The following recipe is useful for those living a grad student existence, whether they be in grad school or not. The recipe is inexpensive, requires little equipment, and is simple to execute. Even a math or physics grad student of the male gender can follow it successfully. I have used it many times myself, and have taught it to others in a variety of academic fields, from comparative literature to computer science. The instructions should be detailed enough for a PhD candidate with no cooking experience to follow, gain confidence in the culinary arts, and ensure sufficient caloric intake to complete a thesis.
Materials and equipment
One or more potatoes, depending on hunger level and ability. A fork, butter, salt, pepper, plate, and a microwave oven.
(1) Wash potato (recommend but not required). Don’t bother to peel it. Stick fork in potato several times. (2) Place potato in microwave device for as long as you think it needs to be there. (3) Remove, split open. If it is not sufficiently cooked, go to 2. If the potato is burned, get a new one and go to 1. (4) Put the potato on a plate. Then mash in some butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Eat potato. (5) Put used plate on top of the other plates in the sink. If you wish, you may run some water over them. (6) Go back to doing whatever you were doing before step 1. Repeat entire process until 2 am as needed, then go to bed.
1. A tip from mom: to tell if the potato is cooked, look at the center. If it is sort of transparentish and hard by comparison with the part near the skin, the potato is not sufficiently cooked.
2. Acquire a timer and lab notebook. Keep careful records of oven settings, cooking times and result, e.g. “burned”, “raw”, “just right,” “yummy.” From the data you collect, you will quickly find the optimum cooking time, regardless of altitude, microwave power and frequency, type of potato, etc. After all, you are a grad student! At this point, you will be ready to invite friends over for a potato dinner. Your cooking skill will amaze your friends, particularly those of the opposite sex.