UW course gets students fired up about food and nutrition

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Lander Hall chef’s table is abuzz on Thursday afternoons, as a University of Washington course brings students out of the lecture hall and into the kitchen to learn about food science and nutrition.

The first cooking course taught at the UW in more than three decades (when "home economics" was in vogue), Culinary Nutrition Science (NUTR 241) is a collaboration between the UW School of Public Health and UW Housing & Food Services. Anne-Marie Gloster, a lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and the Nutritional Sciences Program, teaches the course.

The three-credit course takes a hands-on approach to teaching the scientific principles behind modern culinary techniques. During the first part of the week, students are in the classroom studying the physics and chemistry of food preparation as well as nutrition-related topics, such as the difference between carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.

The latter part of the week is spent in the kitchen preparing sous vide eggs (in which food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch or a glass jar and then placed in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times at an accurately regulated temperature), flipping crepes, brining short ribs and baking challah bread, a braided bread in Jewish cuisine. Labs take place at the chef’s table demonstration kitchen at Local Point, an on-campus dining hall located in Lander Hall.

Students also learn important lessons in food safety and gain an appreciation for cooking healthy meals. The course is open to all UW undergraduates during the winter and spring quarters. The only prerequisite is Nutrition for Today (NUTR 200).