The chow hall can get boring after a while. Does it seem like the same menus come round on a 2 week cycle? Well, they probably do. You can get 3 squares a day cheaply and they’re well-prepared and nutritious, but sometimes a change is good. The question is, how do you do that with the facilities you have available?
If you’re living in older accommodations without kitchen facilities, your options are pretty limited. You might be allowed a microwave in your room, but many units ban other cooking equipment for safety reasons. However, a lot of the newer accommodations have shared kitchens, and if yours does there are a lot of possibilities there. Since it can get dull cooking for one, why not do it as a team?
Most people have a few things they’re good at, and if you all take turns to cook for a group it shares the load and adds some variety. It works out cheaper, too – instead of shopping for single portions, and often ending up with wasted food because you had to buy too much, you can get full use out of larger (and cheaper) package sizes.
Cooking as a group has other advantages too.
- You’ll all learn from each other.
- You can build up a selection of sauces and seasonings that’s larger than any one of you would have had.
- You can chip in together to buy higher quality utensils and small appliances.
- Joint grocery shopping can save money too, especially if your post has a small commissary and you’re relying on off-base stores.
As single accommodation moves towards individual rooms, a lot of senior NCOs are worrying that troops spend too little time socializing with their buddies and too much time shut away in their rooms playing games or chatting online. If a group of you are getting together a few nights a week to cook and eat with each other, the chances are you’ll end up spending more time together than you normally would – and you’ll work better as a team because of it.
Life as a single service person can be difficult at times – you’re bound up by a lot of rules and restrictions that civilians, and even your married comrades, don’t have to deal with – but there are ways to do most things and eating well is no exception. By cooking together a few times a week, there’s no reason why you can’t eat a healthy, varied diet that suits you perfectly, while at the same time, building rapport and team spirit.