I'll be the first to admit that, as a student, if I don't find the subject matter of a class interesting, I'll stop paying attention within the first three classes. As I look back on my short time here at Berkeley, one thing I consistently had in my class schedule was at least one course related to food. After all, I did find my love of food writing through Spoon University at Berkeley, so naturally, I wanted to foster that interest while taking required classes. 

One person I became friends with through one of these food classes reached out to me recently for class recommendations with a food focus. As a transfer student, I didn't know if I could give her a comprehensive list, but I reached out to my fellow Spoon members for new recommendations. The results were immediate and surprising—I had no clue Berkeley had such a strong connection to food in its course catalog. So instead of letting those recommendations go to one person, why not share them with everyone? 

1. English 143N: Non-Fiction Prose Food Writing

As an English major, this class felt like it was tailor-made for me when someone sent me the class information my way in Fall 2017. Sure, there was an application process to sign up for the class, but it was well worth the extra effort. This small workshop-style class, filled with other talented foodies and writers in their own right, elevated my understanding of food writing. It was what changed food from a hobby to the art form it is to me now.

#SpoonTip: If you get waitlisted, go to the first class. You never know who might decide to drop at the last second. 

2. DeCal—Life Skills: Intro to Baking

One of the most popular DeCals in Berkeley's course catalog, Intro To Baking, boasts well over a thousand applicants per semester. Don't be discouraged though—it's still worth putting in an application. Each class is about learning a new baking technique, where students make their own recipes at home and share them with the class next week. If anything, at least you can try other people's food in class.  

3. L&S 20E: Edible Stories

This course was the class that got away for me. I didn't have the opportunity to take this class since I'm a transfer student, but any Berkeley underclassmen should take this class. The syllabus boasts quite a few interesting food memoirs, cookbooks, and photo compilations as part of the required reading. If that isn't enough to convince, Kathleen Moran is one of the most passionate professors Berkeley has to offer. 

4. NST 108A/108B: Introduction and Application of Food Science

While I am a loud and proud humanities major, I find the science of food endlessly fascinating. Each week covers one major food group—like milk, meats, fruits, and veg—by breaking down the biological structure and chemical composition of a food. The class also aims to educate how the impact of food quality and preparation changes a food's composition. If you are an Alton Brown foodie and a science major, this class is a must.

5. NST 10: Introduction to Human Nutrition

For health-minded foodies, Intro to Human Nutrition is a solid option in your class schedule. It's a great starting point to learn the relationship between diet and health. If you have ever been confused about why macros are so important, what increases the risks of certain diseases, and why water is so essential to the body, sign up for this class. A major plus about this class is that it is offered all year round, including Summer Sessions. 

6. Sociology 169F: Cultural Perspectives of Food

Those who find the larger social impacts of food exciting and eye-opening should consider this class at some point in their undergrad career. The class not only looks into how foods feed the physical body but also how food nourishes people socially and culturally. While I was never able to fit this class into my schedule, the required texts for the class sits in my bookshelf for some fun reading in the future. 

7. AMST 102: Hands On The Vine—The California Wine Industry

Any student with a love of food over the age of 21 needs to take this class. This class has it all—wine tastings, great readings, engaging lectures, and a professor that genuinely loves this class. One particular field trip to Ceja Winery in Sonoma made the wine world seem less intimidating to newcomers like myself. You don't have to drink alcohol to appreciate the long history of wine from a global and regional perspective—but it sure does help. 

8. DeCal: California Foods 

If you only need a couple of credits to fill out your schedule, this is a DeCal to consider. The California Foods DeCal focuses on bringing in local food professionals to give talks about various topics and the broader California food system. They also have a discussion section to allow students to voice their questions and thoughts on weekly subjects. 

9. UGBA 192T: Edible Education

While this is technically a business class, you don't have to be a Haas student to take this course. The class originated eight years ago by Michael Pollan and Alice Waters—two of the biggest food names to come from UC Berkeley. Now, the course boasts over a hundred students per semester.

Now spearheaded by William Rosenzweig, each year focuses on a new topic like sustainability or change to the food industry. The class brings in some celebrities from the food industry—like Samin Nosrat and Michel Nischan—to speak about the various intersections of food and business. The class changed how I see and interact with food so it was well worth the extra time and effort every week.

10. NST W104: Food, Culture, and The Environment

If you can't fit Edible Education into your schedule, no worries. NST W104 is a Summer Session course that builds off of Edible Education, hoping to educate students on food systems by looking at cultural cuisines that sustain groups of people all around the world. Best of all, it fulfills the American Cultures requirement to graduate

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received before going to community college was from my high school English teacher. He told me that there was always room in a course schedule to take a class you were genuinely interested in, even if it served no purpose to your degree. It made semesters that almost broke me bearable, making me look forward to classes even when I was struggling to make it through the week.

As I go forth toward my great big unknown, I hope that you treat your time at Berkeley as a gift. Carve out time in your class schedule and take that course that speaks to you and your happiness. After all, you only get so many years here—might as well make the very best of it.