For me, there’s nothing like unwinding after a long day by spending time in the kitchen cooking my favourite dinner. Rewind to September 2015 and there I was in my residence kitchen, staring in disbelief at cherry tomatoes that I had accidentally put into the freezer instead of the fridge. At the risk of sounding like a spoiled child, my kitchen skill set was limited to 'sandwiches and cereal.' That’s right — I was a kitchen mess and I had never cooked before.

What’s worse is that realisation struck: the big shift away from home actually meant looking after my own meals too. It's safe to say the struggle was real.

After a week of sticking to sandwiches and cereal for my meals, I actually questioned how hard cooking could be — I mean, the majority of the world seems to do it one way or another, right? Who did I have to satisfy with my cooking? Just me. That seemed to make it less intense. And I would never know if I didn’t give it a shot, right?

So I did. And these were my biggest takeaways during those initial months of cooking for myself:

1. Meet Pasta — Your New BFF.

fettuccine, tagliatelle, vegetable, macaroni, tomato, sauce, basil, spaghetti, pasta
Judy Holtz

I decided that the best way to start was by testing the student staple — pasta. Boil it, add some sauce, maybe some veggies and cooked meat and voila! I felt like a kitchen boss — my skills had expanded from ‘sandwiches and cereal’ to ‘sandwiches and cereal and pasta’. That was motivation enough and I seemed to grow more confident in the kitchen, give or take a few disasters and mishaps.

2. 5-a-Day? No Biggie.

Once I got used to preparing my own meals everyday, I realised that reaching 5-a-Day is really not an issue. You're the master of your own meals and you decide what goes into them. It's all up to you really whether you want to add the extra serving of broccoli in your stir-fry or sprinkle more blueberries on your oatmeal.  

(No, french fries sadly do not count.)

3. You Become More Mindful.

sweet, wheat, cereal
Paula Kreutzer

The argument goes that cooking your own meals is the healthier option since you know what's going into your food. It is indeed very true.

I discovered that cooking for yourself makes you more mindful regarding your food choices. Your food conscience will constantly pester you. Was that can of fizzy really necessary? Do you really want to choose that bag of fried potato crisps over a hearty bowl of carrots with hummus? 

4. You'll See Your Spending Go Down.

That's £5 for the sandwich and £2.50 for the coffee — that's one option for your very basic lunch.

Or perhaps you could choose to use two eggs from the pack of 10 that you bought for £2, some spinach from the bag that you bought for £1 and a slice of cheese from the box that cost you £2. Slap it on some toast and you're good to go.

The figures speak for themselves! 

5. Zen Mode On.

Sure, cooking may just be one of those things on your daily list of chores. But on the other hand, it may well become a hobby or an activity that makes you relax. That's what it did for me, at least. It's something that requires attention and really involves all the senses. As a bonus, there's a sense of accomplishment at the end of it for the effort is not for the meal itself.


Cooking is an important life skill, no doubt, so I'm lucky that for me, it became something I look forward to on a day-to-day basis! A year and a half ago, I had been thrown into the kitchen with no prior experience or knowledge. Now here I am, giving importance to kitchen time, enjoying grocery shopping and experimenting with new ingredients and recipes.

Whatever your situation is, there is no right or wrong in the kitchen — as long as you’re satisfied with what you’re attempting and what you’re eating, you're nailing it. There really should be no rules and standards holding you back from exploring and ultimately, adulting fearlessly

And now for a cliché Ratatouille quote: Anyone can cook!

So happy cooking!