I remember when it hit me that I needed to learn how to cook. Fall semester of my junior year, I spent a semester in Los Angeles, studying & interning in the entertainment industry (so much fun!). It was my first time living in an apartment with no access to a dining hall.
The day I moved in, all I ate was a granola bar. Um, hellooo, I was in LOS ANGELES! There was so much to do and see, plus I didn’t have a car. Grocery shopping? That could wait, right?
.. My pounding headache soon told me — nope.
I walked into the store completely overwhelmed. Of course I had gone grocery shopping with my Mom before, but I never had to shop from scratch, for myself. I threw frozen pizza, Yoplait yogurt, cereal, peanut butter, and fruit into the cart. Frozen chicken, pasta, and frozen vegetables were about as explorative as I could be. I figured I’d address all that later.
That semester, I ate a lot of pasta, salads, and sunny side up eggs. Almost every day, my lunch was peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat toast, a Greek yogurt, and a piece of fruit.
Pasta-based stir-frys were about as creative as I got — often with bell peppers and onions.
I had a grasp on what I liked and what was easy. I knew I needed some form of vegetable, protein, and usually a starchy side dish.
It’s funny to think back on how much my cooking/eating style has evolved just in the past 3 years. Back then, I was so proud of my concoctions!
Today, I am by no means a gourmet cook. I’m still proud of (and take photographs of) my dishes. But I’ve branched out so much more, embracing foods like beans, lentils, tofu, fish, etc. Even my oatmeal has taken a complete 180 – no more maple & brown sugar up in here!
Some of the breads, bars and cereals I’d eat back then would never make their way into my pantry today. It’s not a bad thing. I’m so glad I’ve learned more about nutrition, and explored my tastes more.
You gotta start somewhere, right?!
- When did you first learn how to cook for yourself?
- How have your tastes evolved since then?