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Girl Vs. Food: What I've learned

By Becky Radolf
On April 26, 2012

It's been a fun year of writing Girl vs. Food, and now it's time to take a look back and reflect on all the things I've gotten and hopefully you've gotten out of the column.

Just kidding.

But seriously, while I may not spend an hour pondering all the different types of cheeses I've written about here, I've definitely taken a new perspective on food, both around UConn and on a broader scale.

First of all, I genuinely regret not trying out more of the farmers markets around here. There's one that goes on every Saturday right near E.O. Smith, and I've never managed to haul my butt there. If you find yourself back at UConn next semester, don't do yourself the same disservice; check out the local food, because it's probably far better than what's at South dining hall.

Speaking of dining halls, if I've preached one thing to my poor friends all four years I've been here, it's this: eat at Whitney. But don't just walk into Whitney on some random day, because you might find yourself there on tempeh night, and that's a big thing to jump into for someone who's not used to it.

Instead, look at the menu on, and find a day where there's a meal you'd like. When you try it, you'll see how much better the food is at Whitney than any other dining hall because most of it is local. They have an amazing salad bar, the most incredible chocolate milk you will ever taste and just generally fresher food. It's not for everyone, but it's worth a shot.

Eating at Whitney will also expose you to vegan and vegetarian foods. I grew to love them my freshman year because it opened up a whole new world of things to try.

Furthermore, go easy on the drunk munching. Not only will you feel like a beached whale in your bed in the morning, but if you've ever tried some of the places around here when you're sober, you'll realize how mediocre some of them actually are. I won't name any names, but I've had one too many cold slices of pizza that I somehow thought were incredible when I came home from the bar.

Finally, for the love of God, learn to cook. If I follow a recipe, it'll come out just fine, but I really struggle with winging it in the kitchen. I gravitate toward the same spices and same few combinations (stir fry has become my best friend), and I know I'll eventually need to learn how to make more meals.

You can't live off chicken and pasta your entire life, so learning how to marinate meat, how to make different types of ethnic cuisines and what to pick off the spice rack is such a valuable set of skills. I envy my mother, who can make completely new meals in less than 30 minutes, while I have to resort to a Lean Cuisine when I can't stomach another piece of baked chicken.

Basically, learn to get comfortable with food, because it's always going to be in your life and there's going to be a time where you're expected to know a thing or two about it. Nobody likes a picky eater and nobody's going to say anything to you at the dinner party when what you cooked taste like burnt rubber. Be open to new foods and know what the hell you're doing in the kitchen.

Armed with those two traits, you'll be unstoppable.


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