Food for thought

Breanna Roen, Staff Writer

I am nearing the end of my first year living in a dorm. I have my own suite so I am definitely among the very lucky few who are able to live alone. Along with dorm life comes the decision of which food plan to get. I was very grateful when my parents purchased me an unlimited meal plan and was ready to use it to it’s fullest extent. I’m now ending my first year at UND and I most definitely did not utilize the plan the way I should have.

There has been plenty of benefits associated with the meal plan such as the convenience of stopping at almost any time of day to grab a quick bite to eat inbetween classes or finally sitting down at the end of a busy day and enjoying a hearty bowl of soup and a sandwich.

Although it can be convenient, I have found after a while, the dining center food can all start tasting the same and I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. Through the graciousness of my parents, I have plenty of food sent back to my dorm with me every time I come home to visit.

Cooking for yourself is always a healthier and cheaper option in the long run and I hope a few personal testimonies may convince you to try to throw a burger on the grill this weekend.

— Breanna Roen

After careful consideration, I have decided that just a block meal plan would be more effective for me than a full unlimited meal plan. I have definitely had questions raised as to why I wouldn’t stay with an unlimited plan and have it dropped down so low. Well, if you have ever been to Swanson Hall around 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first floor you have more than likely saw me cooking at some point. Cooking for myself is a key reason why I decided to eliminate a meal plan from my life.

When I mention that I am in college, most adults will laugh at me and say something along the lines of, “How are you enjoying your ramen diet?” Yes, I like ramen, and I know it is not the healthiest thing I could allow into my stomach, but that is not the only thing I am eating as a college student. Many adults don’t know that my parents do send me home with steak, pork chops, chicken, homemade soups and sauces, and obviously desserts and delicacies, and I am not complaining about that.

Cooking is really important to me because I also know exactly what is going into the meal I am  making, whether it’s making a classic hit  my family loves or going to Pinterest to see what new creation I can find for the Swanson stove. There have been countless times when I go to a dining center and I question, “what kind of combination is that?” or “What is this even made of?”  That is a large reason that I have been trying to cook for myself here.

Another reason I find cooking for yourself is so important is to gain the knowledge of which spices mix well, how well done your steak should be and many other food facts.

I just fully started cooking for myself this year and I’ve gotta say I’m doing better than I ever thought I would. I consider my mom a culinary expert, so if I ever have a cooking question I usually consult the culinary master. If she is unsure, which is uncommon, I tend to reference cooking websites or maybe even watch “Chopped” (one of my favorite shows) I have learned many things by trial and error, especially making sure there is nothing in the oven once you turn it on like stored pans or pots. 

Lastly, within my family, cooking has always brought us so much closer together.  My love of cooking has grown just from watching and helping my mom cook something delicious every night. Some of her skills have been passed on to me, and now I am using them in our kitchens here. I love cooking with friends who live on my floor and experimenting with different ideas by the side of my boyfriend. So far, my biggest achievement was making Christmas dinner for my boyfriend and me, and I was happy I could successfully complete the task.

Cooking for yourself is always a healthier and cheaper option in the long run and I hope a few personal testimonies may convince you to try to throw a burger on the grill this weekend. There are many cooking classes held in the Wellness Center throughout the year so you can definitely brush up on your culinary skills.

Food always tastes better when it’s made at home (or by your mom).

Breanna Roen is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]