If I’m honest, cooking has never been my cup of tea. My irrational reluctance to cook was mainly due to the fact that I was convinced that I would not be good at it. I had this weird misconception that cooking necessarily requires artistic skill, which I felt I lacked completely. Given my lack of skill with things like drawing, singing, and dancing, I long held the assumption that cooking, too, was a lost cause. So why bother?

“My irrational reluctance to cook was mainly due to the fact that I was convinced that I would not be good at it”

I used to think that pastas and ready meals would carry me through my uni experience. I really thought that cooking was a ‘parents’ thing’, so I never bothered to cook on my own. And on top of that, I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who knows how to cook (and who actually likes it!), so doing it myself seemed utterly useless. The fact that I am scared of fire didn’t exactly encourage me to cook either. These reasons were enough to convince me that I simply didn’t have to cook anyway. Little did I know, however, how badly I needed it.

These misconceptions were challenged upon my arrival in Cambridge, as I discovered how happy my housemates were when cooking. I didn’t see why they rejoiced in cooking something which they would eat within thirty minutes. All I could think of was what a waste of time it was. The fleeting aspect of it all was yet another reason to put me off from cooking.

So you can imagine how worried I was when my housemates and I organised a dinner during which each of us had to bring a cooked meal. I had no idea what to cook, and ended up not cooking anything, as I felt too paralysed to try. But two weeks later, my house organised another dinner, and I realised that avoiding it again was not an option. I asked my parents for advice and they suggested I make a salade vosgienne, which is a delicious French mixed salad made of lettuce, croutons, diced bacons, hard-boiled eggs, and a special vinaigrette.

“Cooking proved to be amazingly soothing, so much so that it has become a daily ritual”

Instead of being the stressful activity I had thought it would be, cooking proved to be amazingly soothing, so much so that it has become a daily ritual. And if the truth be told, I love the whole process of preparing a meal; from discovering a new recipe and running to the supermarket in order to gather all the ingredients, to finally seeing the result on my plate.

I started with simple yet delicious recipes (most of which I took from my lovely housemates). One of the first ones was a muesli of sorts; made of yoghurt along with blueberries, bananas, walnuts, and honey. Then, I started making more and more mixed salads: the French salade vosgienne, as well as the famous caesar salad, are my favourites. The latter is pretty much the same as the aforementioned salade vosgienne, except that you add cheese and have chicken instead of diced bacon.

Another favourite of mine is what I call the ‘sushi salad’ which is made of rice, avocado, cucumber, salmon and, last but not least, soy sauce. Another great one is the ‘goat salad’, made of lettuce, goat cheese, bread and walnut fried with honey. In fact, as I write this article, I have just finished eating a large plate of fried potatoes, along with onions, diced bacon, mushrooms and parsley. Delicious!


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The valuable lesson I have drawn from cooking is to never stop yourself from trying something if you think you won’t be good at it. I am not saying that I am a good cook (far from it; I still make mistakes), but I like it. And that’s what matters.