I am a college student at Western Washington University who lives in a dorm . Being away from home means a lot of things-making friends, partying, and studying until we fall asleep on the computer. What a lot of newcomers don’t expect is that a lot of it revolves around food, but this isn’t just for college students, our lives have always sort of evolved around food. Here’s a walk through of a typical day for me:
I wake up at some point in the morning (probably 20 minutes before class) and don’t have enough time to go to the dining hall for breakfast, I make myself a cup of coffee while picking out what clothes to throw on. While drinking coffee, I look through the options of food to eat and it comes down to the options of pop tarts, granola bars, and a suspicious looking half eaten bagel that did not go into the refrigerator. After narrowing down the options to the granola bar, I eat it and drink my coffee and am ready to speed walk to class.
After getting back after a day of class, I’m hungry again. Like most other college students who live on campus and have to deal with the dining hall food, I know it isn’t great, so I have to make myself something to eat. Being a stereotypical “broke college student”, I take one of many cup noodles out of the stash under my bed and make it. Of course, a cup noodle will not satisfy a hungry growing young man, so it would result in a scrambled egg making party for one. Because I did not come to college expecting to have to fend for myself every once in a while, I did not come very well prepared for situations like this and don’t have cooking utensils, I grab a pan from friend who is much better equipped than I am and some eggs that I got from Fred Myer and head to the kitchenette on my floor.Eggs are probably a good portion of many college students’ diets. Kristie Collado, the editor of The daily meal says “Eggs are an easy and inexpensive way to add protein to a meal and make it more filling. They’re also a healthy alternative to convenience foods that can contribute to college weight gain”(Collado, 25 essential dorm room cooking hacks). Because eggs are easy to make and are filling, a lot of students make them when hungry which leads to the so called “freshman fifteen”.
The kitchenette is small room with dull wall colors, and it generally has little or no people in it. The kitchenette is equipped with two burners, two sinks and a table with two chairs attached to it located at the corner of the room . I would make my scrambled eggs with almost always no one else coming in and wanting to use it while I am occupying the room and if they do they would generally say “oh don’t worry I’ll just come back later”. When some people do have an emergency dish washing situation, they would come in and do it without making a sound and leave after, the most conversation that I’ve ever encountered in there was just greetings and then a “have a nice day!”
WHY ARE PEOPLE SO AWKWARD?!
Could the reason for people being so awkward around others be due to how the space is set up? Since all the utensils are so closely put together in such a small room, people don’t feel comfortable using it at the same time? Why don’t more people gather in this room for a cooking event? is it because of the limited seating and the inability to change the surrounding to make it more comfortable by pulling the chair out further away from the table for more room? In this case, people don’t feel comfortable enough to change the place for a new use and the set up of the place defines what happens within the room.
Anyway! back my exciting lifestyle…! I’ll also snack throughout the day on chips, cookies (store bought) and have soda as beverages-definitely a good recipe for the college fifteen everyone’s so excited about. I have foods that I eat that remind me of home: cup noodles, Chinese cookies(no, not fortune cookies…those are American) and others that make me feel less homesick when missing home. I also miss just being able to have food around me already made, so having to make it myself is definitely new to me but is also good that I learn how to make the foods that I like to eat since it’s a part of being independent. I eat the things I eat because it is what I am used to. Back home, when I got hungry, I would make myself scrambled eggs which can definitely be used when left over in fried rice. The cup noodles remind me of the noodles that I love so very much from the hole-in the wall places. I’m used to making simple foods like this for myself, so I don’t find it troublesome to do so while some others might stick to the simple diet of chips and other junk food that comes pre-made. Could this be affected by their eating habits back at home? I certainly think so! Someone who is used to cooking with the entire family probably misses the process of making food and also the bonding that happens during the cooking, and would probably be more likely to try to get friends together to cook a meal.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to the topic and this is only a fragment of a much larger topic, stay tuned to learn more!