While most classes require students to listen to lectures, some classes offered in the nutritional sciences department include cooking and food tasting in the syllabus.One of these classes, food and culture, taught by Anne VanBeber, professor and chair of the nutritional sciences department, is being offered for the first time this semester to provide students with the foundational knowledge that the American Dietetic Association requires, VanBeber said.
Nutritional sciences majors and majors not within the department can take the food and culture class, which is part of the cultural awareness component of the new core, VanBeber said.
Students will learn about nomads and early food-gathering and trading techniques, VanBeber said, and taste different foods – even “slimy pickled cactus.”
“It allows them out of their comfort zone and to learn more when they try new things,” VanBeber said.
Other nutrition courses offer hands-on learning experiences as well, she said. For example, meal management, which is open in the fall for nutritional sciences majors and nonmajor upper-level students, allow students to cook meals and learn the aesthetics of creating meals and about economics of food, VanBeber said.
One assignment includes planning a two-course meal for four people with a budget of less than $10, she said.
In the quantity foods class, students are now working with Dining Services, said Sally Hampton, an insructor for the department of nutritional sciences.
This is the first semester they have been able to do this, Hampton said.
“It gives them real-life experiences with mass production in food and knowledge they’ll face as professionals,” Hampton said.
Students are being trained to comply with all health and food regulations, which includes obtaining a license before handling food, she said.
The nutritional sciences department also offers an exclusive class – one just for seniors.
Gourmet foods is offered in the spring to nutritional science majors and nonmajors whom are graduating seniors.
“This class is for seniors to look forward to,” VanBeber said.
Provost Nowell Donovan prepared a traditional Scottish meal for the class last spring, she said.
Former TCU librarian Bob Seal, who took the gourmet foods class in spring 2004, said the class took a field trip to the Central Market Cooking School where they learned to make tamales.
“I like to cook as a hobby and had heard that her class was fun so I asked her if I could take it,” Seal said.
Guest chefs have also spoken to the class.
Shannon Shipp, an associate professor and chair in the department of marketing, spoke to the class and prepared a gourmet feast in previous years, she said. The meal included scallops, chicken with cream and mushrooms and mixed berry sorbet, Shipp said.
“My goal was to show the students we could make healthy, attractive food in not a lot of time,” Shipp said.
Departmental budget covers all costs of food and supplies for all nutrition science classes. Students pay the $45 lab fee to participate in the class, VanBeber said.