The sound of meat sizzling on the grill and the fresh aroma of bruschetta fill the kitchen while student chef-bloggers concoct an original — a Breeze burger.
The cooking team consists of four communication studies majors who started blogging as part of their advanced public relations writing class. Their posts on their site "Let's Get Basted" include cheap and easy dishes for college students, like a Guinness chocolate pie and a Cajun chicken and vegetable skillet.
After studying the nutritional values of campus’ most popular dishes, the team discovered how unhealthy some of them were.
The pasta bowl at Market One inspired senior member Kelsey Mohring to create a healthier version using bowtie pasta, mixed vegetables and oil and vinegar dressing.
“I usually try to see what I have in my refrigerator and cabinets because college students need a quick meal,” Mohring said.
At the beginning of the project, the team chose a theme for each week.
“This week’s theme was ‘brain food,’ so I just looked up what’s good for the brain and made a sophisticated meal easier and came up with granola,” Mohring said. “I made a yogurt parfait and added a bit of coconut in the granola to add some spunk to the recipe. You can really cook something that tastes good without time, money or energy.”
Next week, the team is planning food for the theme “crunch time” to help everyone prepare for finals week.
It’s been a learning experience for the team, both in the kitchen and on the web, as each group member has had little-to-no experience with both blogging and cooking.
After a lot of brainstorming, the team narrowed down their options to food, music, fitness, fashion and wedding blogs, but the team ultimately decided that food was something they were all interested in.
Their website consists of detailed posts of how each member came up with their recipe, ingredients and directions on how to make it.
While the blog mostly contains posts for themed recipes, such as a “Hunger Games” recipe and one encouraging green initiatives, they also include advice ranging from which groceries to avoid and buying cheap produce to making the switch from ice cream to yogurt.
Through experimentation, the team has learned to cook.
“I usually just throw whatever I have into a bowl and play around until it tastes good,” said senior Ryan Cosgrove.
The team’s goal is to have one member post each day. They usually cook individually and are assigned nights to post a new recipe. Their posts contain original recipes as well as re-blogs.
“I’ve learned that a blog is very difficult to maintain,” said junior Katie Casey. “People are expecting posts every day, so it requires a lot of constant effort. I don’t ever want to let a follower down.”
The team chose the blog’s name to catch people’s attention. Humor has played a big role in their blogging process, to show people you can have fun while cooking and that there’s no need to be afraid of the kitchen. The team refers to the readers as “foodies” whenever addressing them in their posts.
“One cool thing I came across during this experience was last week, I created a Goldfish nachos recipe,” Cosgrove said. “One lady had commented on the post saying she liked the idea but couldn’t have gluten. I searched the web for a way to make this a gluten-free recipe and reposted it for her.”
Aside from picking up skills in the kitchen and on the web, Cosgrove has also seen the benefits of a public forum.
“It shows you can easily connect with people, not just your friends,” Cosgrove said.
The team created a contest that invites students to visit the blog and vote for their favorite campus dish. The bloggers then recreated the winning recipe: a Pad Thai dish. The recipe will be posted on their blog soon.
“I was originally concerned about our blog not taking off, but the fact we’ve gotten people to have conversations on our blog really amazes me,” Mohring said. “We’ve even had guest bloggers, which wasn’t expected.”
The members hope that their blog will evolve beyond just a class project.
“We don’t want this to just go to waste after the semester ends,” said senior Sarah Hayes. “We hope to all continue blogging when we have time, or possibly pass it down to other students.”
Contact Bridget Condon at email@example.com.