On the savory side

Dining at E-Hall

Dining at E-Hall

So much of what happens at James Madison University bubbles up from students whose enthusiasm is contagious and irrepressible. Other campuses may experience this, but I would bet that few institutions are as receptive to the ideas that students generate.

One of the many iterations of this highly valued student enthusiasm is the number and variety of clubs and organizations on campus. There are hundreds — literally hundreds — that students enjoy. On some campuses if you don’t belong to a fraternity or sorority, you don’t fit in anywhere. Not so at JMU. Clubs and organizations have formed around a dizzying variety of interests —  ultimate frisbee, fashion, climbing, golf, French, leadership, animal rights, astronomy, bellydancing, billiards, engineering, knitting, fly fishing, justice, peace, scuba. On the website (see embedded link above), the list goes on and on — 345 and counting. At JMU there is a place for everyone and everyone has a place. Even foodies.

Last week, Be the Change intern Tyler McAvoy (’13), caught up with a couple of Madison’s most enthusiastic foodies. One of those, Cameron Young, is trying to start a food club on campus. Here’s what Tyler learned about these two food enthusiasts.

A walk on the savory side

Tyler McAvoy (’13)

We live in a culture of convenience, and while this spawned the Keurig K-Cup coffee maker (by most accounts, the best use of electricity and hot water ever) it also means that most of us don’t eat as well as we probably should.  We live in a world filled with artificial preservatives, greasy fast-food, chemically dusted fruits and vegetables and meat filled with steroids and growth hormones.

The more we speed up, the more we use microwaves over ovens, the more we buy a weeks worth of frozen entrees instead of a week’s worth of fresh ingredients, the more we eat in the car, or at our work stations.  We’ve forgotten how to slow down, and we’ve forgotten how to cook.

JMU students Morgan Robinson (’13) and Cameron Young (’15) want to change that. (You may remember Morgan from earlier blog posts.)

For Morgan and Cameron there is more to food than just satisfying basic needs, to them food is about the experience.

“It’s sharing stories, laughter, and life with friends and family. Food bridges connections between people of all walks of life and of all corners of the earth — it’s the one thing we all have in common,” Morgan says.

Morgan plans to go to Slow Foods Institute, a culinary school in Ireland after she graduates in May with a degree in modern foreign languages. Then she hopes to travel across Europe studying with chefs in Italy and France to hone her skills. Food is a gateway to a globetrotting career; it’s a gateway to understanding the people of the world through experiencing their food culture.

Cooking is often considered a type of art, and Morgan believes that we’re quickly losing grasp of it.

“I think what our generation lacks is the foundational set of cooking skills; we resort to convenience over quality more often than not,” says Morgan. “I am all about real food.”

Cameron, a sophomore International Business major agrees. He’s working to create JMU’s first cooking club, Cooking at Madison. The club is meant to be more than just a place for hungry college students to indulge themselves; it’s meant to be a place for those who love food culture.

“I want to differentiate between people between people who want to eat and people who want to cook.  I want people who love food and love the culture,” Cameron says.

Cameron started cooking at a young age, and quickly took to it.  His grandfather is a chef and has been his biggest influence on his life and the way he looks at food.

“Cooking is my passion. It’s nourishment for the body. We have to eat three times a day, so we might as well enjoy it,” Cameron says.

Morgan and Cameron aren’t alone in their desire for better food either. We live in an area that is becoming increasingly diverse in its great food selection. Between Harrisonburg’s Friendly City Co-op, the Farmers’ Markets that are becoming increasingly popular, and the great local restaurants, we have all the right ingredients for fostering a vibrant food culture in the area, and slowing down to enjoy the experience.

You can learn more about Morgan and Cameron on their blogs, which you can access from the links embedded with their names.

About grahammb
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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