Fort Hays State University campers learned the chemistry of cooking this week.
Sixteen freshmen and sophomores signed up for the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Sciences one-week camp.
“I thought cooking and chemistry go together very well since cooking is nothing but edible chemistry,” said Loretta Dorn, chemistry department chairwoman.
Dorn and Arvin Cruz, FHSU assistant professor of chemistry, are teaching the class.
The camp helps students see the connection between chemistry and their everyday life.
Students spent an hour or two in the morning in the classroom getting scientific background on the day’s cooking project.
The rest of the day, they worked in groups of four making the recipes that illustrate the scientific premise — and eating what they cooked.
On Thursday morning, the students baked shortbread, pound cake, glazed butter cookies and brownies.
In the afternoon, they cooked an ice cream mixture to be churned for an ice cream social in the evening.
Each group mixed and cooked a different flavor — vanilla, chocolate, peach and strawberry sorbet.
Cooking is involved because real ice cream uses eggs and heavy cream, Dorn said.
Emily Linder attended the camp to learn more about cooking.
“I was an avid watcher of Food Network, so I always used to say, in theory, I could cook,” she said.
“So this is kind of like putting everything into use. I’m very happy about this.”
Camden Meyer, Dorrance, also took the class because of the cooking.
“Cooking is a very important skill to have,” Meyer said. “I want to be a baker, so I’m trying to learn new recipes. It’s been fun.”
Quinter sophomore Cody Richardson came for the chemistry.
“Cooking is a nice skill to have, but I wish there was a little more classroom time so we could do more chemistry,” he said.
This week is the longest Linder, a Baldwin sophomore, has been away from home, and she admitted to a bit of homesickness.
“Once you get past the first day, it’s not that bad,” she said.
The camp also helps get the students interested in the KAMS program, Dorn said.
Camp director Cari Rohleder said the camp has gone well, and the students have “just been loving it.”
Cruz said the class is a “good way to introduce them to like chemistry.”
Students were so excited about KAMS and the FHSU chemistry department, Cruz gave them a tour of the department.
Macei Meyer, a Leavenworth freshman, had “so much fun here. It’s better than I imagined.”