What I’ve found out to be one of the most depressing parts about college thus far is the lack of cooking availability. At home, I cook almost every day. My mom will walk into my room on a Saturday morning, wake me up, and ask me when breakfast will be ready. Coming from that to having almost nothing has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Here’s what I miss the most:
1.) Actual Pots and Pans
While Houston Hall may have a “kitchen,” there are virtually no utensils/cookware to work with. It amazes me when I walk in and smell anything remotely good coming out of there when most of the time the kitchen is a barren wasteland with no hopes of anything “yummy” coming out of it. Yet, people somehow manage to work around that on rare occasions, and when they do, you better believe that I am the first person to poke my head in there and ask for a bite. It also amazes me how someone from Houston Hall was able to set off the fire alarm at 3 a.m. a few weeks ago by cooking bacon in that same very kitchen. Props to you, late-night bacon lover.
2.) Real Ingredients
While there are many supermarkets close by, I do not have the time or the funds to gather ingredients to actually make something good. What I’ve learned is to try to get creative at the dining halls. For example, my friends and I all experiment with building the best bowls—that is salad bowl, burrito bowl, breakfast bowl, etc. My personal favorite is the “weekend brunch bowl” as I like to call it, which consists of brown rice, chicken, eggs, black beans, guacamole, and a little hot sauce—a true classic.
3.) Space to Move
Cooking is my type of therapy. I cannot draw or dance or do anything remotely creative, but I can make a mean lasagna. One of the greatest parts of cooking itself is having the space to spread out, move around, and work the kitchen. Last week, I finally got the opportunity to at least try to recreate some of the feelings that cooking brings to me when I went on a member-pledge date (for a fraternity that I am currently rushing), at a member’s house for brunch. She asked if I wanted to cook or if she should just do it, and you better believe I got right behind the stove and started cooking. I made blueberry pancakes, and it was honestly the best part of my entire week.
I guess the only part about cooking that I do not miss one bit is the cleaning. Whenever I make a big meal, there is always an even bigger mess—something which I always graciously leave for my dad to clean up later. My theory is always if I’m cooking, then someone else should clean it. That’s fair logic, right? Nevertheless, mess or no mess, I miss cooking. I miss watching Chopped on Thursday nights—which I’ve also learned to be impossible because the one channel that does not work on the school TV is 25 which is the Food Network. I miss smelling garlic on my hands after making meatballs, and I even miss staring at a pot of water waiting for it to boil which always seems to take longer than just letting it go (a watched pot really does not boil), and I miss the satisfaction of staring down at a plate of food that I’ve just poured everything into for the past two hours. Here’s to all the homeless chefs out there, whose only joy in food in college comes from watching the minute long Tasty videos on Facebook.