How Mac’n’Cheese Helped Me Make Friends.
Sarah’s Mum thought she was simply helping her daughter to eat well, when she taught her how to make some of her home-style classics, but she was giving her so much more.
This story was sent into us from a university student and amateur baker who wanted to tell us how she managed to make a whole host of new friends at University with the help of some extra nostalgic recipes that she learnt from her Mother…
Students are notoriously bad eaters. Although they might not be raiding the supermarkets for pot noodles like they did in the 90s, it can still be said for many of these young people that they are simply not ready to sustain themselves, when many of them arrive on campus for their first year in University. They’re more often than not likely to fall for the first piece of campus marketing that they see, and remain blindly loyal to a cheap takeaway shop for the rest of their time at Uni.
Whilst it might be tempting to attribute this lack of care to laziness, or simple stupidity, in reality many freshers aren’t given proper direction in how to plan their meals or do their shopping. This lack of education can lead to a steep learning curve for young people who have just flown the coop and, if not corrected, can potentially result in poor habits developing in adult life.
Luckily, Sarah was not one of these kids. We’ll let her continue in her words:
“I’m not one of those kids who has horror stories about all the terrible meals they were served by their parents, in fact, the opposite is true. I’ve always loved my Mum’s cooking, she learnt how to cook from my Grandma and holds her in a similarly loft fashion. As much as I relished every single one of my Mother’s meals, I never showed much interest in how they were prepared. To my Mum’s credit, she never once forced me into the kitchen. She did, however, make a series of blindingly good dinners leading up to my final weeks living at home, which made me realise just how talented she was and just how hopelessly clueless I was.
So it was, that after nearly two decades of avoiding touching the oven, my Mother was finally able to get an apron around my neck. Over the course of the last few weeks I spent my evenings learning how to make the dishes of my childhood: sausage & mash, mac’n’cheese, roast dinners, pork chops. I’d never appreciated all the details that were involved in creating these familiar meals, but by the time I left for university I was armed with a host of new skills (and a recipe book) and was ready to get cooking!
On my first night in halls, whilst my new room-mates were stocking up on chicken nuggets and pot noodles, I was carefully picking out ingredients for my debut meal: a faithful recreation of my Mum’s Macaroni Cheese. In the hours before the drinking games and inevitable drunken night out, I sat down to eat with my new Uni family and was happy to find out that not only could I cook, but that my cooking could also make people happy!”