When I first applied to Sussex University, I discovered that my room and board did not include a money-stealing meal plan scheme. In effect, I would be forced to buy and prepare my own food. This could have turned out in one of three ways: either I would get extremely lazy and buy only pre-processed foods; I would prepare eat the plainest, simplest foods possible; or I would learn to cook. The results have been a combination of all three possibilities: I do buy a good deal of pre-processed foods, but actually many less than I ate in the States (I was just unaware of how much pre-processed food I ate there before I came over here). I also eat a lot of plain food (rice with soy sauce, steamed vegetables, tuna from the can, chickpeas with salt, etc.), but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I like plain foods.
Also, I have become a better cook. I say this not only because what I have made for myself and others actually does taste better, but also because I can cook without recipes (successfully, that is) more capably now than ever before. That is a sign of improvement, in my opinion. I can also make a few more dishes than I could before, and because I have made them successfully several times with makeshift ingredients, I consider my “cooking repertoire” to have expanded. Here is a small list of my new “specialty” dishes:
See what a repertoire I’ve built up? Unfortunately, I’ve had no opportunity to do any baking here (too difficult having to buy a sack full of flour for just a cup’s worth, unreliable ovens, etc), but I look forward to resuming that activity when I return home. Thus, if you’re ever hungry and want to test my newfound culinary abilities, just ring me up and make a dinner date!