Life Skills: Learning to Cook


Photo By Akshara Majjiga

Akshara Majjiga

Photos Used With Permission of Caleb Siow

According to freshman Caleb Siow, his mother can’t cook. At least, she can’t cook anything besides Chinese food.

His cooking skills were then born out of a necessity, both to have food that he actually enjoyed and to fill up free time at home. It has become a hobby that his sixth grade cooking elective teacher, Mrs.Tina Constant, originally introduced him to. Since then, he has learned to experiment with his cooking and make his own recipes.

When there’s nothing that he likes to eat at home, Siow cooks meals like pasta and steak, and makes drinks like milk tea and lemonade. Though the rest of his family is wary of his cooking endeavors, his sister enjoys tasting his experiments. Through the years, he has developed his own style, and when asked how he does it, he has one coherent answer:

“It’s all [just] salt and pepper,” Siow said.

Photo By Akshara Majjiga

Microwavable popcorn. Ramen. Frozen chicken nuggets. Senior Chris Doyle admits this to be the limit of his culinary expertise. He has never understood the appeal of cooking, when, to him, cooking is simply not a necessity. As a part-time babysitter, he has learned enough to cook for the kids he watches, but he can’t see cooking as something he would be interested in pursuing. Though he will be going to college next year, he doubts he will do more to learn than asking his eighth grade sister, who happens to be a skilled chef.

“Most of it will be learning from experience once I’m there,” Doyle said. “It seems like a lot of work for something I can’t imagine that I would find particularly engaging”

Until then, his plan is to get by on ramen. It’s has been enough until now, and he can’t see the circumstances changing any time soon.

Photo used with permission of Vaishnavi Karthik

Photo used with permission of Vaishnavi Karthik

“I burn things all the time,” senior Vaishnavi Karthik declared, laughing to herself. She claims that she cannot cook anything besides the basics and microwavable foods, which, according to her, “don’t count.”

Her plan as she transitions into college next year is to just stick to the fundamentals: what’s healthy and what’s easy. She’s had successes in the kitchen before especially while baking, which is something that, although she says she can’t do, she enjoys. Her biggest accomplishment has been baking a raspberry cheesecake, which she has done twice to her satisfaction. She has tried learning more complex things from her mother and sister, but after countless burnt pizzas and various dishes left on for too long she has one piece of advice for herself:

“Just stick with the basics.”