I’m pretty handy with my food. Not that I’m trying to brag, but I’ve received glowing compliments from my friends and family about the quality of my baking and cooking. I love to feed other people, I love to make sure that they’re looked after and not left wanting.
When it comes to myself, however, I’m a little less enthusiastic.
As a good and organized student, once a week I sit down to figure out what meals I’m going to eat and what I’m going to need to buy in order to create those meals. It makes my life a whole lot easier when I rock up to Tesco, because in my opinion, food shopping is my own private, weekly, hell.
But actually creating the list in the first place is a bit like pulling teeth.
This list and meal plan is formulated from a number of factors; how much is my budget this week? What ingredients do I already have? How much freezer space is there? Am I going to be going out drinking at any point? The latter is always very important, because I’m sure many of you know– quite well — that there are some kinds of alcohol and food that do not mix. In my case, it’s fish.
So even once I get through the list, and I’ve finished my food-shop. Each and every day without fail, I get to that point where I realise “Oh yeah, I’ve got to feed myself.” And instantly, every day without fail I think “Ugh.”
There’s just no joy in cooking for yourself. I love food, I love eating, but I just don’t find it all that fun to prepare a meal for myself. It feels less special, somehow, when I’ve made it for myself and no one else can see my accomplishment.
So perhaps I’m a vain chef. Perhaps I’m looking for validation through other people’s opinions of my creations. But, don’t lie, you’ve probably done it too.
My disdain for cooking for myself might also be because my kitchen is a certified nightmare. I doubt even Gordon Ramsey would want to step foot into it, much less be able to fix it in some way. I’ve long since given up, and resigned myself to making no mess and not even using the communal bin. But even without my contribution, somehow it’s still just… defeating.
I tell people how at one point, it was so bad I skipped meals rather than cook in there, and I’m really not over exaggerating.
It’s better now, mostly. If you ignore the ‘coffee table of shame’ that I created (because my flatmates kept leaving their washing up in the sink) and the overflowing bins and the rice and pasta and empty packets on the floor. I keep everything that I use clean and tidy and I can wipe down surfaces easy enough.
I suppose all I can do is eagerly await when I move in with my friends and we all have fun flat meals and my cooking can regain purpose (and a wider audience) again.
Trust me, I’m counting down the days.