Bitter Alums always warned me that cooking on your own is actually worse than val, and I never believed them. Well, here I am, abroad, cooking for myself, and I’m reporting back to let all y’all know who wins which battle in this cook off, val? or actually preparing a meal yourself?
Now, I will be completely honest, the results to this showdown depend on who you are. I’m a damn good cook when I want to be… buuuuut I’m pretty class-A lazy, so I don’t really like to prepare anything at all unless I’m cooking for many. (Example A, my most recent groceries: 4 cans of bean soup, 1.50 euro wine, large marzipan-filled chocolate bar) Now that you have this image let’s dive on in!
Battle 1: count-down to chow-down.
Nothing is worse than being a hungry-harry and having to wait for food while looking at it. While some praise Val because “I just walk in, grab something, and eat” I feel like I had a different experience at Amherst. I distinctly remember coming out of practice like a ravenous beast and waiting in line behind the football team (how did they always edge me out like that??) then waiting again, disappointed, because the “good” food was gone.
There is no lunch rush in my kitchen. And even if there was the Germans would still trip over themselves getting out of my way at the burner. Granted I have to prepare my food though–which generally means putting water in the kettle and sipping tea until my canned soup is warm. In total, it’s about 3.5 minutes till I get to eat. Honestly, I was surprised at the result to this one…but when i think about it…
WINNER: COOKING ON YOUR OWN
Battle 2: seeing people you don’t want to see
Val’s pretty infamous for this one, no? I don’t think that I need to reiterate the dangers of going to val circa 1:50 on Sunday, right when the über-hungover crowd drags itself in for some greasy deliciousness…
While it may seem like an easy category for val to lose, let me just say that I have plenty of awkward interactions with that-guy-you-only-talk-to-when-you’re-really-really-drunk in my kitchen, and you have to *cook* then *eat the whole meal at the same table.* This may be shocking so I’ll repeat: there is no pretend to text and walk away option. You must interact. To make things worse, all my interactions with said floormates happen in German. Making me less able to navigate the social-mine-field we call life. It also means that, anytime I want to eat, I have to face the German language, which after Legal Theory 2.0 (German Version) is about the last thing I want. (Hans Kelsen is haunting me in my sleep)
Still, Val sucks, and there are some days when I only see people I like here. I never have that day at val.
Winner: COOKING ON YOUR OWN
Battle 3: Seeing people you do want to see:
organizing my ass + organizing someone else + organizing food = too complicated to happen “Ok, you bring the cucumbers, I have green peppers, wait, you don’t like green peppers, oh yeah, that’s Evita, ok, well you bring some cheese and I have dressing, but you bring some butter…” Too hard to get five of us together on a regular basis. So just sending a simple text, “front room 6:30??” is looking pretty enviable right now
Battle 4: Open Hours
This is a double edged sword. I have learned to love my nine-o-clock dinner, and learned to hate my 24-hour access to food. (24 hour access to food means that I actually cook *full course meals* for myself when I come home drunk at 4 AM, which is not a sustainable or healthy life habit, unless you enjoy feeling full and hungover all at once.) Or, for instance tonight: I should just be writing a she-bomb post. If I were at Amherst I would be huddled next to one of the heaters in Frost, cuddling my laptop for warmth. What am I doing instead? I am huddling next to the heater in my bathroom (my desk chair lives in here because it keeps warmth best) gnawing on a 2 inch thick bar of baking chocolate like a squirrel going into hibernation. Here, there are no boundaries to my cabinet…my life is one big snack.
So, when I balance eating dinner when I want with my unwanted struggles against snacking, I’m gonna have to call this battle a TIE!
Battle 5: Over-all tastiness
I will be completely honest. On a day to day basis, this depends. I love it when my friends and I get together and make dinner. It’s more fun/tasty than val. Hands down. When I make food alone–it’s almost always pasta or soup out of a can (or maybe toast). Either way, I’m eating a delicious combination of hot sauce + worcester sauce + salt + whatever tasteless thing I originally had. When I eat at val, I generally eat an equally yummy liquid-bowl-of-esophagus-tearing-molten-lava. So this one is a wash, until you consider the occasional deeee-licious dinner with friends. At these dinners I have real cheese from Sardinia, italian sausage, french wine, polish pierogies, you name it!!
Winner: Cooking on your own!!
With an impressive 3-1-1 finish, cooking on your own is still better. Sorry alums, you just wish you were still at amherst. :)
x x x