What I’ve Made in Metz So Far: My Dishes Ranked

Join Kaitlyn as she ranks her culinary creations while living in Metz with her newfound cooking skills.

Thursday, February 4th, 2021 | Written by Kaitlyn

As my family and friends know well, I am not the most… skilled at cooking. When I am feeling generous, I would rate my culinary skills as solid 4/10. Though this semester in Metz has taken some adjustment, a large part of that adjustment has not been living in a foreign country,  but rather learning to feed myself without the safety net of a meal plan or my mom’s cooking. So, I thought, in the spirit of my new found culinary skills, I would rank a select few of the dishes I’ve made in my dorm thus far, from worst to best.

The time I burned water. I never would have thought this was possible, but you learn something new every day, right? This shocking incident occurred when I heated up my empty frying pan and suddenly, smelled the unmistakable scent of something burning. Turns out, there was a little bit of soapy water leftover from when I had previously washed the pan and it burnt when it hit the hot stovetop.

A very crispy quesadilla. I was in the middle of video calling a friend back home while attempting to make a quesadilla, my fatal mistake.

very burnt quesadilla
I hope you like your quesadillas very, VERY, crispy.

Imagine my surprise when my very pale tortilla began to smoke. Confused, I flipped the seemingly underdone quesadilla over to discover a disconcertingly dark underside. “Ah,” I thought to myself, “that might be the cause of the billowing smoke.” I panicked for approximately four seconds, then realized I should probably do something to avoid setting off the smoke alarm. How mad would everyone be if the alarm went off and they had to trudge out of their rooms into the cold at 9PM? It could have been an opportunity to learn some new french curses, but I decided it would be best to just remedy the issue. I cracked my window open and held my pan outside to let the smoke blow into the night. Later, after recounting the night’s events to my friend across the hall from me, she only chuckled and said “Oh yeah, I keep smelling stuff burning from your room”.

A nice warm bowl of chili… or not. On one of the many cold, rainy days we have had in Metz, the idea to make a large, comforting pot of chili to warm myself up popped into my head. Naively, I thought to myself, “How hard could it be? I just need to throw a few things in a pot, right?” As I now know, there is much more involved in making chili than simply just throwing things in a pot.  Most of the recipes that I read online called either for using a slow cooker, which I unfortunately do not have, or for a few hours of cooking chili, which I also did not have. This was news to me, but apparently, throwing some canned tomato puree in a pot along with meat and vegetables isn’t quite enough to taste good. I was still determined to get my chili though, so the next time I went grocery shopping I settled for purchasing an already prepared can.

Pasta. Pasta, in any form is a truly classic meal. It is relatively difficult to mess up, but with my track record I am rating my rendition relatively high – both for not having burned it and for having completed it. The only thing I haven’t liked about my pasta dishes is the frozen meatballs I’ve gotten from Cora, finally something I can vindicate myself from blame for. Hopefully, a trip to an Ikea (maybe even the original Ikea in Sweden?) for some Swedish meatballs will be able to elevate my spaghetti and meatballs dish. For now, my specialty will remain pesto pasta.

Pretty successful pad thai! At last, a successful dinner.

an image of Kaitlyn's pad thai
Successful pad thai? I’ll let you be the judge of that… at the very least it looks delicious.

A friend and I pooled together the odds and ends from our fridges to make some pad thai. Thanks to the magic of pad thai sauce and some fancy garnishing with lemons, we were pleasantly surprised at our creation. In hindsight, maybe the key to making it taste good was covering the dish in sriracha, which, given my previous cooking experiences, seems highly likely.