Food For Thought: College Bites

Sep 14, 2016

Nancy here. You know how they say, “It goes so fast” (whoever they are)? They’re right. One minute I’m sending my only child off to kindergarten with a brightly colored lunchbox (as I wrote here), and next thing you know — Poof! — he’s blowing out of town for college.

Yep. There were plenty of tears (the dog’s a wreck!) as Nate headed north on his educational Quest, toting a cast iron skillet, an eight-inch chef’s knife, a Korean cookbook and a Chinese cleaver among his personal effects.

“Say what?” Stein gasped, when I told him the kid will have an opportunity to cook at his school, despite first year students having to sign up for a meal plan at the college cafeteria. As you might imagine, that will be a far cry from the meal plan he’s been on at home. Here, cooking from scratch is a favorite family pastime: one Nate’s been in on since he could reach the stove.

We’ve heard little from our BMOC since school began. Though he did tell me he’s sorry he didn’t bring a wok and begged me to send him our fabulous flatbread recipe. He texted a photo of his dorm mates posing with a couple of full-up, oven-ready cookie sheets, then another of classmates chowing down on a dinner they helped prepare at the dean of students' condo (see lead photo).

Sydney (from Texas) and Sioban (who hails from Calgary) welcome their new dorm mates with homemade cookies.
Credit Nate

Meanwhile Mac and I are home alone, learning once again how to cook for two, excited for our son, but missing him big-time. What I don’t miss is the last-minute “guess who’s coming for dinner” routine. The one where I find out at 5 p.m. that two vegetarians are joining us for dinner when I planned on serving pork chops for three. Nor do I miss the inevitable eye rolling when I say, as I so often do, “We’re having roast chicken for dinner!” (I love it. Nate, not so much.)

In fact, two days into our empty nesting, I texted Nate a photo of a beautifully bronzed chicken. His response? “Better you than me.” Another month of meal plan (chicken burgers, again?!!) and I’ll bet you a Sunday dinner he’ll be pining for mom’s roast chicken.