How Getting an Education is Affecting My Cooking Habits

Friday, October 19, 2007

More and more I find myself spedning less time in my kitchen and more time in a library. Classes and assignments are stealing away my time, and while I sit ruefully contemplating what exactly Northrup Frye was trying to establish in his now infamous literary archetypes, my oven sits cold and alone. My pots are clean, not due to numerous runs of OCD pot scrubbing, but from disuse. Garlic is beginning to sprout it's so negelected.

My garlic NEVER sprouts.

School is absorbing my time and I am finding myself slowly moving away from the quality food I was preparing and falling back into reliable old tricks I depended on in my undergrad years. Not that they aren't delicious in their own way. In fact, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed some of them.

To each of these simple recipes are attached strings of memories. Times I spent with friends, days pouring over books while the bread machine ran, laughing over our pitiful meals that we dubbed "provincial" or "parisian" rather than "sparse" or "paltry." They were made to be eaten on a budget and to be prepared for one or one-hundred with minimal effort. You'de be surprised how far a few potaotes can go.

After such an experience, you start to wonder if it was a miracle Jesus fed so many with a few bits of bread and fish, or if he was just an awesome cook who knew how to stretch his resources.

A particular favorite, one that is making a resounding comeback in this home is Ramen & Bits. Rob was actually amazed at the simplicity of the idea when I first served him this. I was (and still am) a cheap date and offered to make him something quick and simple. A pack of top ramen was made, and in it when my veggie staples: radishes and their greens, scallions, and mushrooms. On occassion pepper and Italian seasoning would find it's way in, and if I was living on the edge that night I would season and flash fry in a shallow pan some chicken as well. Simple and delicious.

Another favorite is to mix some mayo and a can of tuna together, then place some of it on a saltine with a small piece of cheese. I eat them while reading for class with reality tv on in the background. It's odd I know, but I love it.

Sure, it's not really the healthiest thing ever, but it works and I like it. It's better than Red Bulls and Pocky. I am cooking a lot more tagines, soups, and curries when I can as it makes enough to be taken to work or class after work the next day. Plus, it only takes a little bit of time for a lot of healthy and flavorful food.

Baking now occurs during study breaks in between papers on Sundays usually, and if I find a chance maybe on a weekday if I finished my other duties. Oddly enough I find myself putting away a lot more wine than I used to. We've gone from a few glasses a month to about two or three a week. I guess education brings out the lush in us all. How else do you explain the copious amounts of college drinking? I had a shot glass about 8 inches tall we called "The Super Shot". I learned later that it was apparently just a very slender and tall vase. Go me! Seriously, my liquor cabinet back then could put most bars to utter shame. Nowadays though, I just keep a bottle of wine around the house in case I feel like a glass or company happens to drop by.

It's hard changing my eating and cooking habits, but it's good too. I'm learning to adapt and learning new recipes to coincide with my new schedule and life. It's all very educational.

And we all know what education brings about right? =)


  1. All habits are hard to change but it sounds like you are making headway! Eating healthily takes advanced planning which is hard to do when you are in school. And of course it’s the junk food that has a shelf life longer than most of us! Your "flower vase shot glass" made me laugh!

  2. I think it's great the way we revisit old food patterns as our lives change. A return to home base makes new directions infinitely possible. Vase shots all round!

    PS. Your ramen is so highbrow. My favorite was to drain all of the water before I added the flavor packet. That way you get the full dose of msg all at once. So good.

  3. Don't worry.. we'll all be waiting patiently for you to get back to full force..
    Watch out for that ramen.. it can get addictive..
    Mu husband laughes when i buy it from Costco.. He calls it my PALLET of ramen! :)

  4. I never thought to include radish greens in soups. I do that ramen thing healthed it up! I love the tuna and mayo..and I chop up some apple and onion and fold it in..always on a saltine!

    Reminds me of my days in graduate school..and those long study nights.

  5. I must say your college diet is still streaks ahead of most. Usually it would just be endless pizza and Chinese takeaways...

    As to Ramen - do you use an instant mix and if so is there a brand you can recommend? (Japanese cuisine is terra incognita for me).

  6. --I had a shot glass about 8 inches tall we called "The Super Shot"--

    Hey there-
    This is my first comment on your blogs, though I've been lurking for a couple of months. My mom turned me on to your pretty foodie photos. :-)

    Anyway, that quote just about busted me up as I took a break from writing copious papers and read your blog. Sounds like our lives have a bit in common (though I've never given up Ramen...haha).

    Keep up the good work. Where you're having to back off from your cooking, I'm backing off on quite so many bar shows, but all for the same goal... education. If nothing else, hopefully we shall both return to our routines in full-force, with the onset of winter break.

    Now, for a Super Shot of... almost anything.


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger