Saturday, September 25, 2010

College Cooking Without a Plan: Why You Need One

Another amusing entry by Frugal Son, which portrays very well the situation of the hapless College Cook. Actually, this describes well the situation of many cooks, some middle-aged and beyond. No wonder people hate cooking! Imagine doing this every day.

Cooking, but with no plan

Some daring individuals make it this far only to scurry quickly back to the safety of the dining hall after spending hours making a meal that, while good, wasn’t worth the effort. Cooking without a plan means that you have to custom buy the ingredients for each recipe and this is time-consuming, expensive, and wasteful. You will be left with tons of opened and half-used containers of stuff that will just sit and go to waste on your shelves. Also, even if your meal was a success, you have to start all over from scratch the next day by picking out a recipe, going shopping, preparing, and so on.

Typical Scenario

After four weeks of home cooking over Winter Break, you’ve decided to make your mom’s famous chili so that all your friends can try it. You painstakingly follow the recipe to a T and spend an hour hunting down all the ingredients at the local supermarket. Since you’ve never done any cooking before, you need to buy all the spices (expensive) even though you only need a tiny bit of them. With heavy bags but wallet considerably lighter, you make it back to the dorm. You go into the communal kitchen for the first time and, horror of horrors, there are only two piddly electric burners and a tiny, dented skillet. You forgot all the cooking supplies you’d need! After calling up some friends, you manage to rustle up the necessary items and you start cooking. Finally, it’s ready and your friends have all arrived (and your friends agree that it is the best chili in the world) and after eating, you all do the dishes together. You plop down in your bed ready for a good night’s sleep and vow to yourself that you’ll NEVER cook again because it’s way too hard. All told, you had to go shopping, get tools, cook, AND do the dishes, so a conservative estimate of time would be about four hours. The cost of ingredients can vary from almost nothing (red beans and rice) to incredibly expensive (filet mignon and asparagus), but we’ll just say you spent about $20 for you and three other friends.

Is this you?

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