Thursday, June 19, 2008


I received my first slow cooker at seventeen. I had just graduated from High school and was headed to college and apparently some relative of mine had the ill-conceived notion that college freshman do a lot of home cooking inside of their shoe-box sized homes. Needless to say, when I got the gift I was less than enthusiastic. I even vaguely remember being as ungrateful as to wonder aloud about the motives of the gift giver and his/her anticipation of a free meal. Karma, as they say, is a bitch – and it turned out that only a few short months later, at college I would come to realize how truly awful dorm food was and how much I missed the home cooked meals my father used to make me. In a fit of homesickness and boredom late one Sunday morning, I decided to try my hand at my first major meal: Roast. I convinced a friend to drive me to the closest Meijer where I picked up random ingredients that I vaguely remembered were part of my all-time favorite meal growing up. I had no plan, I had no recipe, and I had no experience. Just an empty stomach and the determination to eat something that made me feel comforted and safe again.

Trials and tribulations abound that afternoon, I attempted to brown the roast in the slow cooker pan on someone else’s Bunsen burner, I spent half an hour desperately searching for a masher for the potatoes and finally settled on a pencil jar, and I ended up trolling the dorm hall for supplies after I realized I had nothing to serve my feast in nor did I have any utensils; but it was all worth it when I came back to my dorm that afternoon and realized I could smell my dinner. It was the smell of celebration, the savory smell of victory.

Although I can’t remember what that roast tasted like, I do remember serving it to all of my friends and each of us sitting around my bed, listening to music, and I can remember how the whole room got silent right as we started to eat. As I looked around the bedspread at my newest and dearest friends, I saw more than one eye tearing up in the room. Finally, one of my friends uttered in a quiet voice what all of us were thinking, “it tastes like home".

(Photo not taken by me)

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