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Making a meal: My favorite form of self-care

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NOVEMBER 17, 2022

As a classic university student, I often find myself making meals as a necessity, trying to get in a quick bite between classes. Whether it involves cutting or mixing or turning on the stove, I’m hardly ever in the actual moment of cooking. Recently, however, I’ve had spare time that I’ve spent putting more effort into cooking – not necessarily more money or ingredients, but just a little more attention. In return, my meals have not only been more satisfying, but I’ve improved my relationships with both the food and myself.

Usually, I cook while multitasking – maybe watching YouTube or calling my folks from the kitchen. This past week or so, I’ve tuned into the task, with no more than some pleasant jazz music in the background, still quiet enough to hear the chopping and sizzling sounds (the best type of ASMR).

With nothing to distract me, I’ve been able to focus completely on the food. I can watch how it changes with each minute, take it off the heat at the perfect moment, add more seasoning to taste as some cooks off – all the little things I might miss if I didn’t take the time to be in the moment for the whole process. In the end, I’m rewarded with food that tastes better and makes me feel proud.

I’ve realized, in the busy, every-minute-counts world of Berkeley, I sometimes take my meals for granted – not just how they taste, but also the effort that goes into them and how they can lift my spirits. Recognizing this has increased my appreciation for the food, as well as made me feel better about myself. 

Taking the time to check in and make sure I’m nourished is healthy, so I’m growing to appreciate that nearly automatic process of “Am I hungry? Let’s do something about it.” Also, as more practice ultimately leads to progress, I am proud of the food I make and the ways I’ve improved.

Sometimes I’m just in the mood to watch TV while my instant ramen is heating, so I don’t force myself to make some extravagant meal. But when I have the time and the patience, this extra dedication I put into cooking is so rewarding for my mind, my body and my belly. 

Food doesn’t just have to be a necessity. With some extra care and a willingness to take the time to learn, it becomes something much more special.

Contact Daisy Friedman at 


NOVEMBER 17, 2022