Cooking for yourself in college is hard. Between classes, activities, research, applying for jobs and internships and maintaining friendships, everyone at Cornell knows that their free time is sparse. Making time to cook elaborate meals is just not something that a lot of students have time for. Extensive ingredient lists further inhibit students from being able to cook meals for themselves and with the recent rise in inflation, purchasing a large ingredient list is not attainable for many students’ budgets.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a dad whose passion was cooking. This meant that I was fortunate enough to come home to elaborate and delicious meals cooked for me every night. However, now as a student at Cornell, I have personally felt the constraints mentioned. Home cooked meals are something I miss dearly now that I am not at home.
After returning from a semester abroad and finally having my own kitchen, I made it my mission to truly begin cooking for myself similar to the way I grew up. I began with scouring NYT Cooking articles for recipes that I thought were doable, but again with ingredient lists with ten, fifteen or even twenty components, it was just not something I was willing to do. After talking to my dad about my issues, he recommended a Jamie Oliver cookbook called 5 Ingredients.
This cookbook is exactly what it sounds like. Each recipe only has five ingredients, with the exception of salt, black pepper, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. On top of a short ingredient list, the recipes are simple, straightforward and easy to follow. These recipes have completely improved the way that I eat and cook for myself.
Most recently, I made the Sausage and Apple Bake. This is one of those amazingly simple recipes where you basically throw everything into a pot and let it cook. Again, there are only five ingredients so all that the recipe called for was onions, apples, parsnips, sausage and honey. You just need to chop up the onions and apples and throw them into a pot. They need to cook just a little before adding the rest of your ingredients (this is by far the most difficult part of the recipe). They need to be tossed regularly so they don’t burn, but other than that they require little attention. Then, you add red wine vinegar, the parsnips, sausage, honey, black pepper and salt. Once all the ingredients are in, you cover the pot, put it in the oven for 30 minutes and then you are done!
What comes out is a warm, delicious sweet and savory meal. Personally, I like to add a little more honey to give it just a little extra sweetness, but that’s up to you. This meal is great to share with friends on a cold and rainy Ithaca day.
Currently, I am cooking my way through this cookbook and have been thoroughly enjoying all of the different recipes Jamie Oliver created. Growing up, I was always the sous-chef in my father’s kitchen and I rarely was the one in charge of anything. Finally having my own kitchen to cook in and meals to make has definitely been a change of pace, but one that has brought me a lot of joy. Being able to talk with my dad over this shared passion has given both of us a whole new area of connection. Cooking was always something that I saw in the recent past as a chore due to the constraints of being a student, but now I am excited to come home from class to make dinner.
Clare Della Valle is a junior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected].