Living in your own apartment has many perks. One of these perks, I found, is being able to cook for yourself. Sure the Caf is convenient, but they may┬ánot always serve the food you are craving. Having your own kitchen allows you to cook what you want, when you want. I was really excited and ready to start. But that’s the question, where do you start?

My first experience in Dunnes (the local, cheap grocery store) and the English Market had me a little nervous when I became face to face with it. The English Market is full of different vendors offering various foods. Deciding which one to go to with the cheapest food and best quality was a challenge. It resulted in spending an hour running around comparing prices. After that the next struggle was what do we buy? We started with some basic ingredients and headed back. Our first meal was.. interesting. It was a big potato mess (because potatoes are extremely cheap in Ireland) consisting of cheese and broccoli. It ended up being delicious and that inspired us to create numerous yummy dishes. My roommate and I are now creating an Irish cookbook filled with all the recipes we made during our time abroad. It contains, Irish stew, Bailey’s cheesecake, potato soup, stuffed chicken, peanut butter balls, sweet and sour chicken, and so much more! You never realize how much work goes into preparing a meal until you do it yourself. Honestly, food has never tasted so good after you spend a few hours preparing a dish. It feels like such an accomplishment!

Jenny Cheke is studying abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.