Branching out…or pasta with tomato sauce

The average student's lunch
Pasta comes in all shapes and sizes!

The idea came to me a few months ago while I was washing up after preparing my meal for the next day. I refined it while eating a walnut brownie accompanied by a glass of milk. What started out as an idea for another post turned into an idea for a blog-branch: because sooner or later any student is sure to get sick of pasta with tomato sauce! In Freiburg I cooked elaborate meals the first semester or two, but soon realised that I was spending way too much time in the grocery store and kitchen…and too little time at my desk or in the library. So the cooking habits changed. (Somehow that had little effect on the study habits, but that’s not the point) I befriended myself with the University’s lovely Mensa/Cafeteria – an excellent opportunity to socialize too. Cooking became something occasional – just for fun. Moving to Madrid made me realise that the pasta-tomato-sauce-student-cliché can be frighteningly close to the truth. I did eat in the Cafeteria here – once. Paying 5,15 Euros for a meal – no matter how much the equivalent would cost in a restaurant – is not my idea of a student budget! So I’m back in the kitchen. But no longer “just for fun” or when I feel like it…almost every day. (I want to take this opportunity to give all mothers – and cooking fathers – a symbolic pat on the back for all the cookin’ they’ve done for their maybe not always so grateful kids…I’m feeling very appreciative of those meals just now!)

So where am I heading with this? Well, I did try to be creative – but lack of time being a major issue, I often ended up with: pasta and tomato. Ok, not always tomato sauce – sometimes I’d make it pasta and tomato salad: it’s even quicker! But then, one can’t go on like that indefinitely…so I spent one weekend cooking meals to freeze – like…lasagne (does that have tomato in it?) And not feeling like I’d advanced much, it suddenly hit me – there’s more sauces out there! Like…mushroom sauce! So I made a mushroom-minced-meat-onion-cream sauce to go along with…my pasta. Some improvement, I’d say! It was the first step in the right direction…they say learning is something you do your whole life and I guess that besides learning Spanish, cultural stuff and biology – I’m also learning how to manage my time effectively and budget my finances in order to get food on the table – well, in my lunch box.

Paella
Paella – one of the Spanish dishes I love and want to learn how to make =)

So what about the blog-branch I mentioned? I was thinking that maybe I’m not the only student out there obliged to cook rather often and with somewhat limited resources and limited experience….so as Calabacinera* (gotta love Zucchini =) hehe) I will post whatever I cook up and hope for comments, improvements and most of all – suggestions for what to cook next! Must fulfil the criteria of being quick, simple and purse-friendly…

And besides being something useful in every day life – recipes have A LOT to do with being a sort-of-nomad! Every place has it’s own special dishes – the world is full of different smells, tastes, spices…it’s one of the things I love about travelling and getting to know new cultures! So feel free to join me on a culinary journey and to try out random recipes from Germany, Spain, Pakistan, Thailand, the USA…or my own imagination =)

*recipes will be published as posts under the category “Calabacinera”; calabacín = Zucchini

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