I am taking up a CAS experience in cooking as I always wanted to learn how to cook simple dishes, which can help me in the later stages of my life. However, I have procrastinated and delayed it many times, but CAS provided me with the opportunity to learn it. I thought to learn simple dishes with fewer amount of ingredients from different cuisines.
I identified my strengths and weaknesses by creating the same dish numerous times throughout a month and letting my family members judge it. I recognized that I was weak in managing time and resources as I always ended up using too much time and increased the number of vessels used. However, my palette was sound because the food tasted good, and nothing was overcooked or undercooked. As I am aware of them now, I would like to overcome them. I worked on the weaknesses for over a month, but the improvements were minor.
Cooking, especially learning to cook for the first time, is challenging. You do not know which utensils are to be used for which purpose and often overcook/undercooked or seasoned improperly. I believe that it becomes more apparent only after a certain amount of experience. I have cooked top ramen noodles such as Nestle’s Maggi, and I have also made cereal bowls. I chose this CAS experience to learn how to cook from scratch. I overcame this challenge by cooking more dishes and eventually got better without any help from external sources except my mother. Undertaking this challenge has made me more independent and more confident to live on my own. It is essential to take new challenges and learn new skills as learning something new makes you a better human being.
I organized myself by setting up all the ingredients I need beforehand by chopping them and placing them in a bowl to use them quickly and not let anything burn. Surprisingly chopping was not difficult for me; I only cut myself once while cutting onions; however, cutting onions was irritating to my eyes. I learned to organize stuff beforehand by making mistakes in previous dishes. I am not an organized person in real life; hence, this activity also helped me become more organized. Planning was much more difficult for me than initiating cooking, like chopping vegetables and preparing the oven takes much more patience than just starting to cook. I think that planning will be easier as cooking is just one of the aspects that require planning and preparedness, and taking an example of this one aspect will be enough to motivate me to plan for another aspect. It is essential to know how to plan and initiate, as leading yourself is the best way to succeed.
Commitment and perseverance were necessary while failing, as I failed many times, but not giving up on a dish helped me prepare it better. In this situation committing was pretty easy as I get results immediately; in other cases where patience is a necessity, committing to something is much more difficult.
How I work with others depends on their attitude, if they are helpful, I can get along with them; however, if they aren’t, it is difficult for me to get along with some people. In this activity, it was difficult while working with others and as it was my mother, I did not have the patience to argue with her. Working with her was difficult as she was making me learn how to make Dal simultaneously while I was making it, like a live session, this made it so hectic as my mother told me to use lesser and lesser ingredients and use small utensils to reduce the washwork because she thought that I was going to mess it up. In the end, I did not mess up the Dal and it came out perfectly however in very little amount, probably one serving. I decided not to get in the kitchen with her for the other dishes or any other time in the future; hence, I did the other two dishes on my own. Working with others is important as they help you learn things you don’t know very well.
While cooking is a great skill, one has to violate some ethical issues, such as food wastage, while learning. I minimized such ethical violations by feeding the waste to crows and sparrows. I would not say I liked wasting food, but as it was almost inedible for humans to eat such food, some was wasted. I believe that over time, the wastage of food has decreased to almost none. Hence, experience does help with less wastage as well.
The Learner Profile Attribute I demonstrated was ‘Inquirers’ as I often searched online or asked my mother how to do something or realize my mistakes. Learning how to cook basic stuff was fun as I realized it is an essential part of life in the future.