My school is basically smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Our “downtown” consists of a strip of stores and restaurants that stretch out about a quarter mile. Your options for eating out are either chains or a handful of bar/restaurants that leave you feeling full (of regret). It doesn’t feel like there are signs of life for miles, never mind trendy new restaurants. But we foodies have to persevere. Here’s how I make it work.
Cooking For One
This is the easiest solution to the whole no good restaurants thing. Even if you don’t think you’re #blessed in the kitchen, I promise it’s easier than you think. The key? Go buy a cookbook. And no, googling random recipes right before meal time doesn’t count.
It’s so easy (and fun) that you may just forget you’re eating this meal at a school surrounded by miles of farmland. I tend to try out my crazy recipes when I’m just cooking for one. That way, if it totally sucks or you mess it up, it’s no biggie. After you test it out, then you can bring out the big guns and make it for your friends.
P.S. I got the recipe for my California Tofu Hash from Giada’s Feel Good Food cookbook. Add that to your Christmas list for sure.
Cooking For Your Friends
Chances are, if you go to school in the middle of nowhere, you’re not surrounded by a ton of people that share your passion for awesome, unique food. Which is totally fine! Some people just aren’t as open minded about their food preferences. Fair enough.
So, when I cook with my friends, we tend to keep it pretty simple. This was spaghetti night, which ended up being so awesome. Mexican night with fajitas, margaritas, and a gallon of queso is another big hit. Or we’ll even make a huge breakfast for dinner and all chow down. All that matters is that we’re together around the dinner table. That’s the best part about a meal anyway, am I right?
Store Up For the Winter
One of the best parts about going home is coming back to school with a pantry re-stocked with the necessities full fridge of leftovers (sorry mom). My go-to items to get at home are olive oil, pasta, quinoa, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, and some good parmesan cheese. With those basics you can make just about anything.
I’ve come to learn that the freezer is your friend, not foe. You can keep good food in there for months. On those nights when cooking is the last thing you want to do, just pop it in the oven and forget about just how limited your restaurant options are.
Flex on Instagram
No lie, I’d say about 95 percent of the accounts I follow on Instagram are food accounts. Okay, yeah, that’s probably a lie. But I do follow a lot. Some of my favorites? @foodintheair, @thedelicious, @nomnomnycgirls, and obviously @spoonuniversity. If you don’t follow Spoon, I’m gonna need you to do that right now. So we can’t actually eat the food they post on those accounts, but daydreaming about those insane food pics always helps get me through.
Just Go For It
Maybe the inner foodie in you is a little disappointed in you for eating at one of your school’s unoriginal restaurants, but, if we’re being completely real, they taste so damn good.
You might not be expanding your culinary repertoire or whatever, but sometimes you just need a pork plate from the BBQ joint down the road or a buffalo chicken wrap from the seedy bar downtown. Just let it happen. We can eat at those crazy/unique/awesome restaurants when we graduate.