I like to cook when I’m stressed. Not that meal prep bullshit (do I look like Rachael Ray to you?)—I’ll spend, like, three hours stirring a pot of bolognese. I know I could be at a happy hour or working on a paper, but cooking for myself tastes better than washing down Stat homework with a bottle of Soylent.
It feels like a gift, really. Serving myself a plate of pasta is the gustatory equivalent of a pat on the back. When life stresses me out, it’s nice to cook up a reward for myself. I can table that stress for some other time.
When everything is moving forward at a fever pitch, it seems so much easier to scarf down a salad in Huntsman than it is to slow down, sit still, and have a nice meal. At Penn, we work hard, play hard, and don’t take time off to indulge in meals—unless it’s Restaurant Week and it’s obligatory to go because of a hastily filled–out Google Form from two weeks ago.
Food can feel like a chore, an unnecessary pause between studying for exams, or preparing for interviews, or whatever else we convince ourselves that keeps us “so busy.” But food is a treat, one we all deserve. So read this Dining Guide, then put it down. Go make dinner plans with a friend—hell, take yourself out for a meal (hugely underrated). Enjoy it. I recommend consulting the Dining Guide for suggestions, but, hey, I’m biased.