May 19, 2023 | FEATURES | By Katie Rowley

With about a week left in the semester, the state of my communal fridge can only be described as dismal. Currently, despite one giant shopping trip at the very beginning of the Block, I am attempting to sustain myself off of: cabbage, two onions, ginger root, one tortilla, two containers of yogurt, some apples, eggs, almond milk, and thawed salmon my parents bought me during Spring Break. It’s bleak.

I’ve avoided grocery shopping this Block in attempts to save money. My $500 spring apartment meal plan has slowly dwindled away, leaving me with $23 I am hoping to save for when I am truly desperate.

So, I’ve had to get creative in the kitchen. But, you would think for someone who goes by “Katie ‘lil chef’ Rowley” on her Instagram devoted to cooking, this eclectic mix of ingredients would pose no problems. (You would be incorrect. I am currently trying to decide if I should use my last tortilla to make a salmon quesadilla with cheese I’ll need to steal from a roommate.)

That’s right everyone, I have a second Instagram sporadically documenting various meals I’ve made and food I have eaten but not always made. In the two-and-a-half months it’s been active, @katiescookery has amassed 20 followers, posted twice, and has two highlight collections. Quite a successful venture, in my humble opinion.

The account was started in March 2023 after I realized that posting a photo of every single meal I made on my personal Instagram story was probably really annoying. It was created with the intention of a weekly post cataloging the recipes I made, including a review and the cooking challenges and successes I faced. It was also created in hopes that the boy I was talking to at the time would follow it and ask me to cook for him sometime. (To no surprise to anyone, neither of those things happened.)

The name originated from a fake restaurant I had as a kid. Back then, it went by “Katie’s Kookery,” and served my family members microwave quesadillas during football games. Very professional.

I have always found myself cooking. And my pleasure in the kitchen didn’t stop when I got to college, and this year in particular, in the comfort of my East Campus apartment that I share with seven of my best friends, I found myself getting more comfortable in following a recipe and making meals for everyone. But, for the most part, I lived on every college students’ favorite meals: boxed mac ‘n cheese and quesadillas. 

So, one of my new year’s resolutions for 2023 was to cook more: to learn more skills in the kitchen and venture into recipes that were more complex than Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese with some “fancy” shredded cheese mixed in to compensate for the powdered cheese mix.

I followed through with this resolution, undocumented, for the first quarter of the year. Standing over a stove while my roommates all sat in our living room talking about their days or doing homework, I found a real sense of contentment.

And then, something changed. An alternative title for this article was “Stop Dating at CC! It Makes Me Sad!” But I figured that would be a bit too extreme and all my friends, with their happy and healthy relationships, would hate it. (Disclaimer: I am extremely happy for them.)

All my friends got into relationships, and they started going out to eat more and spending time with their boyfriends more. Pretty soon, I found myself cooking with the company of just one of my other roommates, or alone. There was no congregation of voices to comment on how good my food looked or smelled. No one to talk to while I ate dinner.

So, I created @katiescookery and found a small community of people who seemed to care what I was cooking. They’d swipe up on my stories and like my posts. And I felt supported.

Two of my roommates (ones without boyfriends) tell me every time I post how excited they get and how religiously they keep up with my stories.

I started taking pictures of the food of another one of my roommates who I find myself spending almost every minute with nowadays. She is heavily featured in my stories, and I am incredibly grateful she indulges me every time I pull out my phone to feature her food.

Through this, as well as many other experiences this semester, I have found myself relishing the community of women I have surrounded myself with. I have never felt more supported and loved and known than I have through the experience of living with seven other girls. And, even though it has felt like a male-dominated space much more recently, our girls’ house has taught me so much about love and myself and I will never, ever forget it.

Although it is just a silly little second Instagram where I feel no pressure to maintain a constructed and idealized image. Who knows, maybe one day I will be a famous chef.

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