Event combines rock climbing and cooking


photo courtesy calvin.edu

As the smells of butter and garlic began to fill the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex last Tuesday, more and more students wandered by to watch a group of juniors and seniors racing up the rock wall and returning with recipes for soup which they then cooked on the spot. This improbable event, the first ever Climbing and Culinary Night, was hosted by Bob Crow, dean of student development and part of the Upperclass Task Force (UTF).

Crow said he found inspiration for this unique function over Christmas break, while trying to think of events that “would include food preparation instruction, but also fun, physical activity for students.” The UTF encourages healthy and balanced diets among students, so this Climbing and Culinary Night fit well with the mission.

Upperclassmen signed up in teams of four for the event, and met at 5:00 to climb the rock wall in search of recipe cards. After retrieving a recipe, students rushed to cooking stations where they created cheesy broccoli and ham soup under the expert supervision of Chef Ian Ramirez.

Ramirez taught the group about the essentials of soups, explaining how to saute without burning, how to make a ‘roux’ and most importantly how to create a ‘mirepoix,’ the “trinity of cooking” that includes chopped celery, onions and carrots.

One student, Gerrit Van Klaveren, was pulled into one of the cooking groups on the way to track practice. He was impressed that such a casual event turned out so well. Van Klaveren also felt that he learned some valuable cooking skills that he will be able to use.

“This was some pretty simple stuff,” he said, “and so many people don’t know how to do it.”

Lauren Verstraete signed up for the event because it sounded “fun and crazy,” and agrees that it went very well — besides several burnt tongues.

Crow is confident that students can embrace healthy living, and he hopes to continue planning events that are both “educational and delicious!”