By Julianne Lake, Howland
1. Always opt for more food than less. Extra portions can be saved as leftovers, and you know someone out of N people will be looking for something quick to eat. You can also avoid the panic of not having enough for everyone.
2. Not everyone will like all of your meals all of the time. Just like family dinners at home, there will be a few of us that are completely disgusted by brussel sprouts. Instead of trying to accommodate everyone, meet in the middle. Some people are picky eaters who don't like certain veggies and others only want to eat clean. Plan to have discussions at a house meeting early in the semester about what people expect out of their house meals, and repeat this dialogue as necessary.
3. If you aren't sure about a recipe, ask your partner (if you have one). They might bring up an important point about its difficulty or expense.
4. If it's on the entree section at a nice restaurant, it probably isn't in the budget for your co-op. Ceviche, while a nice thought, isn't what most people are looking to spend rent money on.
5. Start earlier than you think. If the recipe says it'll take an hour and a half and you want dinner ready at 7pm, don't start at 5:30pm. You're working with more ingredients—chopping more vegetables, prepping more cooking materials, etc—so add about 30 minutes, then add another extra 15 minutes for any snags you might hit along the way.
6. If you're really not familiar with a recipe or its ingredients, take some time beforehand to do some research. Watching a YouTube video is a great way to learn how your meal should look every step of the way and can help you avoid missed steps.
7. If you aren't sure how it tastes, ask a housemate. There are usually a few hanging around the kitchen, anyway.
Have additional cooking tips? Leave your comment below.