Food (for Thought)

Posted By: Nyasha Sarju
Posted On: October 5th, 2016
Attending: Ulster University

For all four years of my undergraduate life I lived in my residential college, Berkeley, aka in the dorms (but much cooler, look it up ;). What did this mean? It meant 3 meals a day buffet style with different varieties of options every day and specials on certain days at certain dining halls. While some of my classmates got tired of the dining halls, admittedly I did too at times, I recognized that the convenience and variety was much more than I could offer myself if I were to live off campus and have to actually go through the labor of producing well thought out, healthy and varying meals for myself.

Upon graduation, I quickly realized that this gem that was the dining hall would no longer be at my disposal, and when I arrived home for the summer I realized also that my mother would no longer be at my disposal either. I would be, more or less, preparing meals for myself, and sometimes for my family too. However, even this task was not so daunting, as my parents often went to the grocery store and we would all take turns cooking so no one person bore all the labor of preparing each meal. When we arrived in Northern Ireland I soon learned that I could learn a lot from my fellow Victory Scholars who had been cooking much longer than I. The new challenge of budgeting money for groceries, balancing meat, veggies, fruits, carbs, snacks, and other items has in the past month helped me grow a lot.


Now, it’s not that I’ve never been grocery shopping or cooked for myself, it’s just that I’ve never had to fully plan out a week of cooking and eating and purchase all of those ingredients. Usually I would go to the grocery store to grab a few items I needed, or specific things for a meal I was going to cook, or with a list from my mom that made picking the items a mindless task. One might not think grocery shopping is a skill, but I can assure you, it is. I spent the first day grocery shopping going up and down the aisles trying to figure out what I wanted. Since then I have gotten a little better at preparing a list and planning dinner meals and leftovers for the week. I hope I’m not boring you, but this has seriously been an area of growth in my adult life. Simple, but important. Because when you cook for yourself so much (because I’ve been saving my money by not eating out) you realize how much you need food. For instance, I have this problem of waiting until I’m hungry to cook. I’ve realized it’s because usually when I’m hungry I would just go to the dining hall and get food or at home just find something already prepared in the fridge to warm up, but now, I get hungry then realize now I have to cook before I can even eat. Of course, I could pop in some toast in the meantime, which is what I usually do, but still I have to prep the meal before I can really eat.


So, all this talk of food and nothing to show for it? Ok, now I will tell you about what I have been cooking and don’t judge me please because I am still a newbie. I started off with a beef stir fry with a delicious mango sauce to go on top of it. I added in some pasta because I figured it needed some more carbs. I’ve also made chicken fajitas with pan fried veggies, burgers, asparagus, home fries (potatoes), and a few other things. Breakfast is definitely my forte because I love cooking eggs and adding in all kinds of veggies and onions to spice it up; however, the pans that we have make it very difficult to fry an egg, which is something I have never struggled with. I would keep rambling on about my cooking escapades but as I read it through I realize it’s not even that impressive *sigh* but ya know what, I’m healthy and happy and still alive so I must be doing something right, right? Cheers for now

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