7 Truths Of Cooking Your Own Meals

7 Truths Of Cooking Your Own Meals

One for each of the college students in my kitchen

I've been living in an apartment in Rome for almost a month now, and living in an apartment means cooking your own meals. I had never even made toast before getting here, so stepping into the kitchen was basically like stepping into a different world. In these couple of weeks, I've found that these seven moments are inevitable in the life of a new chef.

If you weren't a multi-tasker before, you are now.

Being in the kitchen means being 100 percent aware of everything around you, from the pans on the stove to the hands on the clock to the knife blade by your fingers. Letting yourself space out (even for a moment) can -- at worst -- lead to a burnt meal, and -- at best -- to a sudden wave of anxiety when you realize you haven't been paying attention. Timing is also a huge part of cooking. If each piece of a sauce needs to be put in at a certain part of the process, and you're trying to make pasta at the same time so that both will be hot and ready together, your mind needs to be in three or four places at once.

Your parents become the best source for easy recipes.

They probably know how competent you are when it comes to cooking and know exactly what you'll be able to make. Any questions you have about the recipe can go directly to them, too. Plus, they've been making your favorite meals since you were little. They can tell you better than the internet how to make whatever you're craving, and, if you're living away from them, how to make it taste like home.

Leftovers become your next four meals after you cook something you actually liked.

Partially, because it tasted good. Partially because it's guaranteed you made too much food, because you can never figure out exactly how much you'll need. Partially because you're lazy. Mostly, because you're lazy.

It may be essential, but cooking anywhere near a sink can become a real problem.

The sink fills in the 20 minutes you've been cooking -- not because you're doing anything that requires a lot of pots or pans, but because you keep putting your spoons and knives in the sink without thinking after using them only once. The quick and simple meals are the worst. Once you've thrown everything in the sink and finished your food, you realize how easy it would be to make yourself some more, if you had only left the kitchen a mess.

You get very good at making very creative mistakes.

When you've been in the kitchen for a while, it's easy to space out and slip up. And not just with the food. You've hurt yourself in imaginative, new ways, too. Cutting your finger while slicing tomatoes isn't unexpected. Burning your finger on the side of a hot pan happens often enough. You're beyond that. I guess cooking would be boring without a little extra danger.

Pasta becomes a staple in your kitchen.

This may just be the status quo in my kitchen, because my kitchen happens to be in Italy, but pasta is so simple, I'd be surprised not to find it on the week's menu in any other lazy college student's apartment. (Hint: being a lazy college student also means eating pasta with a jar of boring, watery sauce. At least add some onions and garlic. Please.)

You realize cooking with friends is far more fun than cooking on your own.

Cooking for one can be fun if you're watching something on TV or have a good playlist to listen to, but having other people cook with you makes spending an hour in the hot kitchen a lot more bearable. You don't really have to worry anymore about making too much food, and you can take the multitasking out of the equation, because there are more hands to help out. It can be a struggle, though, especially in a big group. Trying to appease the ones who don't like their food spicy while catering to the picky eaters (me) and the dieters and vegetarians means getting creative.

Cover Image Credit: kckratt.com

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Night We Never Spoke Of

It was then that you took advantage of me.

This article contains sensitive information regarding sexual assault that may be triggering to some.

It happened when I was still convinced of my immortality. Between the years of childish exuberance and adolescent rage, I spent my mornings counting crows as you and I bit into the lush skin of ripe guavas on your neighbor’s lawn. Our innocent adventures by the Himalayan terrains eventually transformed into blissful nights in New York City over shared nostalgia. It was a time before I had seen the world—a time when the universe could be condensed into the several blocks between your street and my avenue. It was then that you took advantage of me.

Me, a seven or eight old girl—I cannot remember. Can you?

Before adulthood routinized 1 a.m. anxieties, 1 a.m. was an ungodly hour that I witnessed only on rare occasions. I will never forget the glaring red of your digital clock reading 1:03 as your fingers dug into my flesh. The silence deafening, I finally understood why my mother feared the darkness. Your fingertips were the monsters that manifested in the dark. Your hands were crude ghosts guiding my humiliation.

I tried to resist you, but you were stronger. You made me feel you as you felt me. You felt like rubber.

Your friends were sprawled out next to us, some snoring lightly on the floor and others on your mother’s couch. I could have awoken the world with the softest noise if I tried. Yet you trusted that I would remain silent, and I did, then and for 11 years thereafter.

I stared at the white of your ceiling that night until the pain became too palpable to ignore. They tell us girls to be vocal, to say no, and to fight for our dignities, but they do not realize that fear is the most paralyzing sensation of them all. It took what felt like an eternity to fight the dryness in my throat and tell you that it hurt—please stop. I could feel the disappointment in your gesture as you let me go and rolled over to your other side of the sheets. I was overcome with shame.

The next day, we continued rollerblading in Evergreen Park the way we always did as if nothing had happened. You went on as if you had not made me fall asleep next to you in tears, as if you had not caused a pain more scorching than the scraped knees we had endured when we fell from mango trees back home.

I had so many questions for you. I wondered if that was what people did to each other when they cared about each other. You had always been a brotherly figure to me, guiding me through the slippery slopes of childhood. Your apathy made me wonder if my experience had been a mere hallucination. I would grit my teeth in dismay and eye you from afar in silent, suppressed rage and wonder.

How could you do it? I was seven or eight and incredibly naïve. If anybody asked me to identify my clitoris, I would stare blankly into their eyes, not knowing the answer. It sounded like a beautiful and faraway galaxy that men could exploit but never conquer. If they asked me whether somebody had touched me in an unwanted place without invitation and forced my hands into territories it did not seek to explore, I would vigorously nod my head and guide them to you.

Guilty as charged and freely roaming the world, you are unaware of the repercussions of your fleeting decision. Do you still bear the moral burden of your action? Does your conscience lead you back to that night and taint your head with remorse? You had no right.

I suffered the pain of silence because I didn’t know any better. I let that night become the night we never spoke of. I let myself endure the immobilizing agony of terror through the dark and uncertain nights that I was forced to see you during family gatherings and dinners. I locked myself in rooms with hostile tears pouring down my cheeks and became distrustful of the dark. I spent years wondering if I had failed you, but it was you who failed me. You failed the world, stripping it of its beauty years before I ought to have realized how callous it truly is.

If you are reading this, you know who you are. But please—do not be concerned. I am better now; I am enraged and I carry my passion within these clenched fists that you once thought you could control. I will no longer let that night be the night we never speak of.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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