There’s something to be said for the kids who cook in college. No, microwave Hot Pockets and instant rice don’t count. I mean those well-seasoned chicken and omelette making kids who value their meals like a comfort blanket.

At the start of the year, my mod had a sparkly new oven. Clean burners, shiny un-sauced up knobs. It was like a beam of light came down from the sky, shining right on my knew home-within-my-home.

Writing this now, I am staring at a sad, abused, smelly mess.

The only bad part about living with 5 others is the differing views as to what the stove should be used for, how its cared for and what cooking really is. My egg white omelette with perfect fluffy edges and a hint of black pepper pities their sad microwaved Tostitos nachos. Yes. Chips on a plate. Sprinkled heavily with shredded cheese. “Nachos”.

If something sprinkled heavily with something= nachos, my stove has 4 burner nachos.

They love to use the burners as holders for everything but food-in-the-making. Bag of pretzels, platform for slicing things. YOU NAME IT,IT HAPPENS. Because of this, literally everything gets on the burner. Every time you cook on them you get a face full of smokey fog, questionable popping sounds and the worst burning smell that penetrates everything even if you scrub and scrub and SCRUB the coils until they look clean.

At first, I was so enraged at this I wanted to scream. A nice new oven, well seasoned with mess… so sad. But now, that exact burning smell reminds me I am home, that I’m cooking and that something delicious is about to be in front of me.

Sometimes we sacrifice for food.

Sometimes that sacrifice makes it that much better.

Although its not the same pristine stove I first met, this new one shows a story. The crisped up burnt crumbs remind me of nights I’ll never get back surrounded by my best friends, the meals (or messes) we made instead of doing homework and what I’ll miss when I walk out of this place in 100 days.

Home is a dirty stove and a full oven after all. ~Allison L