downloadNothing brings friends together like food. Especially college friends.  Eating is like half of what we do as college students. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to gather roommates and or friends to enjoy the wonders of food. What i’m saying is that you should consider having a Friendsgiving.   Let me be clear though. This is not some F.R.I.E.N.D.S  themed party or anything, unless you really love that show. Friendsgiving is something that’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Everyone does the family dinner, but why not add another dinner with all the friends that you hang around with and consider a second family anyway?  It doesn’t even have to be around this this time of year (although this is the ideal time to go for it).

I can tell you from experience, it’s a good time. Last November, fellow Edge editor Aaron Mook, some of our other hall mates and myself  gathered together and cooked a full turkey dinner in our dorm oven. It can be done. If everyone pitches in just a little money, you can get all the fixings without breaking the bank. A turkey is really the only expense and you don’t need (and can’t necessarily cook in a dorm oven) a really big one. Outside of that, some stuffing, mashed potatoes and vegetables won’t run the cost up too high.

There is some time commitment involved if you go as far as making a turkey. That requires some constant supervising of the food in the kitchen, which can be problematic on a weekday. We worked around this by taking shifts so everyone could accommodate class schedules. You might have to get creative, but it can work.

“But I can’t cook!” You might say. Well, it’s a good chance to learn. Find a friend who knows how to cook and would like to join in your festivities.  Or be adventurous and Google some recipes to teach yourself. Regardless, everyone can contribute because basically anybody can make a side dish. Most of them are just following instructions on a box, unless you’re planning on getting fancy. Figuring it all out is part of the fun and part of what makes it a great bonding experience.

Think about it. When was the last time you sat down and had a full home cooked meal with anybody other than your family? For me the answer was never, at least  before our Friendsgiving, but maybe some of you live more fulfilling lives than me. Regardless, it’s a nice change of pace to sit down and enjoy a meal with your college friends that you all helped to put together. There’s no rush, and if your cooking went well, the quality will probably be better than if you just ordered take-out. It’s an experience that definitely enhances the sense of community that we are all looking to get from college.

Friendsgiving is just part of the bigger picture of learning to cook for yourself in college. Some people figure that out well before they get to this point. If that’s you, then tune me out for a bit because i’m going to speak for those of us who didn’t pick up that skill until they were left to their own devices in a dorm kitchen. Being able to adequately prepare food is a pretty vital skill. I know I felt a lot more like an adult once I could make the basics like chicken and pasta.  A sense of satisfaction definitely comes with being able to fend for yourself when it comes to food.

Learning isn’t too bad. You basically just have to be willing to Google things, try them out and occasionally ruin food horribly. I can recall one night where I set off the fire alarm three times while trying to cook chicken.  Not my proudest moments. After a few meals that are barely edible, you get the hang of it  and then you start making food that’s good enough to share with other people. I had a sense of accomplishment the first time my roommate (who was a pasta snob) told me I had cooked spaghetti perfectly. I would definitely hold off on your Friendsgiving until you’re at the point where you feel confident feeding other people the foods you’ve made. That applies to almost anything; know the basics before you start doing too much.

But let me be clear. I’m not saying you have to drop your meal plan because you have the new found ability to cook for yourself. Time is a thing that we don’t always have a ton of, so it can definitely be helpful to have that meal plan at your disposal for when you’re on campus and need to grab some food. I’ve relied on my meal plan plenty. The convenience is definitely a factor that can’t be overlooked.

When you have that precious time, it never hurts to prepare a meal and enjoy it with friends. So make yourself a Friendsgiving this holiday season. Who knows, it might become a tradition. It may even become something you do once a month or once every few weeks. You can’t beat good friends and good food together all at once.  Happy Friendsgiving everyone!