About, Food

Cooking In College

It has been quite a while since I was in college, more than five years. Sometimes because I have a “young” face, people find it hard to believe that I have been out of college for that long. I am not complaining about that.  In fact, I really like that I look young and I keep my hair longer because it makes me look younger. Also, I am sure it will come in handy as I get older.

Back to the topic at hand, I graduated college in three years. My first year I went to college in New Hampshire, and did absolutely no cooking. I transferred for my last two years. I completed college in Portland, Oregon. My second year I did not frequently cook. I still lived on campus and I think the extent of my cooking included making noodles, or once I disastrously attempted to make pizza with biscuit dough.  It was a disaster because parts were too crispy and parts were not cooked for long enough. Good idea, poor execution.

My final year in college, I lived off campus and cooked all my meals. I had always been fascinated with cooking. I started gathering random recipes from the internet then moved to cooking through How To Cook Everything (affiliate link) by Mark Bittman. I did not get far, school and classes and life got in the way. I was always trying to be frugal and I ate my mistakes no matter how bad they were. For my final few months of college, I basically only ate beans, despite the fact that I did not grow up eating beans and had no idea how to cook them. Yes that means there were times I hate half cooked beans, I have since learned much about beans, but needless to say there is nothing like seeing no other options to force you to figure out a new ingredient. I am not sharing this as an idea of how you should or could cook in college, but rather just to share my experience. My diet was not balanced, but rather one of necessity.  My food photography was not good, but I thought I would take a trip down memory lane with you to show you how far I have come and to acknowledge if only to myself that I have always been passionate about food.

I also remember in this kitchen was not well equipped being that I was in college, but I managed to do a lot with a little and made it work.

As I look at these photos, I am surprised at how much of the time I was there they bring back. I can remember making all this food and much more.

Vegetable Pancakes - 1.jpg

These are vegetable pancakes a recipe I found on Real Simple. I remember these did not make any sense to me they were dipped in sour cream, which is something I love. Not even sour cream could redeem these. I ate them for at least a week and was so glad when I was done with them.

Spider Cupcakes - 1.jpg

These cupcakes took an extreme amount of effort. They may look simple but I assure you they were anything but. I made pumpkin cupcakes, homemade crema de leche to fill them and then frosting with a chocolate drizzle to look like spiderwebs. I am not sure where this recipe is from. I remember though savoring these. It was the beginning of the semester and they felt so exciting. I looked forward to each of these. Also these dishes I loved but no longer have. My dad visited me and brought me kitchen supplies from Goodwill and that is where these dishes came from. I loved the boarder and the plain white center, but on the way back to Connecticut they all cracked and broke.

 

These cheese sticks were from How to Cook Everything and I remember making them on a Friday night while I was cleaning the house. These may not look attractive, but they were delicious and I devoured every last bite.

On that note How to Cook Everything, taught me to be brave and bold in the kitchen. I learned how to make homemade spice blends and would save up to buy the right spices to create them. I also made popcorn in a pot for the first time because of that cookbook. Prior, I did not realize that popcorn could be made from straight kernels. I then turned the extra popcorn I bought, because I had no idea how much things weighed to caramel popcorn.

Towards the end of the year I had a few things I loved that felt like treats, some I may share on the blog later, but just comfort food. I also started my hand at making homemade bread and just learned that I am capable in the kitchen. Through the limits of my college budget and time, I started to find creativity and to know what would and would not work together. I found food to be nourishing, exciting and comforting all at the same time. Food became a source of great joy and I felt like through cooking I could conquer anything.

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