How Apartment Living Transformed Me Into a Part-Time Chef

Since moving off campus and retiring my student meal plan, I’ve gained a new satisfaction for home-style cooking. The recipes I’ve adopted are a step up from Ramen and Easy Mac, and while I’m still no professional, I’ve come a long way since my dorm days.

This past fall semester, I moved into my apartment with the typical amount of knowledge that most college students have about cooking - you crank the stove on high to boil water and the microwave is great for heating packaged frozen dinners.  But, let’s be honest: those dinners only last a good ten minutes before you find yourself back on GrubHub, paying a delivery fee for fast food located right down the street.

Come on - did you honestly expect yourself to leave the apartment after dark? In State College weather?

It’s worth the extra two bucks.

But late night orders like these don’t only drain your wallets, but they also pack on the extra pounds - and working out’s already a struggle on its own.

So what’s left to do except pull out the cooking gloves and confide in trusty Google for recipes? That’s exactly what I did, paired with YouTube and Instagram tutorials.

Thanks to Chef Gordon Ramsey, I now know how to make chicken parmesan without getting lost trying to set the oven temperature.

The struggle has been real trying to find a decent store to buy groceries without a car. Can you believe that the downtown stores don’t sell ciabatta rolls? Me either, but if you find a place - let me know!

Because, after re-watching 30-second cooking tutorials on Instagram, true disappointment is walking into a store and seeing they don’t have half the ingredients for the meal you’ve been dying to make for weeks.

But, the absolute worst is trying to recreate the dinner and failing after realizing that the meat is only partially cooked. And, I’d rather not die from salmonella poisoning.

I guess I still need practice in that department.

Since moving into an apartment, I’ve had my fair share of experiences experimenting with food. Did you know that you don’t have to use spaghetti noodles for spaghetti and meatballs? Alfredo noodles work just as well; food critics don’t come at me please.

And, after all of my trials in the kitchen, I still have yet to set off the fire alarm!

I’d say that’s an accomplishment.


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