Once the whole ordeal of moving in is over (and trust me, it’s always an ordeal), there comes a moment of glorious realization: you’re finally here. In college. In your own place, at least for the next eight months. And whether you get along with your roommates or not, whether you have a definite plan of how the next half year is going to go or whether it’s about to be a semester of hard-learned lessons and self-discovery, you have your (mostly) own space to come back to every night.
Some of you are lucky enough to be in apartment-style housing, complete with a kitchen as part of your new abode. For you lucky folks, as you take advantage of the free events NYU will get you into and catch the latest foreign films at the indie cinemas, take advantage of that kitchen, too. That doesn’t include late-night ramen breaks and the special recipe you invented during the days of AP exams or A-levels that involves mac-n-cheese, Red Bull and some secret ingredient you haven’t even revealed to your friends.
Because beyond all the other art New York City has to offer, the art of cooking is too often forgotten, pushed to the side in favor of dollar pizza and Arizona tea. Don’t worry; you don’t have to go so far as to learn how to laminate pastry. But once a week or so, forgo the less-than-fresh, more-than-soggy sauteed zucchini in the dining halls and chop a few carrots and tomatoes, and fry those babies with a dash of olive oil. When you pregame for that Saturday night smasher, make some brownies from scratch to soak up that scotch.
As you walk home past gourmet restaurants and admire the plating of the arugula salad or the sensual drizzle of caramel on that cheesecake, make a stop at Trader Joe’s or the Union Square Farmers’ Market for some cheap fresh produce and whip up your own version. Remember the art of cooking. Remember your kitchens. Don’t spend energy pining over your friend’s Instagram photos — make your own!
Remember: they might laugh at your Pinterest recipes and Tumblr food blogs, but your kitchen will smell of marinara and basil when theirs smells of ramen — or worse, nothing at all.
A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, August 28 print edition. Email Hailey Nuthals at [email protected]