What cooking is for me, and what it can be for you too

As you have probably understood so far, I value my relationship with food more than the next person, but what I value even more is the time I spend preparing my food. While living at home I was lucky enough, in many ways, to have food ready for me waiting on the table as I got back from school. Though at the time it was the best way I could have imagined things, I had no idea how passionate I would become about preparing my own food daily.


It’s common to see cooking as a chore, and in many ways, it can be. I’m sure that after a day of very hard work when one gets home in time for dinner, the last thing one wants to do is actually have to spend a significant amount of time cooking. However, in my everyday life, I’ve found that instead of dreading the times of day when I have to cook, I actually look forward to them. Not only am I happy during the process of cooking but I’m also proud of what I’ve ended up creating. For me, cooking has become, an escape, a time to relax, and a way to feel a small sense of accomplishment throughout the day. You could even say that it has become a small way for me to meditate…


I definitely benefit from my small cooking ritual, and I think if you follow the following steps you might too:


  • The Environment


First things first, the most important factor is always the environment. Obviously, if we all had amazing, huge, well-lit, chef-worthy kitchens, we would probably all enjoy cooking more. Nonetheless, there are a few things you can do to make your dorm’s or small student apartment’s kitchen more enjoyable. For starters, lighting is key, so if you can, invest in making your kitchen well lit. Next, I’d suggest getting a few good basic appliances, pots and pans to make your cooking struggles easier. Lastly, the miscellaneous but -oh so- important things will make a world of difference: some plants (extra points if they are basil, coriander or mint), some cute kitchen towels as well as oven mitts, and some fun fridge magnets or maybe some pictures on the wall. After you’ve set up your kitchen, it is your job to keep it that way, by cleaning and making it an environment you want to stay in.


  • Your Ingredients


Secondly, as any good chef will tell you: good ingredients make the best dishes. I’d suggest finding a store you like, getting familiar with it, and making it a habit of going to shop there for your groceries. In time, shopping for groceries will stop being a hassle and will instead become a peaceful time, in a known environment, without all the frustration it can sometimes have. Furthermore, ensuring you have high quality ingredients every time will show in your final product, which will, in the long term, benefit you greatly, both in your health and wellbeing. One of my favorite places to shop at is Lifesum Market, on 6th avenue and 8th street. I love it, as it is close to campus and my apartment, but most importantly because it carries only organic produce and packaged items. Another crucial factor which makes Lifesum one of my favorite stores is the discount I get from the Campus Clipper.

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  • Your Motivation


Another key factor in improving your relationship with your kitchen is having real reasons why you want to do so. That is, you have to get educated and understand the benefits of cooking your own food. By knowing what goes inside your food you are in charge of your health and thus in charge of one, if not, the biggest parts of your life. Furthermore, in the long term, by incorporating meal prepping and some money saving hacks, you’ll see how cooking can be very cost effective, helping you adhere to your student budget. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll even find a peaceful escape in cooking, which helps you reboot during the day. Whatever the reason, finding your motivation is key in succeeding.


  • The Inspiration


After you’ve managed all three previous steps, it is time to get inspired. This means that it’s time to find what exactly you want to make and what gets you most excited to create in your own safe space, in your own way. Finding inspiration is key, as it will take cooking from being a chore to becoming a fun way to pass the time, to be creative and to feel a sense of accomplishment. My grandfather used to say that anyone who likes to eat will eventually know how to cook. So, find what you like to eat and make it for yourself. I suggest getting a few cookbooks that look appealing to you, but have recipes anyone can execute. Or, if you like, you could spend hours, as I do, on websites, blogs and YouTube looking at all the wonderful things people manage to made with just a handful of ingredients. The only thing I am certain of, is that somewhere out there, there is something that you’d love to make again, or make your way, so find it and get cooking.


  • Relaxation


Above all, as always, what is more important is that you stay relaxed. If you actually get into cooking and find some enjoyment in it, don’t worry if all you have time to make that day is a grilled cheese sandwich. Any type of food is fuel, but the best fuel is the food you make yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t make something great or if it’s the 10th time you’ve made spaghetti and you still make them mushy. Try to appreciate the fact that you’re trying to do something that is good for you. Every moment that you spend in your kitchen, trying to make something healthy for your body is a moment that you spend showing love for yourself and your body.



By Marina Theophanopoulou


Marina Theophanopoulou is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is studying Philosophy and Sociology as a junior at NYU. Passionate about healthy, food and wellness, Marina aspires to make others think of food in a more holistic way. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


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