Letter from the Mint editor: Don’t be intimidated by cooking quality food

Mint editor missed her parents’ cooking so she remakes recipes

GABRIELLA RAMOS, Evergreen mint editor

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I started the New Year on a full-blown health kick. I had at least three resolutions in play: drink more water, go to the gym three times a week and stop eating out so frequently.

I will let you guess which of these lifestyle changes lasted only about three months, until February when I broke my wrist. That’s right — I have been telling myself I would get back to the gym for two weeks now.

I am still trying to drink more water. But one of these resolutions has inspired a passion I never knew I had: cooking. By allowing myself to eat out only once every two weeks, I found myself looking up recipes and subscribing to Bon Appetit magazine to learn how to cook restaurant-quality food at home.

Since then, I have evolved into a total foodie. I only watch cooking shows on Netflix now. When I finished “The Big Family Cooking Showdown,” I turned to Gordon Ramsay’s at-home series “Ultimate Home Cooking.” If you’ve ever watched “Hell’s Kitchen,” watching Ramsay interact with his children is the cutest shit you’ve ever seen. Now, I spend a lot of my time watching Bon Appetit videos on Facebook, as well as binge-watching Ramsay’s other programs on Hulu.

Here’s the message I’m really trying to send you: Just because you’re in college does not mean you cannot cook quality food. I honestly hate the kitchen in my little apartment, but electric stoves are not the end of the world.

Get yourself a few essential utensils — a sturdy cutting board, a garlic press and a cheese grater — and look up a recipe that you’ve always wanted to try. Last week, I was on a chicken thighs kick. This week, I’m doing salmon and chicken breast.

Before I go shopping, I literally just look up something along the lines of “chicken breast recipes” or “oven-baked salmon seasoning,” and start making a list after bookmarking recipes that seem simple enough and that I have the ability to make.

Another tip I have for grocery shopping: Stick to fresh veggies. By spending your precious pennies on produce with an expiration date, you’ll find yourself working more vegetables into your cooking and forcing yourself to eat at home for fear of food going bad.

Eating out constantly played a huge factor in my deteriorating mental and physical health when I came to college. I found myself getting nostalgic about my parents’ home cooking, so I started trying to recreate their recipes with some finesse of my own. I personally think I’ve outdone my dad’s chicken piccata, but I’ll let him be the judge of that on Dad’s Weekend.

Don’t doubt yourself. You got this. Even if it tastes terrible the first time, you’ll know what to do differently the next time. How do you think your parents learned to cook so well? It wasn’t by ordering pizza every night, that’s for sure.