The activity of cooking has changed me. I can see its benefits, not only for my physical health but also for my mental and emotional health. Cooking makes me both rational and extremely relaxed. It leaves me at peace with myself. Cooking is a form of self-appreciation and self-education.

My Inspiration

Giulia Baldini

As an affectionate fan of Gossip Girl, I've always admired how Blair Waldorf would host her friends at numerous fancy parties. For this reason, I tried to do so during my high school years back home. Of course, my budget and the number of people in attendance were all less, but I still managed to host several afternoon teas and brunches at my place. 

Usually, my mom was there assisting me with cooking. I would help a little but cooking wasn't really my thing yet. I felt bored and rather useless in the kitchen. Then something changed when I moved to college.

Being a Freshman

Being far from home and my culture really changed me. When I was a first-year student at Hofstra University, I was so curious about American culture, lifestyle, and its diverse culinary traits, being from Italy. In just one year, I had the chance to try many different dishes, snacks, and beverages from all around the world. 

Having an Italian background, it is assumed most of the time that you know how to cook. When I went back home for the summer holidays I visited several cities, including Naples and Vicoforte. On these trips, I met people who taught me many new culinary tips, skills, and facts.

The Challenge of Cooking

When I came back to New York and began my sophomore year, a sentiment arose in my heart and I started to think that I should give cooking a try. I wanted to master in something that people could look up to me for. That's when I realized that it was time to learn how to cook. 

At the start of the school year, I applied for the lowest meal plan so that I could be more motivated to cook. My roommates and I then agreed on renting a microwave and a mini-fridge for the year. My first challenge was learning how to set up a routine when it came to meal prep.

Creating a Routine

Giulia Baldini

I immediately started getting familiar with the dorm kitchen in my residence hall. It wasn't the same as the one I have at home, but it was still a kitchen with the essential elements, none the less.

Being in a suburban area without a car makes you dependent on public transportation. Luckily, my university provides shopping shuttles which bring students to malls and supermarkets.

Being a busy college student, finding time to cook was always my biggest challenge. Not only did I have to find time to go to the grocery store, but I also had to make several meals for the week ahead in just one sitting. My meal prepping several meals in advance, I was able to save time later on.

At first, I aimed to simply learn how to cook on my own but as I started getting more familiar with the task, I found that it is a really great skill to develop.

The Health Benefits

Giulia Baldini

While many people complain about the food at Hofstra, I have been to many other campuses where the food was way worse. It's not that I don't like the food served in the cafeteria, but I wanted to be more aware of the ingredients and nutrients entering my body. I wanted to be more self-conscious about my physical health, starting with my eating habits.

Getting Creative

Giulia Baldini

When I cook for myself, I get to be creative. Even if I cook the same dish over and over, I can add in new ingredients or simply prepare it in a different process. I've been learning to add a variety of proteins, vegetables, and other seasonings to keep meals from getting boring.

A Personal Journey

Cooking helps me in many ways. Since I started cooking, I've noticed my OCD has improved drastically, along with my social anxiety. Being in the kitchen has helped me become more responsive to my body.

Cooking has also allowed me to bond with people. It's very rewarding to teach my friends how to cook because it makes me feel useful. I personally feel relaxed and creative at the same time whenever I am in the kitchen.