Venturing to culinary relaxation

May 1, 2012 — by Michelle Shu

Junior Michelle Shu

We all enjoy going out with our friends, whether it be watching a movie, going ice skating or going to the beach. What many people don’t consider, however, is cooking.

Although the idea may not sound appealing at first if you don’t cook regularly, cooking with friends is enjoyable regardless of how the food may end up. You can laugh at each other’s silly quirks or lack of abilities to use certain tools. When I’m with friends, we often end up making food, whether for school or just for fun.

After school on Fridays, I occasionally head over to someone’s house with a small group of friends to make food. Since my friends and I are all food-lovers, we’re always willing to invest our time in food experiments.

We make various types of foods, from cake pops to Japanese udon, depending on our moods. Although we usually make conventional foods, there are times when our original plan gets slightly altered.

At one point in the experimentations, I decided to make a Japanese meal consisting of sushi and curry with seniors Alex Ju and Stephanie Poo. Stephanie wanted to eat spam sushi, so we went to Safeway to buy the materials. After venturing at Safeway for a while, we got back to the house with spam, cucumbers and bacon. Things, however, did not quite go as planned.

We started to make our meal, but since there was no meat to put in the curry (the bacon didn’t seem so fitting), we had to suffice with a vegetarian curry with potatoes, celery and onions. While cutting the vegetables, Alex got to practice peeling potatoes with a peeler, the cooking instrument she is so unaccustomed to. While she was peeling, we watched anxiously, fearing that she would skin her fingers. She missed a few spots in the end, but still managed to peel the potatoes without any casualties. The curry ended up pretty normal, but the sushi was one of the strangest things I’ve ever eaten.

For the sushi, we got out some seaweed, fried the bacon and cut the spam and cucumbers into slices. Frying the bacon took the most effort since it took three or four rounds to fry all the bacon; by the last round, there was plenty of oil in the pan just waiting to jump out and sear our hands. During the process, some sort of assembly line formed: I placed the bacon and took it out, Stephanie cooked the bacon and Alex prepped the bacon for the sushi. The entire process went smoothly and we were definitely ready to eat.

However, when the ingredients were finally assembled, we were hesitant to eat. Perhaps we were unsure of how the sushi would taste or perhaps we’re just awkward, but we just waited until Alex finally began eating. The sushi wasn’t as strange as I thought it would be; it tasted much better than I had anticipated. Granted, the texture was not typical for sushi since the bacon was crisp. It was just an odd combination to put in sushi since the cucumber and bacon added a crisp, salty taste.

Unlike that experience, our other culinary adventures are much more normal. We just make simple things, like cupcakes and soup. It’s a relaxing atmosphere; we get to converse while making food and then laugh at each other while eating the outcome.

Making food with friends is a great way to end the week because everyone just gets to forget about whatever happened at school that week. You don’t need to worry about an approaching exam or audition. Plus, having food there to eat just makes it all the better.

Making food together is much better than cooking alone, but it’s nice to relax and just go out to eat once in awhile.