cooking is that it has taught me a lot about nutrition. A lot of quick meals like freezer meals and fast food are full of sodium and lack [much] nutritional value,” said Ginter. “As I’m getting older, I’m trying a lot harder to eat food with nutritional value and food that tastes good.”

Ginter’s current favorite foods to make for herself include a variety of soups and stews. 

“[Soups and stews] are so easy and can last a while, especially right now with the cold weather and classes starting back up. It’s super convenient,” said Ginter. “My absolute favorite is beef stew.”

Keuper’s current favorite meal he makes for himself is a carefully crafted steak and mushroom sandwich, served with a side of roasted brussel sprouts. 

“Steak, mushrooms and roasted brussel sprouts are some of my favorite foods, and whenever I can use one, two, or three of them, I do,” said Kueper. 

Both student chefs agree that while a passion, cooking can be a chore to some students. They urge other UC students to discover the hidden joy and love inside their kitchens. 

“It’s so much easier to go out and get food, but I always remind myself that it’s much more rewarding to make a good meal myself, not to mention much cheaper,” said Ginter.

Kueper has centered his crafting of meals as one of the highlights of his day. Often, he finds himself imagining what kind of concoction he will be whipping up in the kitchen that night. The process gives him something to look forward to no matter what day. 

While Kueper has had a long head start in the art of cooking, he still believes that any student can choose to pick the skill up whenever they would like. Places like TikTok, which features viral recipes such as the feta pasta or Gigi Hadid’s spicy vodka pasta, make it easy for students to start exploring ways to incorporate more home-cooked goodness into their plates. 

“Once you try cooking, you realize how easy it is,” said Kueper. “All cooking is following instructions, just find a recipe you like and follow it step by step.”

Gitner urges students to keep it simple. It can be overwhelming while still learning to worry about cooking things to temperature or following the exact food sciences necessary for more complex recipes. 

“I started off making just basic pastas, just canned sauce and noodles, and breakfast foods like eggs and pancakes,” said Gitner. “Starting simple the way I did made it pretty easy to learn.”

Cooking as a lifestyle can fundamentally improve the relationships students have with their health and serve as a new creative outlet. Kueper knows that no matter how his day is going, once he can just exist in his kitchen, it won’t matter. 

“When I am cooking, I am not thinking about anything else going on in the world or my life; I am just thinking about the meal I am cooking,” said Kueper. “Cooking is a way to escape from the stressors in life and just focus on the good, delicious parts.”






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