University Life Part 4: The Kitchen
The Kitchen: The Creator of Mess and Memories
Aside from the hallway, the kitchen was our only communal area in the flat. Although we quickly began to use each other’s bedrooms as social spaces, this was the area we spent a lot of time in as a group. And it was the room where we made the most memories. We cooked together here, pre-drank, threw parties, watched TV, and occasionally cleaned. There was a strong sense of community and solidarity between us as we learnt how to become independent adults, particularly when it came to food and nutrition. We were about a month into our first term when Ben learnt to cook his first microwave meal.
We were in the kitchen cooking dinner, discussing our day as we did most evenings. I was sat at the table with my signature dish – pasta and cheese. Lauren and Devon were making a curry, prepping the veg over by the oven. Ben stood over by the microwave, looking intently at the label of a ready-meal curry. ‘So, I just put this in the microwave for six and a half minutes on 700W?’ I smiled and nodded at him, proud that he was trying something other than toast or Pringles for dinner. But then he continued with the cooking instructions. ‘Then I take it out and put it back in for six more minutes on 800W and then five minutes on 900W…’ The girls burst out laughing, thankfully stopping him from reading out the rest. ‘I think you just put it in for the six minutes, Ben.’ I explained to him how the instructions work and the various settings of microwaves. He soon saw what the girls had found so funny and laughed along with them.
That was almost four years ago, and I now often return home from work to find Ben just finishing off dinner for both of us. He’ll spend hours cooking a pasta sauce that could put Lloyd Grossman to shame. As I walk into the kitchen, he’ll just be draining the pasta with the table already laid, complete with a glass of water for him and a cup of green tea for me. These days it tends to be me asking for the cooking tips and advice!