It's the first day of my last semester, and I keep thinking of everything as the "last-first." Like, it's my last First Day of New Classes! My last First Meal Back on Campus! Hopefully, I break out of this habit or it could be a long thirteen weeks. 

I'm really looking forward to this final semester of college and soaking up everything CHC and UMass have to offer. I'm especially excited to take some food and cooking-related classes, like the course Food, History and Cultural Identity in Italy, and an Honors seminar called Exploring Chinese Culture Through Tea. On such a big campus, there's so much offered here — you can really study and be involved in the things you're passionate about. The key is going out and finding these opportunities and the people who share your interests!

Looking back on my college experience, I've realized how much I've been able to explore my love of cooking and food here at UMass, both in my classes and in my free time. If you like to cook too, here's a list of some of the experiences available to us as UMass students!

  • Baking and Chocolate 101— Learn to make desserts (and get a peek inside the giant, professional kitchen) with this free class from UMass Dining, taught by a chef! Bonus: you get to take home a box of the desserts you make in class.
  • The Apple Festival, Garlic Festival — Fall is an awesome time to be in Western Mass, and not just because of the foliage. I've loved visiting the Apple Festival and the Garlic Festival, which both take place in the fall, to find out more about local resturants, food vendors, and farms. 
  • The UMass Farmer's Market— On spring and autumn Fridays, check out the farmer's market right here on campus! There's produce for sale, of course, but you can also find jewelry and artwork, and there are even live music performances. 
  • Welcome Back at the dining halls — When your school has the #1 dining in the country, you can find a lot of recipe inspiration at the dining halls! Often, I'll make note of things I've really enjoyed and see if I can replicate them at home. This week, the dining halls are offering a Welcome Back special menu! Who else is looking forward to Mac 'n Cheese Bar and Late Night Avocado Fries?

This week, I'm looking forward to making my new favorite salad dressing, Carrot-Ginger, pictured above. Happy Spring Semester!

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