Despite what the average 20-something of my disposition would tell you, instant ramen for breakfast, Chinese takeout for lunch, and frozen pizza for dinner do not a good diet make. It's because the pizza is too hard, you see. Why did you think that would be a good idea? Pick up your teeth and see me after class.
Also, if you're going to eat instant ramen — at least use water. Dry instant ramen is not the same thing as bread. Trust me on this. For one thing, you can't spread butter on it for crap, and it doesn't taste like anything without the salt packet. (With the salt packet, it tastes like salt. Obviously.) Eat a salad.
But really, what you should be doing is cooking. You can look at recipes, but don't take them too seriously or you'll end up kneeling in front of the local store's spice rack, pawing through tiny glass bottles of weeds in search of something called "tarragon". What the hell is that? It sounds like a medieval weapon. You know, like those ten-foot poles with the spikes on the end. "Forsooth, I took up the tarragon and staved the foe's head in." Why not?
Some things you just don't need to bother with. Five pounds of peeled potatoes? Probably important. An entire side of beef? Sure. A sprig of cilantro? Eh, maybe leave that one out. A bay leaf? Who do you think you are? Put that away. Drop one in your worst enemy's soup so he chokes to death. Don't eat it.
You can feed yourself for two weeks with only a few hours' worth of effort. You need the following:
- A bag of whole carrots.
- One pound of sweet potatoes.
- One large onion. Maybe another large onion, for extra onion.
- One pound of green lentils.
- One pound of red lentils.
- Rolled oats.
- Three one-gallon containers. (Gallons? What? Yeah yeah, switch to metric already. Shut up.)
- Lots of broth, any kind. Vegetable broth is decent. Maybe a gallon?
- A huge stainless steel pot. You know, the enormous one you got when you were outfitting your kitchen and then realized was too big and heavy to do anything with, so you put it in the cupboard behind the pile of strainers and forgot about it. That one.
Prepare the ingredients:
- Chop the carrots into cross-sections. Don't peel them. Why would you peel them?
- Chop the sweet potatoes into roughly cubic pieces. Don't peel these either. Waste of time.
- Chop the onion. Experience pain. Curse your ancestors.
- Did you get another onion? If so, repeat.
- You should have about two gallons of vegetables. Put them in the first two containers.
- Pour all the dried stuff into the third container.
- If anything overflowed onto the counter, you have too much stuff.
- Put the broth in the pot and heat it to a simmer. That means small bubbles and steam, but not really boiling. If you boil it, it will taste bad.
- Vigorously pour all the ingredients into the pot. Shield yourself so you don't get hot broth in your face. Stir.
- Go do something else for a while. Come back and stir the pot periodically.
- Stop cooking when none of the stuff is hard anymore, or the stew gets thick, whichever comes first.
If you did this right, the stew will last you a long time. You can freeze it, and when you thaw it the texture will totally suck. Who cares? It's stew. Have a big heaping bowl, every day, until you can't stand it anymore.
Then make some bread! Here's what you need:
- Cornmeal. (optional)
And here's what you do with it:
- Pour some flour into a large bowl. Not a soup bowl, that's too small. Bigger.
- Pour water in.
- Mix it. You might as well use your bare hands. This will take a while.
- The dough is ready when it's dry enough to hold its shape, but not so dry that it has dry flakes in there. Too wet? More flour. Too dry? More water.
- Spread some cornmeal in a baking tray. This is to keep the bread from welding to the tray.
- Put the dough in the tray and form it into a roughly dome-like shape. It should be about two inches high; much higher and the outside will burn while the inside stays soggy.
- Stick it in the oven and bake for an hour at 350°F.
Makes a good chewy loaf. One slice of this is worth three of any other bread. Yeast? What's that?