With a barrage of social events, adjusting to a new city, and the Socratic method to worry about, what to eat is usually one of the last things on law students’ minds when they get to law school. Most people I knew—myself included—lived on pizza, deli sandwiches, and Chinese food for at least the first few weeks.
Many of us continued this pattern for the first semester (and even all of law school), taking full advantage (Tupperware included) of the free pizza that was given out everyday at lunchtime lectures in the law school. There was an unwritten code that you couldn’t just come to the lecture for five minutes and leave with the pizza, but many people did just that. If you were really lucky, you might find a so-called “non-pizza lunch.” This was advertised prominently in the flier for the event in order to encourage people to attend.
Even though pizza is a vegetable, my choice to subsist on a diet primarily of pizza and croissants was a definite mistake. I needed all the energy I could get to figure out a new way of learning a completely new subject area (which felt like repeatedly attempting to dunk on a regulation basketball hoop and falling on my face each time). Plus, constantly eating out was a huge strain on my non-existent income.
The Appliance that Changed My Life
What I learned eventually was that my food needed to pass the fast, healthy, and cheap test so that I could spend more time studying. So what were my go-to options in law school? Given that I stopped eating meat in my second year, it really varied from beginning to end, but there was one appliance that completely changed my life: a Hamilton Beach 33565 Simplicity 6-Quart Slow Cooker.
If you haven’t cooked with a slow cooker, then law school is the time to get one because they really save a ton of time. Normally when you cook, you need to spend a fair amount of time preparing things and then there’s a long wait for the food to cook on a pan. A slow cooker may take five hours to produce food, but does all the actual cooking itself while you’re at class or studying in the library. The other great thing about a slow cooker is that it can make a ton of food at once. I would make a dish or two at the beginning of the week and then eat those dishes for the next week or so. Instant T.V. dinners!
Now, what do you put in your slow cooker? This depends on your personal preferences. I would often make a ton of cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage. At first, I would take the time to season the vegetables and add onions, tomatoes, or garlic, but I quickly got lazy.
Soon, my food situation degenerated to where I would spend five minutes chopping up a cabbage and just throw it in there by itself. There’s a right way and a wrong way to use a slow cooker, and I certainly don’t suggest following my lead. My “dish” certainly passed the fast, healthy, and cheap test, but is not something that I would ever want to eat again.
But food made with a slow cooker can also be tasty. I’ve had friends make really tender meat dishes. If you use chicken, then those dishes can be healthy too. Since law school, I’ve continued to use the slow cooker to make hearty stews and vegetarian chili. These take about twenty minutes to prepare and then cook themselves in the slow cooker in a few hours.
If you’re in need of some other ideas, check out The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes. The book and the slow cooker together will only run you about $53. What a steal!
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Other helpful law school tips:
- You Are What You Eat: Eating Well in Law School
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