Finding a Spot at the Table

I am in the middle of my fourth week of junior year at Boston College and so far everything has been amazing. The culmination of the excitement of seeing friends again, the beautiful late summer weather, the independent and entertaining off campus living situation, and the return of football, have made it one of the most enjoyable times of my life. Everything has been nearly perfect, except for one staple of life at Boston College I had become accustomed to — the convenience of the dinning hall. Living off campus has been a great and fun experience, however, it has required me to push my limits and cook for myself. While I started the year thinking this would be a relatively simple task, I have found not only my motivation to cook for myself lacking, but my abilities and cooking knowledge are frankly embarrassing. Without a doubt I miss the two-minute walk to good food and friends at almost anytime of day, but I have decided to approach this as a challenge. I want to see if I can become great cook but I know that it’s important to share the work and results with friends in order to be fully nourished.

I am blessed to say that several of my close friends are culinary masterminds, and they are doing their best to teach me the basics. This challenge of not knowing how to cook for myself has turned into a fun bonding experience for me and my friends. Just last week, I was a part of a “dinner party” of nine friends, where each person either brought something or helped prepare dinner. With the kitchen full, and Kanye West’s “Graduation” playing in the background, I dredged chicken in eggs and flour, my addition to the meal. Smells of the chicken cooking, warmth from the pasta steaming, and the colors of the salad mixing reminded me of home, my mom’s delicious meals, and brought a smile across my face. A good home-cooked meal was something I had been longing for, and was made better because I could help. It was great to enjoy a feast I prepared and to share it with friends.

All too often we feel the stress of countless tasks at school, finding a job, clubs, and others things leaving us with no time to even to eat, let alone prepare a meal. Students often eat in the library, or have their laptop open at the dinning hall trying to finish that last assignment. Sitting down with peers, friends, and family to enjoy a meal whether you prepared it or not should be something every student prioritizes. It is the best way to stay in touch with friends when obligations start to pile up. It is also a great opportunity to de-stress and relax, and most importantly it is enjoyable. Many people recognize the benefits of shared meals and a “Mealtime Movement” has been started on-line (http://MealtimeMovement.com/). “The Mealtime Movement was created to show that the connection over food is crucial to the development of our families, our culture and ultimately, the health of our society.” As the year goes on I hope that my cooking ability increases but one thing I know for sure is that I will share a meal with friends, especially a home cooked one, whenever I have the chance.