It was almost exactly three years ago that I was spending my Winter Break at Rutgers, hanging out with whichever of my sorority sisters were still around, wasting countless hours at James’ fraternity house, and singing and dancing to Christmas songs with all of our friends who decided to stay in New Brunswick.
James and I weren’t dating yet. In fact, I don’t think I even really realized that I had an actual crush on him at this point. That, or I was avoiding admitting it because I had gotten out of a rocky relationship a couple of months prior and was still very, very firmly in the “I just want to be single and not deal with anyone’s crap” stage.
Regardless, I subconsciously started coming up with friendly excuses to hang out with James more, like making dinner for him and his fraternity brothers who I was good friends with as well. After all, what college student would turn down a free meal? I had mastered the art of boiling water and could make some passable pasta dishes, but after a few days of spaghetti I decided I should probably learn some more recipes if I was going to pretend to know how to cook.
Despite serious Google research into any meal I attempted to make, most of the time it didn’t work out well. But sometimes– sometimes– I wound up surprising myself and nailing the recipe, like when James suggested I make Pretzel-Crusted Chicken.