Fed Up: A Recipe for Cooking a Meal on Campus

Edited by: Maya Haider (UG 2020)

The bard once said, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

But little consideration is spared for food in his epigram, which is relegated to the realm of metaphor, only maître d' to the patrons of love, cooking up nothing more nourishing than a melody.

Music, food of love, thou art forged from the very substance of emotion, but this is not your article. This hunger is not satisfied by your voluptuous fortes. I am in search of a meal, simple, wholesome, more satisfying than one from the mess and less artery-clogging than one from The Hunger Cycle. Having been abandoned by the food gods, I scavenge this barren campus landscape for ingredients.

First Ingredient:

Begin by scrounging up any remaining will-power you have left over from working on your assignments. My brain is brimming while I am hungry still, even after two and a half uncooked chapatis. Gather your first ingredient: a plan. I have a break between classes at 4:00 pm. If I run to Asawarpur to buy a packet of mushrooms (20 rupees? Can I afford this? If not, can I afford another trip to the infirmary for eating-related issues?), I might be able to make a sandwich after my evening class, which might cut a little into night-time study. This plan simmers for a while, there is much back and forth until a decision is reached: I can shower tomorrow morning and use the time I save to cook myself a meal.

Second Ingredient:

Prepare emotionally for the generosity of all the strangers you will have to rely on. The vegetable seller at Asawarpur is always kind; an unsuspecting but supporting spectator in my race to finish dinner as quickly as possible. I wonder if I’m being overcharged, then I wonder if that matters when my lifestyle is one this man may never be able to afford. I buy cheese singles from Chit Chaat, the ones in the tuck shop were moldy last time, and I ask the man behind the counter if I can have some tandoori mayo on a plate. I am generous with the pleases and thank yous. I offer to pay for it, even though I know he’ll decline. [Note: Please do not try this. If you do it too often, Chit Chaat will catch on and begin rationing the tandoori mayo, and I won’t have any to make mushroom sandwiches.]

Third Ingredient:

Stealth and creativity. I borrow some lettuce from the organic garden and feel bad every time for not paying for it. I paid for beetroots and arugula that one time, which should cover it, right?

Fourth Ingredient:

Exercise self-control and compassion. I know that I need butter for this, but using another person’s butter will result in bad karma, etc. etc. I have to run back to the tuck shop to buy some more butter, cursing myself for having forgotten it the first time.

Fifth Ingredient:

Carry everything you need from the room to the pantry. I will forget something. Thrice. I run back and forth like a maniac.

Sixth Ingredient:

Play some music–it will make this less stressful. I feel less alone, less aware of the fact that I’m cooking for one. Music, it would seem your embrace is all-encompassing.

Seventh Ingredient:

Finally, cook! This isn’t so bad. I should do it more often.

Eighth Ingredient:

Experience instant regret as soon as something burns (it’s usually the garlic).

Ninth Ingredient:

Clean up as you finish up. This saves time.

Tenth Ingredient:

Eat. Congratulate yourself! I’m not going to die when I live alone, because this tastes pretty good. And I’m only getting better and better at this recipe.



Happy Cooking!