Adventures in Cooking – Megan McCurdy

UCC student cooking experience

Ok, so here at UCC, students live in apartments rather than on-campus dormitories and cook for themselves rather than embarking on a daily pilgrimage to the Mecca I call a dining hall (which certainly is a holy place in my eyes now that I’m forced to live without one for the next few months!)

I will admit that the thought of preparing my own meals every day was a bit daunting at first (the most cooking I do at home is usually just toast). Even more so was the thought of grocery shopping on my own. Sure, I occasionally accompanied my parents on their trips to the food store, but I was usually charged with picking up the simple things: milk and cereal, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and snacks. Now, more than 3000 miles from home, I’m thrust into an unfamiliar store called Tesco (that sells alcohol?!) and required to compile complicated lists of necessary foods and ingredients that I will inevitably forget to pick up each time I go out.

After about 548 trips to Tesco, I finally have enough of the basics to get me through. And yes, it may have taken me three trips into town to remember to buy butter, but my shelves in the refrigerator and pantry are now pretty well stocked, if I do say so myself.

And now comes the fun part – actually cooking! Apparently, my sister Kelly has little faith in my ability to do so as judged by her reaction when I told her of the dinner I’d made the night before. Just because I don’t cook at home doesn’t mean that I can’t, dear sis. I do enjoy cooking, just not every night – kudos to you, moms everywhere (including my own) who do it every day after work. And so to prove myself and to prove my ability to work with herbs and spices and navigate a kitchen, I’m going to be documenting my meals throughout the semester.

You’ve probably already seen evidence of my lovely dinner of rosemary chicken, rice, and sautéed carrots and zucchini (called “courgettes” here in Ireland), but just in case you missed it:

student experience UCC

Just look how appetizing! (I’m also quite an accomplished spaghetti-maker, thank you very much.) I may not be familiar with metric measurements and I may have thrown some veggies in the pan at the last minute on a silly whim, but I find the best meals are the ones made most whimsically.

And with the CollegeDinners service, which provides university students with enough meats, vegetables, and miscellaneous ingredients to make four different dinners for just €10, I’ll be making dinners so mouthwatering, that Kelly will want me to cook dinner every night for her when I return to The States. This week’s recipes include Spaghetti Carbonara, Chili Beef Stir Fry, Chicken wrapped in Bacon with Wedges, and Steak and Potatoes. I’m salivating already!


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