Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stories from my kitchen, deep in the recesses of the Grad School abyss.

The average graduate student in the United States takes 6.7 years to complete a PhD. I can tell from experience that this is a statistic of high significance. Earning a PhD. (and by earning, I sincerely do mean earning) is one of those things that you enter into thinking you'll be the one heroic person that won't ever be sucked into the black hole of procrastination and despair, and yet as you ever so gracefully fight your way through the torturous mount of journal articles, research assignments and unfortunate talks by dawdling old grandfathers, you feel as if the fight was already lost the moment you applied for graduate school.

I have been so despondent lately with the prospect of dragging this degree out beyond a decade that I have sunk into another unfortunate hole that graduate school digs for you: the hole of prepackaged cookies, microwave meals and tinned soup (horrors!). I sometimes think that cookbooks really should never be called cookbooks because really, in times of crises, they have absolutely nothing to offer! I do not have a single cookery book in my house that offers me advice on what to whip up when I'm tired, cranky and sully at 3am in the morning. I most certainly do not look kindly on Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's butchering of a pig to make stew when I'm dying from hunger. I do not want to raid my spice cupboard after a nasty day at work for any of David Tanis' supposedly easy homecooked meals. And so I am resigned to tinned soup and Healthy Choice packet bought in bulk at Costco.

But all is not lost dear reader, for I have decided that while I will be no Thomas Keller, I will also not subscribe to being Julia Dreyfus. I also do not intend on being 20lbs overweight on Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies. Here's a sneak peek on what I will try to make more of on this blog: fast, healthy meals that can be prepared in no time and that taste better than anything your local Target can peddle.

Thick slices of full rye bread with lax & dill

Nicoise salad with smoked salmon

Leftover challah bread turned into french toast

Spanish rice with andouille sausage, spinach and pancetta


Iris313 said...

Oh good heavens .. having just survived finals, I can SO relate to the food horrors I've subjected my poor self to due to lack of time. Thank you for reigniting my desire to cook. Best of luck with your studies (and be grateful you're not doing this in your 40's, as I am... there's even less energy to draw on and organizing the sock drawer seems preferable to most any academic activity!)

Amanda said...

Thanks for the comment, Iris! I hope we can both spend at least a little of our time on cooking something to fuel our bodies and be done with grad school at super high speed. Keep me up to date on your progress!