Taking time for tasty treats between tests

Getting together to grill is a favorite pastime of Nick George and his college buddies.

“Our motto is ‘Everyone has to eat, we just prefer to eat well when we can,’ ” George said.

The 21-year-old LSU biology major from Lake Charles said that during the semester “between blocks of tests,” he and his friends plan grilling feasts.

“It’s usually ‘bring whatever you got.’ If we have it, we bring it, or a couple of us will run to the store and pick up what we need,” he said.

George said his freezer is usually full of frozen venison, fish and duck from hunting or fishing trips back home or extra meat his parents buy for him to bring back to school.

George began acquiring his grilling skills at an early age.

“Both my parents cooked home-cooked meals every night. I helped my dad more than my mom because he did all the outside grilling,” George said.

The family’s freezer is always full of wild fish, game and crabs. “If we wanted to, we could live off the land,” he said.

One of his college buddies in Baton Rouge received a ceramic grill for his 21st birthday, so it’s at his apartment where a lot of the grill gatherings take place.

“When I’m at home and just cooking for myself, I’ve been known to use the George Foreman grill,” he said.

George said his father is part Lebanese and makes kibbe, a Lebanese meat pie or meatball-like dish, for a local restaurant. Because of this, he said there has always been fresh basil, mint and jalapeƱos in the garden.

When in season, the cupboard is also full of homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables. Consequently, most of George’s recipes include freshly chopped vegetables.

Although he and his friends enjoy experimenting and creating new recipes, George has been able to impart his cooking skills to his friends.

“I’ve taught most of them how to make good gumbo and gravies,” he said.