Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The (Not So) Starving Grad Student - Quick & Easy Cooking

I don't know why people despise Rachael Ray. Watching her whip up meals in a matter of minutes on 30 Minute Meals never fails to leave my mouth hanging open in amazement. 30 minute meals? Meals in 30 minutes? Friends, the woman is a genius. An utter genius.

Between 300 pages of reading every week, TA preparation, and other extra-curricular activities, I barely have time to cook. Much less breathe, for that matter. And I know I'm not the only student suffering from a lack of cooking time and, ergo, a hungry stomach. As I was walking to school this morning, I passed by several convenience stores eagerly advertising their sale on frozen dinners and pizzas. The temptation to give into the world of saturated fats and sodium goodness is all too obvious. Falling into the habits of microwave dinners, swimming in a minefield of transfats, preservatives, and unknown chemicals is all too tempting. Believe me, I've had my share of preserved, ready-made dinners several times since moving to Kingston: an easy route after a tiring, stress-inducing day. However, I've come to the conclusion that I need to eat properly. Starting now.

While I dragged my feet to the kitchen this evening after coming home from a late class, I'm glad I stuck to discipline, pulled out the frying pan, and cooked dinner without resorting to collapsing in bed to sleep and starve voluntarily after an exhausting day of class and reading. Despite our hectic schedules, healthy eating habits are so important. It probably isn't the best idea to starve ourselves or to constantly rely on preserved meals. Our graduate degrees won't mean anything if our brains have disintegrated into utter mush, a smorgasbord of preservatives, sodium, and transfat. And so, friends, we always have an option to maintain healthy eating habits: Cooking.

Cooking is unavoidable. We can't rely on preserved TV dinners forever. The state of our health will always and forever be in our own hands, and as grad students, we shouldn't voluntarily starve, no matter how tired we are. We don't have to constantly resort to microwavable macaroni & cheese with interesting bits of preserved plastic cheese swimming within our potential dinners. Cooking doesn't have to consist of a long, elaborate process. Cooking can be quick. Meals can be hearty, healthy, and easy to make. Here are a couple of websites where we can search for super quick & easy meals. Emphasis on the quick and the easy.

All - This is, hands down, my favourite recipe website, ever. EVER. They even have a section on 30 minute meals. You can find any type of recipe on this website, and will most likely discover recipes you've never even heard of. For example, what in the world is stuffed cod wrapped in bacon? Who knew cod could be wrapped in bacon? It boggles the mind.

30 Minute Meals - What can I say, Rachael Rae is my hero. For the time-sensitive grad student, a quick & healthy meal is the way to go. Emphasis on quick. Other than Bobby Flay, she's the one reason I was addicted to the Food Network over the summer. Although I'll admit that if I ever came face-to-face with Bobby Flay, I'd probably pass out. It's the fangirl in me.

Minute Chef - This is pretty self-explanatory. There are some meals listed which can be prepared in a matter of 15-30 minutes. That's as long as a Friends episode. If you can commit to giggling over the lives and loves of six imaginary people in New York City for half an hour, I'm pretty sure you can cook yourself a good, hearty, healthy meal in the same amount of time.

Let this blog post merely serve as a friendly reminder that we are all capable of cooking and eating right. Give it a chance, cooking can be fun! However, if we continue with unhealthy eating habits, there's always that other option. What other option, you ask?

Well, we can always ask our parents to come visit on the weekend, convince them we're living in utter squalor, and have them take us out for a hearty meal at Chez Piggy. It all comes down to choice. Whatever works for you.

Happy cooking, friends!

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."
- Vincent T. Lombardi


  1. This post saddens me. Rachel Ray and Bobby Flay are my two most hated Food Network chefs. In fact, I watch Throwdown! just to watch Bobby Flay lose (which he, thankfully, usually does).

    Other than that, hurrah for cooking and eating healthy, LOL.

  2. I haven't met a single person who appreciates Rachael Ray! One day, I'll find one. One day!