Eat Your Stress: an introduction
Alternatively, We Need To Talk About Food.
Food is not very in, at the moment. Both culturally- detox teas and diet culture are still forming a dubiously-herbal miasma over social media- and within the context of this term at university, in which stress takes over and the quick, easy hit of vending machines and microwaves is a brief and welcome respite from the endless work.
We all know the latter is utterly ridiculous, and far more qualified people than me have written far more insightful things on it. Yet there is a conversation not being had about how we feed ourselves when we’re not at home; when our minds are whirring at ten million miles an hour; when we are caught between the seminar and the rehearsal and the match and the people who need talking to and the things that need doing.
We know that we need to practice self care whilst revising (or we should), but the reality is that food, and making your own, is rarely a part of that. Yet it makes sense: we all need to eat, and we all need to take a break. Why not combine the two?
There is a weird sort of peace that comes from planning your dinner; from knowing that these ingredients, put together in this way, and stirred, and just left for five, ten, fifteen minutes, will make something you can eat and feel better for it. Knowing that you’ll do some work, and then go to Mainsburys and breathe fresh air, and then come home and make something that is how you want it- exactly how you want it, whether you take the tomatoes out of everything or put Marmite on your jacket potato- can be a better motivator than anything a buttery can produce (and sometimes cheaper.)
Food helps us connect: nothing says I love you and I’m here like a cup of tea. Cooking for, and with, the people you care about is a better representation of that care than anything else on the planet: you build routines, rituals, plans which can be the anchor of a difficult week. I make my friends dinner every Saturday night and I look forwards to it from every Sunday morning: cooking, rather than going to the buttery, means we spend more time together, helping and arguing and realising that some people don’t know how to shred lettuce (how?)
That’s not to say you ought to be creating Cordon Bleu masterpieces throughout exam term. There is a time and a place for a midnight KitKat Chunky and it’s not to be sniffed at; nor is going to buttery when you have no time. But taking time for food; making it something you enjoy, not just something you endure; this is easy self care.
Over the course of the term, I’ll be posting recipes and ideas for how you can do that, in a gyp, for not a lot of money: some stuff from scratch, some stuff to make the basics better. Not because I think I’m an expert (although do you know anyone else who brought siracha mayo and Chinese 5 spice back to uni to them?) but because I love talking about it.
And also because if I see one more person fail to make pasta I shall scream.