Lessons Learned in the Kitchen

July 3, 2008 | NeW Staff

A hot topic for discussion right now for women in NeW, and something covered at the Conference, is what our future career will be. We are flooded with job possibilities and opportunities, while at the same time, many of us are trying to figure out how important having a family is to us and how we factor those desires into our graduation plans. However, there is one issue for post-graduation that will be common to all of us, no matter which route we take: learning and mastering domestic skills.

If you’re like me at all, you probably have enjoyed the comforts of your parents’ cooking for years, and while you are away at school, you may or not have experimented in the kitchen. I, for one, have zero domestic skills, and I haven’t really looked forward to the day when I have to start cooking all of my own meals. Late night Mexican and pizza may not be a viable option when I’m not living in a college town. We will all have to learn eventually how to prepare a decent meal for ourselves. Who ever said growing up was easy?

But this summer, I have started to experience this transition somewhat and learned that taking on more responsibility isn’t such a scary thing. Interning in DC, I live in a studio apartment with limited kitchen appliances. My new favorite things in the kitchen are the toaster oven and microwave, and I have learned that you should never underestimate what sort of creations you can make using these two simple appliances. My friends and I have decided that anything is possible, so we often experiment with what you can actually cook in the toaster oven. We have learned that adding cheese, olive oil, or marinara sauce to any dish cooked in the microwave will spruce it up and make it taste better. It’s amazing how fun improvising can be when you live on a budget and don’t have your mother’s spice rack.

A few tips from previous experiences on how to have the most success in a simple kitchen…

Don’t ever put anything on top of the toaster oven while you are baking something. I’m glad I know now how quickly a plastic bag can melt!

Smell your milk before you pour it into your cereal bowl. It’s funny how easily milk turns sour.

Never underestimate how hot a toaster oven actually is. For instance, when you are cooking something in a 350 degree toaster oven, and you try to take a bite of it while it’s still hot, you will most likely experience how hot 350 degrees actually is.

Hard boiled eggs will explode if you try to cook them in the microwave. Trust me, it’s not a good idea.

Having fun is what it’s all about. Becoming independent, embracing the challenges of domesticity, and learning to be okay with slightly untraditional meals makes life all the more fun! As women who are always advancing forward and striving to change the world, learning the challenges of a kitchen will teach you more about the real world and humility than you would ever imagine. Be confident and content with who you are, even in the midst of your imperfections.

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