Cook Like You Know What You're Doing, Upperclassmen!
Written by Amy Dauer So, you just moved in to an apartment. No more Sodexo, am I right? You’re dorm-free, you have your own appliances, the sky’s the limit, and you’re left with the only question that can shut this I’m-a-grown-up party down: what do I eat? I have some flour. Can I eat that? Fret not, my friends. I’ve been there. I know. We’ve all had starving days, but hopefully with some advice I can help you get off on the right foot. Mama Amy is gon’ take rull good care o’ y’all. 1. Go back to your Sodexo days. One day I went out and bought tortillas. What can you do with tortillas? Quesadillas, baby! But what else? Think back to ye olde days of standing in line at the wrap station in the caf. Purchase the meats, vegetables, or condiments you once ordered on your wraps. Need inspiration? There is no shame in walking over to the caf and reading the menus for ingredients.
2. My first time in an apartment, I lived in a 4-person in McMillan. Being crammed in a tiny kitchen with three other people who also need to make dinner at the same time really taught me some things. Getting stuck in between cupboards and the fridge door is the perfect opportunity to notice what your roommate is making. Ask for recipes or tips. Collaborate: maybe your peanut butter would go perfect with her chocolate (and other classic combinations,) which leads me to my next point;
3. Share the love. And by love, I mean food. One thing we tried to do was all have our own food. This has worked for some people, but my advice? Sharing is caring. Have ONE thing of butter, sauces, milk, peanut butter, etc. Be respectful enough to go out and buy more of whatever if you’re running out. Having four of each item in the tiny apartment fridge was frustrating and confusing. We literally had to play Tetris in our freezer. If there is something you don’t want to share (say, your favorite gourmet chocolate milk) put your name on it. Otherwise, nameless items are (respectfully) free game.
4. Bulk up. This has two meanings. Part one: buy in bulk if you can. It’s sad but true that friends with Costco cards automatically outrank normal friends. Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, but also be careful you don’t buy excessive amounts of things that you will not use before expiration or the end of the year. Five jars of mayonnaise takes up a lot of fridge space. For those of us from big families, this will be the year you realize how slowly a meal will go. Part two: great perk to how slow meals will go, you’ll have leftovers! Sometimes before a busy week it’s nice to make a big giant stew or something that you can eat quickly with little preparation time. Invest in Tupperware, then go all out and steam the whole bag of broccoli and peas, and grill the whole chicken. Saving the left over’s leaves you with an instant, full meal when you only have a 30-minute break between classes. Most of all don’t put your cooking down. It’s perfectly fine to live off of the same kinds of foods you can already make. Ultimately, practice makes perfect, and even though university life is a great time to learn and take risks, don’t make it a burden. Once a week, google one big recipe you want to try and do it on the weekends. You got this.