New bay area restaurants make and take time off of the cooking process

Rarely does the dorm room stove hold sway over the dorm room microwave. In reality, college lifestyles usually don’t cater to complicated entrees. But a growing trend in Tampa may have more students putting down the ramen and picking up something more healthy. And that’s a good thing.

The trend, derived from the Northwest, allows customers to gather uncooked ingredients and then cook them at home. According to The Tampa Tribune, this concept, referred to as “make, take and bake,” can be found at two locations (soon too be three) in the Tampa Bay area. Now everyone can have the made-from-scratch-meals they yearn for.

Two of the restaurants, Make ‘n’ Take Meals (which opened its doors in October in Oldsmar) and Dinner Done (which opened two weeks ago in Carrollwood), provide customers a menu from which they can pick items to have made. The third restaurant, Lets Eat!, according to The Tribune, is expected to open within the week in south Tampa. For example, 12 meals, each having four to six servings, costs anywhere from $159 to $255, which works out to be around $3 per serving.

Though much of the grunt work, such as chopping and dicing, is done for you, you are still cooking the meals, placing them on the table and receiving all the glory. Mark Ericson, a certified master chef and vice president for continuing education at the Culinary Institute of America, told The Tribune that he was not surprised that there would be a trend toward people wanting to avoid some of the time-consuming activities related to cooking. Essentially, people are hiring a prep cook.

A report from the Center for Disease Control in 2000 indicated that 15.2 million college students were obese, an 8 percent increase since 1991.

Staying away from the fatty comfort foods that are so easy to consume — and so detrimental to your health — is a step college students might consider taking.

And for fast-paced students who can’t find that extra hour to create the meal of their dreams, the “make, take and bake” concept would appear to be a viable and healthy solution.