Quarantine offers unparalleled opportunity to develop cooking skills

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COURTESY PHOTO / W&M.EDU

While I miss so many aspects of living and learning at the College of William and Mary, what I find myself missing the most is eating meals with my friends. The seemingly simple and routine act of grabbing breakfast before class with my roommate or having lunch after a lecture with my friends meant more to me than I had previously thought. Of course, the food itself wasn’t what made those meals so memorable, but having that allotted time to spend with my friends gave me a sense of routine and community. Over the same food, we were able to wind down, discuss our favorite and funniest moments from the day and talk about what we had coming up.

Now at home, it’s hard to maintain a daily schedule with asynchronous classes and no hours of operation dictating when I can eat. It’s even harder to stay connected to the College’s community when I’m no longer living with other students who are also going to classes, studying, and doing extracurricular activities like I am. But being at home comes with its own perks: besides being reunited with my family again, I also now have the opportunity to cook.

“Like so many others in quarantine, however, I now have to chance to do what I always told myself I would if I just had the time. For me, this means taking the time to look up recipes and following them to prepare meals for my family.”

I’ve always wanted to learn how to cook, but just never had the chance to fully pursue it. Before college, I would spend most of my day at school and my parents would do the cooking when I got home. At college, I’m on a dining plan that covers most of my meals.

Like so many others in quarantine, however, I now have to chance to do what I always told myself I would if I just had the time. For me, this means taking the time to look up recipes and following them to prepare meals for my family. My sister and I have taken it upon ourselves during this stay at home to learn this crucial skill.

Whenever it’s time to cook, we pull up our Pinterest board filled with pinned recipes and ideas, put on music and then begin gathering our ingredients and engaging in the lively and creative process that is cooking. Through making pancakes on weekend mornings, perfecting the grilled cheese for lunch, cooking pasta in the evenings and baking many, many batches of cookies, we are slowly discovering and learning the art of cooking. It’s an art that yields endless and delicious possibilities.

Being at school has showed me the importance of eating meals together but being at home has showed me the importance of preparing the meals. To cook is to create and share something with other people. This past month has given me a much-needed sense of routine and kinship. Whereas before, my family would mostly eat at our own times or quickly put something together to eat, we are now taking the time to cook and eat together. It’s a way to take care of ourselves and each other during these uncertain times. We are distancing, but still connecting.

Email Anhthu Cung at atcung at email@wm.edu.

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