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No More Ramen! Free Cooking Classes at Abba Java

The Abba Java Coffee House on East College Avenue is one of State College’s best kept secrets. The bottom floor of Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church serves many purposes: it  is a place to study, drink a cup of coffee, socialize, and even cook. Pastor Karen Urbanski offers free cooking classes every Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Urbanski teaches her students helpful tips to save money when budgets are tight. I attended the class last Wednesday, and felt as though I was cooking with someone whom I had known all my life. I felt very welcome even though I did not know Pastor Karen or her other students who were regulars at the church, and at classes. Seeing as I am very incompetent in the kitchen, I was sure that there was no help out there for me. I had always thought cooking was only for those who had the time and the money for it.

As soon as Pastor Karen started to teach, I began to think that even I, the one who cannot seem to master Easy Mac, could actually cook something decent enough for others to eat.  The large basement actually felt very welcoming, not a bad place to study or catch up with a friend. Comfy couches are spaced out across the linoleum floor, along with a few tables and chairs. The church even has a spacious study room, designated as a quiet area, with tables, chairs, and computers.

We cooked our meal in a school lunchroom-style kitchen, except we weren’t making chicken patties and eating from Styrofoam trays. Golden tilapia with mixed vegetables was on the dinner menu. A package of tilapia, Italian breadcrumbs, milk, mixed veggies, olive oil, and some seasoning is all it took to make a presentable and delicious meal on a college budget.  Not only did I get to eat a free meal, I learned how to prepare, cook, and store the leftovers properly. Cooking time was only about 15 to 20 minutes, but I stuck around to enjoy a homemade meal and lively conversation with the other students. The class was much more than I had expected it to be. Now, I too could cook a meal without the use of a microwave and plastic dinnerware.

If you’re on a budget, and are really sick of Ramen, stop by The Abba Java Coffeehouse on Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

Coffee House Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 6-9 p.m.

Wednesday:  9 a.m. to noon, 5-9 p.m.

For more information:

Penn State Wesley on Facebook

[email protected]

***This Wednesday there will be no cooking class.  Classes will resume on October 5***

About the Author


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