COLUMN: Columnist ready to try new recipes, restaurants after time abroad

A year ago, I couldn’t have described or even recognized what my relationship with food was, much less anticipate that now it has totally transformed and is still changing. Almost exactly a year ago, I left for a study abroad program in the south of France, and I got back at the end of May.  

I had 10 months of adventures in travel, education, language and, most importantly, food. In France, food is considered an art, is valued and is never something to simply brush aside. Living there started a shift in my own perception of how I, as an American and a growing food-lover, regarded this art. 

Studying abroad certainly wasn’t the only thing that sparked this change. Since sophomore year I’ve been cooking for myself and attempting to figure out what it takes to be an independent person. 

Knowing how to sustain yourself is a huge part of a journey to adulthood that is often overlooked in the stress of getting high grades and job searching.  

It doesn’t help that we live in a country where nutrition and quality often take a backseat in the face of speed and availability.  It’s a problem that existed before millennials were old enough to take a spin around the kitchen, but I’m encouraged every day by the ways people are innovating to make quality cuisine within reach of those willing to try.  

This semester I’m excited to use this food column as an opportunity to share my culinary experiments with an audience that can identify with the wants and needs of college students.  

In a few years (or in my case two short semesters) we will all be living on our own without the fallback of dining halls or on-campus quick fixes.  

We need the tools to make meals and hopefully enjoy the process just a little bit. In addition to trial-and-error cooking in my own kitchen, I want to test out the Bloomington restaurant scene.  

Yes, like most IU students I already have my personal favorite spots downtown, but this is an opportunity to try out the restaurants I breeze by in favor of familiarity, or the ones I need to reexamine with the space of a year behind me.  

Just because we’re young doesn’t mean we have to settle for mediocrity (not that I think many local restaurants are) and at the very least we should be able to decide what we like or don’t and more importantly articulate why.  

This semester promises to be different from my last, but I hope to be able to use some of my food knowledge gained in France for self-improvement here and share whatever is useful.  Learning to cook and love food is a journey I’m just at the beginning of, but I’m excited for what the future holds. @rachrosenstock  

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