By Taylor Owyang
The academic year is coming to an end and many of you may be planning your first move to live off-campus or to a new apartment complex. This can be a very big transition, especially for those of you who are currently living in the residence halls and/or on a meal plan. There can be many lifestyle changes that come with living on your own, but an important question to ask yourself is: are you ready to prepare your own food?
The idea of food preparation may sound daunting, but basic cooking is a life skill worth learning. Not only can cooking help save money, but it can also be very rewarding and develop good personal traits such as self-sufficiency, confidence and creativity. When cooking at home, you have control of what to put on your plate, how to prepare your snacks or meals, and flavors to savor in your food. The taste of homemade food is not something you can find in stores. Equip yourself with these cooking appliances and tools and you may impress yourself with what you can do in the kitchen.
TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT:
- Knife: This can be one of the most important cooking tools and help cut your prep time in half! Explore the different types of knives and their intended purpose to help make your job easier and prepare food like a pro.
- Chef’s knife: a large, versatile knife good for chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing.
- Utility knife: similar to chef’s knife but smaller and easier to handle.
- Paring knife: small and handy for precision tasks like peeling, trimming and slicing fruits and vegetables.
- Santoku Knife: a multipurpose knife with a thick blade for cutting meats and produce
- Slicing/Carving knife: good for meats, poultry and fish and has a long, thin blade for neat, even, thin slices. Learn more about the different types of knives and their proper use here.
- Kitchen Shears: scissors to cut and snip different types of foods ranging from meats to fresh herbs.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: essential for baking and measuring ingredients to make a recipe or your perfect cup of coffee or tea.
- Can Opener: an overlooked gadget essential to opening many canned goods (e.g. soups, beans, and tuna, etc.)
- Non-Stick Skillet: good for even heating for a breakfast omelette or pancakes and also a easy clean-up.
- Electric Kettle: convenient for boiling water for a quick coffee fix or a bowl of instant oatmeal.
- Blender: great for fresh soups, smoothies, salsas and spreads that you usually purchase but can easily create yourself. Check out incredibly easy recipes you can make in a blender here!
- Slow Cooker/Crock-Pot: good for flavorful soups, stews, and easy weeknight dinners (and even desserts) that doesn’t require you in the kitchen and saves you time, energy and money. Learn about the surprising things you can make in a slow cooker here!
Experiment with different gadgets and cooking may turn out to be your new favorite hobby! You can discover the fruitful rewards of preparing your own food and unwinding in the kitchen in the midst of your busy student lifestyle. In our fast-paced culture and wide availability of ready-to-eat food, cooking may no longer seem necessary but can strongly enrich your life. Once you are equipped with the right tools and learn the basics and techniques, you can experience how fun and satisfying cooking can be and taste the difference of your very own home-cooked meal.
Sources of information: