Kitchen enthusiasm and home cooked meals

Tips and tricks every college student should know


The following items are all included in my apartment: four identical bathrooms, four identical bedrooms, two hotel waiting room-like polka dotted arm chairs, a broken leather couch, a brown coffee table, ample counter space, a complimentary gift containing two undersized cutting boards and a fully-equipped kitchen. Despite the adverse stigma attached to GrandMarc’s apartment complex, I felt blissful during my first days in my new home. I stood in the center of the room, facing the kitchen.  

“My own fully-equipped kitchen!” I exclaimed emphatically. With an oven, a toaster oven, a stove, a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a freezer with a surprisingly well-working ice-machine, sufficient cabinet space, a sink, a garbage disposal, a pantry and more.

My excitement was childlike. To help you understand, my mom is the stereotypical Italian mother who on a nightly basis displays culinary wizardry between the hours of 5 and 6 p.m. My earliest memories are filled with home-cooked meals and food became more of a passion than a necessity at a very early age. 

I consider myself my mother’s disciple, so while I cannot promise the same quality that she would be able to, I feel both capable and obliged to provide a few simple and wholesome meal ideas for you to cook for yourself and your friends at home. I guarantee the following tips will help you save money, impress your friends and revitalize your appreciation for food. Everything tastes better when you make it yourself!

Tip 1: Head down Emmet Street to Harris Teeter and sign up for a “e-VIC” card. The application can be completed at the customer service desk. As a University student, you receive certain discounts by filling out this application. I also recommend signing up for the emails, so you're fully aware of what kind of deals are happening and when they're going down. Purchasing groceries can be far cheaper than eating out.  

Tip 2: Know what you're looking for when you go to the grocery store. In terms of snacks, there’s a lot of liberty depending on personal preference, but instead of Doritos and potato chips, I recommend some of the following: cheese and crackers, hummus, guacamole, Tostitos and pretzel crisps, apples, grapes, bananas, berries, etc.  

Tip 3: Grocery shopping can be daunting. What do you buy? How do you buy it cheaply? Make an effort to maintain diversity in your meals. Every main dish should be complemented with a side dish. Also, be cognizant of the offers supermarkets like Harris Teeter provide. You get an 18-pack of eggs for 99 cents. Natural pork baby back ribs for $1.97 per pound! Packaged chicken breasts at a bargain of buy one, get one free. Be sure to scope out deals at the nearest supermarkets to save money!  

Tip 4: Never purchase pre-packaged lunch meats. Always purchase your hams, turkeys and sliced cheeses directly from the butcher and by the pound. Every vegetable you buy should also be carefully inspected and purchased one-by-one. Avoid anything pre-packaged or bagged, because this is merely a ploy to make you spend more on lower quality. Seek out deals and be fiscally savvy when you grocery shop. This will only add to your feeling of fulfillment when putting meals together.   

If you've made it to this point, I can personally verify your obsession with food. I hope you are now motivated by all the potential at home in your own kitchen. Take advantage of it! Everything tastes better when you cook it yourself.

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