I transferred to UCSB last fall with a set list of things I planned on adjusting to. Some of these things included the quarter system, larger class sizes, meeting new people and living two hours away from my hometown. However, I never realized that living away from home meant that I had to do the one thing I hated most in the world: cooking. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to eat, but I just hate having to be the one to prepare it. I hate having to go to the grocery store. I hate having to find certain ingredients. I hate having to wait 45 minutes for the food to come out of the oven. I just hate it. When I would try to cook, it never ended up tasting that good to the point where it became a running joke in my family for years now about how bad my food tastes. I never grew up cooking, and because of that I have always been clueless to it. Living alone for the first time, I was forced to put that culinarily talentless person behind me and try to accept cooking once and for all.
At the beginning of the school year, things were pretty rocky. After a week of my roommates and me living solely off champagne and muffins, I realized it was time for me to face my fear of going to the grocery store head on. The drive there was long, and I remember trembling with the thought of what I would buy. Usually, my mom or brother would do the shopping AND the cooking, but now it was all on me. I had this huge responsibility now, and all I knew how to make was cereal. Luckily, for the sake of my health, I knew I couldn’t just survive off of cereal.
After months of subpar food consisting of burnt eggs and undercooked meats, my cooking abilities finally started to improve. Cooking became less stressful and more of something I looked forward to doing every day. I started watching cooking videos and reading recipes and constructing my own masterpieces from them. I went from being the cooking joke in my family to now being the one to help cook for family gatherings.
Not only does my food taste better now, but it also looks amazing. Every night, I make sure to snap a quick photo of my delicious food and send it to my family members so that they can respond with admiration and boost my ego.
As I start the Spring Quarter of my first school year away from home, I reflect on how I ate back then as opposed to how I eat now. Although I still despise going to grocery stores, and it still kills me to wait 45 minutes for my food in the oven, I have learned to not only love eating but also to appreciate the cooking part as well.