Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Culinary Repertoire

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:

  • Ratatouille—a slightly spicy vegetable dish made of eggplant (i.e. “aubergine,” as the English term is), zucchini (i.e. “courgette”), peppers, and tomatoes; served over rice
  • Stir fry—made with whatever I happen to have, best with broccoli, cabbage, peppers, garlic, ginger, and (if I have it) chicken
  • Indian Chickpeas—a spicy chickpea-tomato dish
  • Curry Cabbage—exactly how it sounds: cabbage with a dressing of lemon juice, curry powder, and salt; sometimes served with onions
  • Curry Rice—basmati rice boiled with curry powder
  • Fruit Salad—with fresh and canned fruits, this can be particularly yummy
  • Salsa—I make this myself and then eat it with pita bread (which, needless to say, I do not bake myself)
  • Pasta Sauce—vegetarian-style thanks to the influence of my friend Fluf; made with soya mince that you’d never know was not meat!
  • Chicken Noodle Soup—I can’t claim this recipe as my own, but I’ve made it successfully and even taught it to a friend (Angela), so I feel justified in including it

    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!

  • 1 comment:

    Kelly said...

    dude, i can't wait until i can either a) make pizza with you or b) eat your cookies. i give you 24 hours to recover when you get home, which you still might get my company (at some point) but then you get in the kitchen, woman!