By Amanda Gabriel
Learning to cook as a college student is a fundamental skill that will prove beneficial while at Washington College and beyond. The meal plans and dining dollars will not last forever, and unless your plans are to live with your parents after graduation, you may want to know how to do more than just boil water and order Dominos.
A common misconception is that cooking requires strenuous effort, time, and money; this is not always the case. There are various recipes online that require a minimum amount of prep time and ingredients, such as Food Network and AllRecipes. Additionally, creating a list of necessary ingredients before going to the grocery store can help cut down on the cost. Chestertown does have high prices, but Redner’s and Acme always have sales throughout the month.
If you budget your money correctly and find recipes that are not only quick and easy, but also tasty, make the food in bulk. When it comes to cooking, the freezer is your best friend, especially as busy college students. Balancing school work, social lives, work, and exercise is difficult within itself, so finding the time to use the kitchen is another challenge. Set aside an hour or two on Sundays to go to the store. Gather the ingredients and cook two or three variations of the food you bought. For example, if chicken was on sale that day, buy two packs of chicken and search for different recipes online that are centered around this specific protein.
You will often find that most recipes use similar ingredients, so creating two or three dishes does not require too much extra thought and money. Portion the dishes out in plastic containers and freeze them for the week either in your own freezer or the ones located in the kitchens in the dorms.
As time passes, you will soon find that cooking is no longer something you know nothing about. Keep in mind that the process is trial and error, so not every dish will work out, but many will become your new favorites. Knowing how to cook is a learned skill—it requires much practice with many different ingredients, but beginning to expand your culinary knowledge is as easy as following the directions on a page. Once you have mastered a few recipes and your chopping skills, the rest will come naturally.