I now have sixteen days until I move into University… scary! Over the past year, I made the life altering, crazy decision to try and learn to cook. This decision evoked fear and scepticism in many of those around me, as it is common knowledge that cooking and I have never really mixed.
Truth be told, I am definitely one for panicking. I very much like to be in control of the situation, which is all very well when you can set a timer on a microwave and take out a ready meal as soon as the stupidly annoying beep fills any serene quietness. It is quite a different matter however, to have a frying pan, saucepan, oven and kettle all beeping at me at the same time and at different corners of the kitchen. No, I have never been gifted in kitchen multitasking; it is a room of pressure and confusion, and up until now, I haven’t needed to attempt it. My mum loves cooking, she simply drifts around the various appliances and tasks like the perfect domestic goddess. But a truth, I have come to realise over this past year, is that my super-mum is going to be very much absent while I am at university, and I am going to have to fend for myself in the cooking department.
To be honest, this is a slight exaggeration, as I shan’t really be fending for myself… I’ll be living in catered accommodation, so have delayed the inevitable for another year yet! However, I have taken the mature approach and have taught myself a few staple meals and skills over this year with the help of a truly wonderful book. This being Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook.
A fried egg was, not long ago, about the limit of my egg abilities, and even that at a push. This book provides simple, step by step instructions for the most basic of basics (boiled and scrambled eggs) through a range of mouth-watering and economically savvy recipes, right up to the crème de la crème of roast dinners! Aside from the slightly awkward and cringey terminology and phrasing, this book has been a game changer for me. Indeed, I am about to venture downstairs to the kitchen now and embark on the quest of cooking spaghetti and meatballs for my family… Assuming all goes to plan I shall include some photos of this very adventure!
For anybody starting university or coming close to doing so, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Written as student himself, having experienced the cluelessness and into the developing understanding for cooking, Sam knows what he is talking about. Whether you are already a culinary genius and raring to unleash your cooking potential, or as naïve and ignorant as I was, this book is for you. For some it will be a survival tool, and for others, an opportunity to flaunt their skills to a whole new group of people.
Anyway, wish me luck, I still very much need it, despite how far I have come!
So this has now become a diary of my preparation, I hadn’t intended on it being so, but rarely do things go all right for me as they did this evening!
Obviously I cooked the tomato sauce and creamy spaghetti too, but they just weren’t photogenic enough. But ta-da, I created a meal, thanks to Sam Stern and his amazing recipe!