One Meal to Rule Them All
October 7th, 2017
A student’s guide to simple and cheap cooking
The older one gets, the more it seems that every class in high school was useless except Foods. Okay, calculus is important, and so is English, but understanding the subtle differences between metonymy and synecdoche doesn’t seem to do any good when one is hungry and on a budget. According to a 2015 study by Morgan Stanley, 53% of millennials say they eat out at a restaurant at least one day per week. That may not seem like a lot, but that money adds up.
One thing that students probably don’t realize is that vegetables are very cheap. A bag of potatoes and some carrots, onions, and broccoli might set you back ten dollars. And if you know how the cook and store these ingredients properly, it is possible to make enough meals to last you through the week.
“The stir fry is a gateway meal, a recipe that can be perfected in order to build confidence in the kitchen.”
One of the easiest and most delicious meals of all time is the stir-fry. ‘Stir-fry’ isn’t exactly one thing; it can be any number of combinations of vegetables and protein fried together. That’s the wonderful thing about stir-fry; you really don’t need a recipe. Just roughly chop all the ingredients you have on hand and fry them in oil on medium heat until the vegetables are lightly caramelized and the meat is cooked through. To save time for schoolwork throughout the week, make a huge batch and leave the whole pot in the fridge to portion out each night. If you make so much that you feel you won’t get through it all within the next three or four days, freeze some. Also, rice is cheap, as most students know, and will stretch the longevity of the stir-fry even further. If you get sick of rice, switch it up for dried noodles. They take only two minutes to cook compared to rice which takes about fifteen. A simple, homemade teriyaki sauce is actually easier to make than one may think. After the vegetables and meat have cooked and the rice or noodles are ready, mix together equal parts soy sauce and water. Then, cut up one or two cloves of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic) and grate about 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger. (If you use dried ginger, add less, but fresh ginger is very cheap. Also, frozen ginger can be grated much more easily than when it’s not frozen). Mix the ginger and garlic into the soy sauce concoction and then pour the works over the vegetables and meat. This will give you a salty, satisfying sauce for the rice, and will help marry together all the flavours of the fried vegetables.
This ‘recipe’ could feed you through your entire post-secondary education. Stir fries are very forgiving and it’s hard to imagine a vegetable that wouldn’t taste good fried in oil and tossed with teriyaki sauce. But in reality, this won’t be the only meal you cook for the rest of your life. The stir-fry is a gateway meal, a recipe that can be perfected in order to build confidence in the kitchen. And once you feel confident about cooking, it will no longer feel like a chore.