Cooking During My College Career

ramenBy: Brad Manock

         I have just finished my college career. For several years I had the stereotypical college diet including pizza and ramen. Now I have discussed in a previous article about how time-consuming college work tends to be. The more effort I had to put into cooking things the more time would be taken away from homework. However once people pick up on my eating habits they think “you are lazy” so in this article I am going to discuss this food/time relationship that is often not thought about.

 

What’s An Oven?

            I have never made any food IN the oven, occasionally I would prepare food ON the oven in the form of bacon, eggs, or pancakes. However this would be a rare treat for when I had a nice chunk of time. The far more common method of preparing food, for me, is the microwave. Or as I like to call it the “man-oven.” I would warm up leftovers that other people in my house made or I would make ramen noodles in the microwave when I had just a bit of time to devote to the fact that my body needs food to function. The even more common food option for me would just be to get things that require no preparation, things like pop tarts or peanut butter that I can just open up and eat without any further action needed for preparation. I look back at my mind-set in terms of food preparation and it is quite sad that the microwave was the middle rung in my hierarchy of food preparation.

 

Did You Eat Lunch Yet?

            Another fact that people don’t think about is the fact that the term “meal” has no meaning to you once you get into college. Often times I would go visit family on the weekends during college and they would ask “did you have dinner yet” and I would not know what to say. I did not eat “meals” I would just eat slowly all the time. I would say something like “I had a bowl of cereal and some potato chips a couple hours ago does that count?” Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were critical staples while I was growing up. But now it seems like an odd concept, what kind of psycho names their food before they eat it? That would be like if I declared “any food that I eat from 11A.M. to 1P.M is now named ‘Marty’.” Another factor that amplified the removal of traditional meals from my life is the fact that I work night shifts. So my “breakfast” time and most other peoples’ “dinner” time are the same. Working unusual shifts like this screws with how you perceive time which makes traditional meals even more impractical. I eat when I feel like it and that is it.

 

            My college diet really stretched the definition of “healthy” because if I didn’t exercise as much as I do I would probably be fat as shit right now. I remember a moment that it really hit me just how unhealthy my diet is. I was eating a bunch of candy and cake, it was right after a holiday so there was all kinds of sweets left over. Eventually I stopped eating these sweets and I thought to myself “I better go find something healthy to eat.” I ended up going into the kitchen and grabbing a bag of Cheetos. Once I got the bag of Cheetos back to my computer and my conscious mind registered that I had grabbed a bag of Cheetos, it blew my mind that my subconscious had been programed to the point where “Cheetos” was considered healthy by comparison. When you are eating things that are so unhealthy that Cheetos is healthy by comparison then you know there is a problem.

 

Green Food?

            I am trying to eat healthier now, but it is good to understand WHY I should eat healthier. Now when I say “eat healthy” I am not talking about this hippy diet shit, I am using the phrase very loosely to mean “slightly less junk food.” Growing up I would always be forced to eat vegetables at the dinner table with the family. They would always say that vegetables are important but I never understood why. It is interesting to experience what it feels like when you don’t eat anything green for months on end. I would often feel shitty in ways that I had never experienced before. I wouldn’t feel sick or tired, just…shitty. I would try eating random things until the shitty feeling went away. I was feeling exactly what each specific vitamin deficiency feels like and this has made me understand why different types of foods are important. Now that I am done with college, meh…I’m going to go pour a bowl of cereal.

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