Rinsing the dark green grape leaves in the sink, fluffing the hot rice spiced with cinnamon, my mother was passing Lebanese heritage to me through pots and pans. For the labor-intensive recipe of dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves, we spent hours preparing and rolling little bundles of tastebud joy for the special occasion of my father's birthday. Stuffed grape leaves are his favorite. As a "chip off the old block," they are also mine.
Needless to say, as a college student, I do not have time to spend hours working on my great-grandmother's recipe nor the money to purchase "exotic" or fancy ingredients. I no longer have my own kitchen. My mom and I aren't cooking dinner anymore; I'm eating at a dining hall where everything is pre-selected and cooked for me. I want to eat healthy, but the environment and options have completely changed. The last thing I want to hear is the looming Freshman 15.
Simply put, convenience and nutrition don’t go hand-in-hand without some planning and good references. When you’re a college student, running from class to work to clubs to impromptu friend gatherings, it can be hard to eat right. With a whirlwind of brain-consuming activities, we tend to overlook one of the most basic yet important aspects of our lives: our health. (Especially around this time of year! Notice any classmates sniffling and downing coughdrops like M&Ms?)
Learn about food, and we learn about ourselves. We learn how to give our bodies enough energy to feel good and fight sickness. We learn about our heritage through family recipes passed down. We celebrate our holidays with feasts. We share conversation, memories, confidance over food with our friends. Food brings us together.
Now? Food is bringing me to you. My name’s Ann Cochran. In brevity, I’m a short, stubborn “health-nut” with a penchant for dessert, coffee, and cereal. (Make sense? Nooope!) Am I a bonafide nutritionist or gourmet chef? Nope. But I want to learn how to make good choices when I’m browsing the dining halls, when I’m overwhelmed by the zillion ways to dress up a cup of coffee at Starbucks, when I’m on the run and faced with fast-food chains. If I have access to a small kitchen, or even just a microwave, I want to know how best to cook easy, quick, delicious meals. I’m going to collect tips and techniques here, saute it with a little extra virgin olive oil, and spice it with some crushed red pepper for your convenience.
Don’t you want to live well, live long, live light? Live with zest. Live your life!
P.S. Next time: The Skinny on Starbucks!