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Finding My Inner Chef

Christos Yiatrou C'22

mount st. mary's university campus

Welcome back Mounties! I have mentioned before that one of the many challenges I've faced from moving off campus is being able to cook for myself. For many of us, college is the first time in our lives where we don’t have the luxury of home cooking. Especially for me, this was a bit of a wake-up call. Before coming to college, I never had to worry about a meal. To be quite honest, my mom isn't the greatest cook in the world, but my father owns a restaurant, so if I was hungry, I had something to fall back on. 

When I got to college and eventually moved off the meal plan, I started to realize that I needed to learn to cook. As we become adults, this is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. The reality is that I needed to learn to cook because it was something I realized I will be doing for the rest of my life. This doesn’t mean throwing something frozen in the microwave or oven for 40 minutes and calling it cooking. Preparing and cooking from scratch is often discouraged by students because of the time that it takes. I understand that preparing and cooking can be time-consuming and as students, time is everything. I was there before, eating mac and cheese for five nights straight because it was quick and easy.  

The summer following my sophomore year, I made sure that I would learn how to cook by the start of the school year. I tried to keep things simple and attempt to make foods that I already like by searching the recipes online. While I thought this would be a successful way to learn to cook, it was a challenge to say the least. The number of times where I would overcook or over season something after hours of preparation is enormous. I fail all the time at cooking and it's very frustrating, especially when you're hungry. The hardest part is having to throw away a cooked meal that isn't even edible. 

The idea of following online recipes wasn’t working for me. I am very much a visual learner, so pictures and videos help me tremendously when there isn't a physical person who can show me how to do something. YouTube essentially became my best friend; I would spend countless hours of my free time binge watching cooking shows and tutorials. As time went on, I started to notice my cooking was getting a lot better: I think confidence has a lot to do with it. From what I’ve learned, being able to eat something that you put effort into is pretty rewarding, and this feeling really never goes away.  

When I first started to teach myself to cook, I looked at it very much as a chore rather than a passion. I often made mistakes which aggravated me to the point where I would settle for cereal. These aggravating times were a way for me to suppress the noise and try again until I got it right. I really wanted to prove to myself that I could cook and as time went on this chore started to become more of a passion. This may sound crazy, but now I genuinely enjoy going to the grocery store and look forward to cooking for me and my roommates. Yes, I make mistakes, but it isnt stopping me from trying to get it right. This attitude I have towards cooking has translated a lot into my work ethic. Just like in cooking, we will continue to make mistakes but it’s all about what we do with our mistakes that defines us.  

That’s all for this week! GO MOUNT! 


Christos Yiatrou C'22