College Lifestyles interviewed the food connoisseurs Phoebe Lapine and Cara Eisenpress, the founders of Big Girls Small Kitchen. Big Girls Small Kitchen is a food website with recipes and cooking tips for young women. The site provides information on how to do everything from making the most of your leftovers to frying an egg. Small Kitchen College is segment of Big Girls Small Kitchen that relates specifically to college women.
Here is what the food-savvy ladies of BGSK said:
College Lifestyles: What inspired the creation of Small Kitchen College?
Big Girls Small Kitchen: We launched Small Kitchen College back in March 2011 as a virtual little sibling to Big Girls Small Kitchen. Cooking brings people together, even if it’s done in a dorm room, and we wanted to take our original mission of providing accessible, affordable recipes for twenty-somethings and apply it to a younger generation with even fewer kitchen resources! Small Kitchen College gives current students and recent graduates, who may or may not yet have access to their own kitchens, the tips, tricks, and recipes they need to scrape together a satisfying meal for themselves, and for friends.
CL: What is your top tip for healthy cooking?
BGSK: We love using whole grains. It’s important not to deprive yourself of the things you crave. For us, that craving would be carbs. Brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta are great ways to stay healthy and still eat your comfort dishes. Some favorites include: Brown Rice Jambalaya; Nutty Quinoa Cakes; Moroccan Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Pita
CL: What are two nutritious snacks that are perfect for on-the-go girls?
BGSK: Homemade Sweet Potato Chips if you’re making the snack yourself, and sunflower seeds if not. We give a run down of the healthiest vending machine snacks, and sunflower seeds are top of our list!
CL: What is your favorite quick and easy dinner recipe for college students?
BGSK: One of our first recipes developed for the site was a Cashew Chicken dish that you can make in the microwave! It doesn’t get quicker than that.
CL: How can students easily add veggies to their meals?
BGSK: Never underestimate the power of a side salad, at the dining hall or at home. Keep a box of greens handy and some homemade Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette, and you’ll always have a quick veggie side dish at your fingertips!
CL: What is one piece of advice that you would give to college students struggling to cook meals?
BGSK: Don’t be intimidated by your lack of money, equipment or skill—just get in the kitchen! If you’re just starting out, try cooking for one. If you mess up, you’ll be the only one witnessing the results. Once you get more practice ou can share all your wonderful creations with friends and really have fun with your cooking.
CL: What are two nutritious breakfast recipes that college girls can make within ten to fifteen minutes in the morning?
BGSK: Perfect scrambled eggs on whole wheat toast is your best go-to basic breakfast. If you want to get a little fancier, spinach pie quesadilla helps you get a good dose of veggies in the morning, and comes together in a flash.
CL: What is one cooking utensil that every student should have in their kitchen?
BGSK: A good chef’s knife! Here’s a list of 10 other must-have items for a first kitchen if you want to go from there.
CL: What is a good rule for navigating the dorm cafeteria?
BGSK: Get creative, and put those microwaves to work. There are many DIY dining hall meals that you can “cook” yourself right on the premises.
CL: What is a universal cooking tip that you feel every college student should know?
BGSK: The art of the olive oil “fried” egg. It’s a great way to add protein to any dish without having to go out and buy meat, which can get expensive.
CL: What is your favorite recipe?
BGSK: Cara: Pancakes are really amazing, and these Pumpkin Pancakes are perfect for fall. Phoebe: I love a great stew, and this Beef Bourguignon is always a winner.
CL: Do you have a favorite quote about cooking? If so, what is it?
BGSK: “Playfulness and passion trump propriety.” –Frank Bruni
CL: What do you see in the future for SKC?
BGSK: We have a new group of writers who just joined the team—now we have over 30 contributors! We’re excited to keep building our recipe database with accessible, affordable dishes for college students. We’ll also be visiting campuses this fall to promote our book, In the Small Kitchen, bringing our recipes to a dining hall near you!
Big Girl Small Kitchen is an excellent resource for college women to learn how to cook nutritious meals on a budget. Happy cooking CL ladies!
Maggie Young is a junior at the University of Kansas majoring in journalism and loves to cook healthy meals. Her favorite recipe on BGSK is the Arugula Caprese salad because it is light and refreshing.