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Adventures in Cooking Part 1: Baking & Pasta

Okay, so I’m going into my junior year of a bachelor’s degree, and I’ve realized that I should probably get my act together when it comes to cooking for myself. Now, I can heat up leftovers and frozen meals in a microwave, and use it to make ramen noodles and mac and cheese. I can make eggs and rice using my induction cooker, and maybe saute something. Boiling and draining water for pasta isn’t really something I can do, and opening and lifting some containers is difficult. I also have no good way of carrying hot things, and I have very minimal knife skills, but I can do easy things like make toast, sandwiches, and cereal, so not all of my food involves a microwave.

I’ve noticed while writing that I’ve been talking about the microwave like it’s bad, or lame, or “not real cooking,” but here’s the thing: the microwave is a tool; it is also a cooking appliance like a stove, and if at the end of the day it does what you need, congratulations! You have hot food- and in all likelihood, you have it faster.

So I have a bit less than a year to improve my cooking skills to the point where I’m not just living off the same five iterations of carbohydrates in rotation, the majority of which can be prepared in the same number of minutes.

Last night I tried making regular pasta in the microwave, which went rather well. Using my blue macaroni bowl (designed for making macaroni in the microwave, and made by Rapid Brands, for those who are curious as to what I mean by “blue macaroni bowl.” I also have one for ramen noodles.) I poured in a reasonable amount of pasta, filled it with enough water to cover said pasta, and microwaved the whole thing for eight minutes in total. (This, incidentally, was the method used by award-winning actor Robert Pattinson in that one chaotic quarantine interview.) I was able to carefully tip the bowl of cooked pasta and drain the remaining hot water into a cup, where it could cool enough to be carried and dumped down the sink.

After eating my serving of Pattinson-method pasta, I managed to also bake cookies in the toaster oven! Two solutions to cooking problems in one night! They were peanut butter cookies from a mix, to which I added chocolate chips because I could. They were baked according to the package directions, which wasn’t hard, since my toaster oven has an actual temperature control in degrees; the one disadvantage was that I was only able to bake six at a time, which now that I think about it, along with the single-serving-at-a-time of pasta, maybe isn’t a bad thing for someone who will eventually have a living space all to themselves!

Hopefully this was helpful to you in some way, or at least entertaining. I will probably write another one of these sometime, as it was recommended that I try to make something in a slow-cooker.

Have a nice day!

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