For Unreal, the phrase "Cooking with College Dudes" conjures up one indelible image: a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. We considered our college-dude pals really talented: They could prepare it on the stove, in the microwave or in a hot pot.

But on OneBeerMeals.com, a Web site produced by actual college dudes at Drury University down in Springfield, there is nary a box of Kraft to be found. These dudes cook salmon. Salmon in a microwave-safe plastic bag, yes, but salmon nonetheless. And in the amount of time it takes to drink one beer! Unreal caught up with the head dude, senior David McKay, to find out how this amazing feat was accomplished.

Unreal: OK, forgive us if we're wrong, but doesn't it only take a college dude, like, 30 seconds to drink a beer?

David McKay: Yeah, if you're partying. But if you're really enjoying the beer, you can make it last twenty minutes. We don't stick to the one-beer rule, though, just to making sure each meal takes twenty to twenty-five minutes.

Do more elaborate meals require a 40?

We don't have anything like 40s.

What kind of beer do you prefer to cook with?

To use in our recipes?

No, no, to drink while you're cooking. In the videos on the site, you guys are always waving beer bottles around, but you cover up the labels.

I prefer Boulevard Wheat. It's brewed out of Kansas City. It's got a nice, good flavor, not overwhelming like Guinness. It doesn't take away from the flavor of the food.

What's your favorite recipe on the site?

I like the fish tacos. I thought it would be a good idea for a semi-healthy meal.

Do you hope to get on the Food Network someday?

That would be nice, but we don't know how to go about it.

You'd probably need a catchphrase, you know, like Emeril's: "Bam!"

We have "Cooking with College Dudes."

How do you get your kitchen so clean? The kitchens of the college dudes we used to know were really gross.

Before the shows, we clean. It usually is pretty gross before that. But we want to keep things sanitary. We wash our hands. We definitely want to promote that. Along with quick and delicious meals.

Thus inspired, we decided to prepare a One Beer Meal. We chose "Cheeseburger & Fries Casserole," mostly because we happened to have a pound of ground chuck on hand but also because it sounded vaguely collegiate. We invited over an elite group of tasters and, sparing no expense, liberated a Miller Chill from the RFT beer-vending machine.

Perhaps our knife skills were lacking, but it was half an hour before we finished chopping onions, pickles and potatoes and loaded the casserole into the microwave. Our tasters had put the Miller aside and amused themselves by doing Internet searches of the police records of prominent St. Louisans.

One of the tasters became alarmed when he noticed the microwave was still going after ten minutes. "Can microwaves cook that long?" he asked. "Won't it, you know, explode?"

We reassured him it would not, and, sure enough, five minutes later, we plopped the finished casserole on the table.

It did not look appetizing. The potatoes on top appeared more soggy than "fried." We took a deep breath, raised a serving spoon and plunged in.

It tasted like it looked. The meat had cooked through and the cheese (Kraft singles) had melted, but the strongest flavor was ketchup and mustard.

"This smell reminds me of working at McDonald's!" one taster cried nostalgically.

"You worked at McDonald's, too?" another asked. They bonded.

"Why make a cheeseburger casserole when you have all the ingredients for a real cheeseburger?" groused the taster who'd worried about the microwave. "Where did they get this idea, their mom?"

Only one taster finished her portion; she said she might have enjoyed the "Cheeseburger & Fries Casserole" when she was a small child.

Still, she declined seconds. 

Move Over, Mayo
A glance at the names entered in the 2008 NBA draft reads like a who's who of college stars: Beasley, Rose, Rush, Mayo, Love, Feinstein...

Feinstein?

If you're blanking on that last one, you're not alone. That would be Zach Feinstein, a junior at Washington University majoring in systems engineering and applied mathematics.

After reviewing the league's collective-bargaining agreement, Feinstein realized that he too was eligible to enter his name in the draft (though when he says he's got "game" he's likely referring to World of Warcraft). Feinstein, who stands five-eight and weighs 130 pounds, is listed as one of the draft's twelve "Unknown Individuals."

To support his cause, Feinstein has created a Web site (www.draftfeinstein.com), which lists his scouting report ("lacks actual basketball skills, ability, and experience"), stats ("educated estimations from pick-up basketball"), and photos of his correspondence with the league.

Unreal caught up with the diminutive dunker to hear how he's handling his potential leap from college to the pros.

Why declare for the NBA draft?

I feel like I've accomplished all that I set out to do in collegiate athletics. It's time to take my game to the next level.

What did you accomplish?

Absolutely nothing.

What do you think the odds of you getting drafted are?

I think it depends on which teams are having salary-cap issues.

What if Isaiah Thomas was still coaching the Knicks?

I would probably say they're still pretty slim.

What does your highlight reel look like?

Probably the shots where I wasn't blocked.

You list your last level played as "third grade rec league." Is that above or below the Italian Professional League?

At that time I was shorter and smaller than most of the other players as well. I feel it is a good comparison to how I would play in the NBA. I haven't watched any games in the Italian League, but I'd probably say that since they get paid, they're maybe a slight amount better.

You've proposed several nicknames for yourself. We're partial to the "Jewish Jordan," but that kind of implies greatness. Are you prepared for that baggage?

I think that should pretty much be taken out of consideration, since that was already given to [former University of Maryland recruit and Orthodox Jew] Tamir Goodman. As great as it would have been, I couldn't accept it.

If you could name yourself like Kobe Bryant did, what would you pick?

So far the top picks are "Zachary Daiquiri" and "Shvitzing." It's Yiddish for sweating.

Who was the last NBA draftee that majored in systems engineering and applied mathematics? I'm guessing it wasn't Michael Beasley.

It's probably never happened. See, I'd add another level of diversity on the court.

Anything to add for the scouts who won't be reading this?

Maybe give me the chance that they were never given. 

Local Blog o' the Week
"Two Lines on a Stick"
www.twolinesonastick.com
Author: Tara

About the blogger: Tara is a stay-at-home-mom with a one-year-old daughter, who sells Avon on the side for extra cash. Her husband is a great daddy. The blog's tagline explains its title: "My life began when I saw those two pink lines...".

Recent Highlight (May 8): I need a graduation present

We just got an invitation to our neighbor kid's graduation party. I have absolutely no idea what to bring except money. I really don't want to spend more than $20 and I am worried that a $20 check looks shabby. It's a guy, and he is going to a state college for engineering in the fall. He likes outdoors stuff (camping, working in the yard, etc) and I think he's a little bit dorky. Oh and he's a wrestler. Is there somewhere cool that I could get him a gift card for? Or a gift that wouldn't be cheesy? I have no idea what to buy guys, honestly, except for my husband. Please give me some suggestions.

Also I should probably say that my husband and this kid's dad talk a lot and they came to Bailey's birthday party and stuff. So they aren't just random neighbors, we actually know them fairly well.

Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog? Send the URL to unreal@riverfronttimes.com

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