by Ada Harris
The kitchen is a place I wander around in, whether I’m hungry, waiting for something to cook or I just don’t know what to do with myself. Now more than ever, I go to the kitchen to relieve built-up stress from day to day things. I also love to experiment. In school, I find there aren’t too many ways to go about completing an assignment or taking notes in class, and so my creative outlet is the kitchen.
I like to think I’m not obsessed with food, I just like making things from scratch. I mean, can you fully appreciate a meal if you don’t understand how many hours went into the creation before you? If anything, I probably just embarrass myself with how often I like to bring up my favorite cooking blog ( https://smittenkitchen.com/ I will talk about it every chance I get). For real, though—check it out next time you’re looking for a recipe. That said, I really do appreciate the time it takes to make a dish. Sure, this sometimes takes much longer than I want, but I do find great joy in the process.
When I moved into a house my sophomore year of college, I started cooking for myself and making different foods. I had doubts about what ingredients I would be able to find in Laramie, but if you’re up for a challenge, you will probably be able to find what you need or something similar.
In the past few years, I got interested in fermentation. One of the great things about fermented vegetables is that their shelf-life is longer than if you just left them in the fridge, and that means you don’t have to go to the store quite as much in the dead of winter. All you really need is a jar and time. Here is a great recipe to follow: http://www.killerpickles.com/klassic-kraut/ One of my favorite variations is to add a few leaves of kale, curry powder and red pepper flakes to the mix.
I was vegetarian for about 8 years, and veggie sausages were a special treat. Even though I eat meat occasionally, I still have a mainly vegetarian diet, so I got excited when I found this recipe: http://www.isachandra.com/2012/01/vegan_sausage/ (this blog has a bunch of other great seitan, or “fake meat,” recipes on it if you are interested). Once you try this recipe, you might never go back to store-bought meat alternatives. For one, it’s much cheaper. Big Hollow Food Co-op in Laramie sells vital wheat gluten for a little over $7 a bag and you can make at least 16 sausages out of it! What a deal. Second, you can add whatever seasonings you like—honey, hot sauce, lemon, curry powder—and it’s hard to mess them up.
So, I know it can be a daunting task to start making things from scratch right away. But, it doesn’t have to be! Start with something you like to eat. Look up a recipe for it, see how it’s made, and make it. Many recipes say you must have certain kitchen supplies but more often than not, you don’t really need all the fancy kitchenware. Other recipes might give you alternatives as well.
Besides saving money, making food from scratch has many other benefits. I find that making food helps me recharge mentally after a particularly hectic day. Being in control of what goes into the food I eat, I find I am more mindful when eating. If I know how much butter goes into a scone, I probably won’t eat as many, and I’ll savor it more. You can also choose what goes in—if you have problems with certain foods, you can make it to your liking. Lastly, I’ve found that the more food I make from scratch, the less food I waste. You can always stray away from the recipe to add in the wilted spinach in your fridge you really didn’t want to eat raw.